Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sensory Play with a Suck At Home Mom

We've been stuck inside with the freezing weather, so I had to delve into my "teacher bag of tricks" to occupy Rose this week.  She's been climbing and dumping things out a lot (toddler favorites), so I decided I needed something that would keep her attention for awhile.  I find the number one type of activity for keeping a toddler's attention span for more than a minute is a good sensory experience.  You have all of the tools for sensory table right in your home.


I used Rose's old bath tub for the container, but you can use any kind of bucket, basket, etc, provided you make sure your toddler can reach into it.  Place it on the floor--not the carpet, unless your vacuum is plugged in and ready to go!  Then all you need is your sensory material--corn meal, flour, dry pasta, uncooked rice, anything that you can dump into the container!  Next, add some large utensils and smallish containers to allow your child to explore the properties of the sensory material.

Feel free to add in some unusual items like whisks or plastic Easter eggs.  I like to use the printing stamps above with flour, so that Rose can make imprints of the pictures in it.  

Don't forget to reuse & recycle!  You can use the same container your corn meal came in--just mark it "for play."  I like to add salt and water to my flour when we're done, so we can have cheap, home-made playdough!  The play dough below is plain, but if you add food coloring to your water before you add it, you can make colors!  (I generally add about as much salt as I have flour, then I add water cup by cup until it's damp.  I knead it together--if it's too dry add a bit more water, if it's too wet add a bit more flour.  Easy!)

Then I store it in an old wipes container to keep it fresh:

Believe me...this is quick, cheap, easy, and simple to clean up (I am the suck at home mom, after all.)  It will also keep your little one occupied for a long time!  Don't be discouraged if your little one doesn't like one texture--mine hates "sticky"--just try a different material next time!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

11 Year Old Brony Attempted Suicide--We're Not Changing Fast Enough

As the mother of a boy who routinely wears pink pants, sparkly shirts, and sports a pair of cobalt blue gem earrings, the news that a bullied 11-year-old "Brony" boy attempted suicide hit home, and hit home hard. 11-year-old Michael is in intensive care after attempting to commit suicide. Our children are committing suicide because they're not "manly" enough. They're committing suicide because other children can't understand how they can like something outside the norm.

As a person who grew up amidst a drive for "diversity," it boggles my mind how anyone can have an issue with someone simply for being who they are, for liking what they like. Why are we forced to conform to THAT person's idea of what is right? Where is the pursuit for happiness in that?

A few days ago, a BlogHer blogger posted about her son wanting to wear a dress, and a bunch of anonymous posters started weighing in on it, with such stellar statements as, "boys don't wear dresses." Really? Tell that to every king who has worn a robe, or every Highlander who has worn a kilt. The traditional baptismal clothing for a male infant in the fifties was a dress. So why is the idea of a boy putting on a dress so threatening?

Because we have become a misogynist society, where anything that makes a boy more "girl-like" is wrong, where men who show their feminine sides (guess what, boys, you all have one, whether you can admit it or not) are suspect, and where liking anything that a girl might like (BTW, I grew up on GI Joe & Batman, so the idea that only girls should like My Little Pony is absurd) means you're gay.

We're Not Changing Fast Enough: When Will We Stop the Suicides?

Credit: mooshuu.

And while I'm on that, because in addition to my cross-dressing son I have a gay daughter, what the hell is wrong with being gay? You know what I see in a gay person? I see a person. I have to hope that society is changing -- my children attend schools where they can be who they are and be supported by teaching staff and friends -- but it's not changing fast enough. When little boys like Michael, who by all accounts are fully supported at home, are still attempting suicide, we just aren't changing fast enough.

Previously featured on BlogHer.