Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Little Lanterns

There are a lot of days when I don't really pride myself on what I've done with my daughter between kindergarten pickup and 2nd grade pickup. If I'm lucky, she has a playdate. If I'm exceedingly lucky, it isn't here and I get a little extra time to do my own thing. But most days, she and I are just here.

I know what you're saying. "Oh, how lovely to have time to spend alone with your youngest." Well, kinda. I mean, it would be if I didn't often feel like web surfing is more important than another game of Candy Land. Because, you see, Mam likes to be entertained. She likes interaction. She'll play games with you until your mind is so numb, you can't possibly see straight to fix dinner. She's "fun" that way. And I'm usually too lame to take advantage of the time I have with her.

But one day last week, she asked before we got home if we could do an art project together. It's one thing not to come up with a fun activity to do with your kindergartner before her brother gets home. It's quite another to refuse a specific request for one.

Fortunately, Daddy and I do a lot of shopping at the Klutz fundraiser sale each year. Klutz is based nearby, so they just unload their warehouse of a bunch of their fun titles. They sell them at full price, but give the amount of your purchase to the school of your choice. It's not a bad deal, really.

So, we had some crafty little books stored away upstairs. I'd been looking forward to putting together some little paper room lanterns for Mam's room and this was the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately, they were fairly advanced for her, so I made the folds and had her squish them into creases. She loved it and she was happy and engaged the whole time, thinking up which lantern we should put together next.

In the end, she had a really cute little garland of lanterns that we strung on her headboard.She was thrilled with them and so excited to turn them on when she went to bed. So cute!

And when Smunch got home, the two of them made cupcakes. I had Mam do that mostly on her own with some help from me where she really needed it and help from Smunch when he felt so inclined. But she had to tell me what to do. I ended up using the mixer to just blend up the dry cake mix and a few other fun little asides, but in the end, they had cupcakes. Cupcakes with chocolate frosting and sprinkles.

(Of course, that means there were two dozen cupcakes lying around. After a few days, I had Daddy take them to work...leaving just enough for dessert that evening. That worked well.)

And, for a change, I felt like I'd done a few "good mom" things. Things I wish I did every day. The monotony of parenthood would be less if I put in this kind of effort every day. And the laundry would never get done, e-mails would never be written, appointments would never be made and the garden would languish. How is it that I can't even do it all when I don't have a job?

Nevermind. All those little lanterns sure make both Mam and me happy!

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