Just 8 weeks postpartum, I cleverly broke my foot and wound up equipped with a cast and crutches for the next 3 weeks. After that I was able to hobble around a bit, and life got easier, but for those 3 weeks, the sofa was my world. Mine and my little munchkins'.
My husband would set me up in the morning with a flask, snacks, litre after litre of water, a nappy changing kit and a Moses basket, which until then our little'un had barely looked at.
Although small, our munchkin has never been one for staying still, or fond of repetitive activity, and for a few weeks I worked my brain hard to come up with ever more ingenious things to do on a sofa - climbing, parachuting, and pirate ships were all tried, as was spaceships and flying. We did a lot of reading in the obligatory 'voices', and played with various household objects each day, because everyone knows that they're much more interesting than toys. We folded laundry for long periods of time, hiding under it, twiddling different fabrics, looking at colours and patterns, and being hedgehogs under laundry leaves. (Yes, I know she was only small, and yes, it's true that some of these activities were more for my benefit.)
It was challenging. Very challenging at times. It was also the moment in parenthood when I first (repeat FIRST) got the 'I can't cope' wobbles. It did, however, set me up for creative cabin fever.
Sadly, now that the weather has turned, we can't just go outside and eat grass for amusement. Although this is a shame, it gives us an opportunity to try some more creative play, and, at the moment, we generally have to try to involve standing or walking in most activities.
We have therefore begun to practice yoga together. I was doing the odd bit when she was napping or had gone to bed for the evening, having no core left to speak of postpartum. However, a friend at Waterbabies, 8 month old Kamikaze Princess (her parents' name for her, not ours) was showing off her Downward Dog last week and I thought 'Why not?!'.
We have been doing 20 minutes a day for a week now (after 15 minutes she starts to get bored and I wind up practice) and so far it's quite successful. Mostly she climbs up whatever limbs I have touching the floor at the time. We play peekaboo in Cat / Cow, and Downward Dog. We do horse back rides when I'm in Cobra. And the nice calming breathing and stretching we start with, including a bit of twisting and some side bends, is inexplicably hilarious. I can't see her joining the Kamikaze Princess in any actual postures any time soon, but we have fun and I get a bit of a stretch and strengthen - which I'm in dire need of.
Some of our other favourite activities involve a brief foray into the windy, rainy or chilly outside armed with effective clothing and a cheerful inner vibe (essential), whilst carrying the promise of a hot Ribina on our return - for me. (That said, we've been ridiculously lucky with the weather at the moment, to the point where I'm getting a bit narky not to be covering myself top to toe in ever more chunky knitwear.)
We recently gathered pinecones from our local wood, and once dried out, we had masses of fun dipping them in bright paint, tying them with string and suspending them along munchkin's wall at varying heights.
OK, I'm lying. That was what happened in my head. I think that, for older mini folk, this would work well. But for us, I must admit, it didn't go quite to plan. To begin with, threading the cotton strings was more fiddly than hoped and, with hindsight, should have been done in Blue Peter style - 'and here's one I prepared earlier...'
I then made the catastrophic error of placing munchkin in her highchair sans food. Yes, you heard me - without edible yummies. Big mistake. She wasted no time at all in telling me that this simply was not acceptable and demanded food NOW. I tried to appease her with a yoghurt pot of paint to dip her pinecones in. She was uninterested. I moved the pot, popped to lay out some greaseproof paper to put the cones on and heard her delighted giggles behind me - a drastic change from the previous noises of outrage. I turned around again to see that her arms are longer than thought. Yellow paint everywhere, she was decorating her highchair, the tablecloth (oilcloth thankfully) and herself.
This is the moment I gave in, squirted extra paint on the table and put a few sheets of paper down to catch her creative thumps. We have an original piece on our fridge door now - the first of many, I'm sure.
I'm undeterred though - the art-attacks have worked outside, surely they'll work indoors??! - and in another month I'm going to give it another go. Probably stripped down, in the bathroom, with smaller pots of paint and without the string, but I'm confident that dipping pinecones into brightly coloured poster paint can't just be something I love - and with her obsession with colours, it's surely just a matter of finding the right atmosphere!
My munchkin getting her artist on:
My munchkin getting her artist on:
***Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting! Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon November 11 with all the carnival links.)
- Congestion Be Gone Shower Vapor Discs — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares a fun way to beat the indoor blues while creating something useful at the same time! Come learn how Jennifer and her daughter created congestion relief discs so you too can get creative in the kitchen. It makes a fun science experiment too!
- Indoor Fun: Dads and Moms Who Listen Prevent Cabin Fever — Laurie Hollman Ph.D. at Parental Intelligence reminds us that even with all the best planning for indoor fun, it's helpful to have creative tips that forestall daytime upsets and build parent-child bonds.
- Outside? What's that?: 13 Boredom Busters for 13 Weeks of Winter — Joining us from rural Ontario, where she is no stranger to massive amounts of snow and frigid temperatures, Leslie at Eat Your Peas shares 13 Boredom Busters to get you through the 13 weeks of winter.
- Where to get the wiggles out in bad weather — Lauren at Hobo Mama offers indoor places to escape to when kids need to run and shout away from the rain and snow.
- 12 Ways to Entertain a Toddler on a Rainy Day — Holly at Leaves of Lavender presents a list of simple ways to keep a toddler busy when stuck at home on a rainy day.
- Pencil, paper... bright ideas! — Marija Smits shares some ideas on how to make family 'art and craft time' inexpensive and fun.
- 6 Ideas for Sibling Fun Indoors — Kati at The Best Things shares kid-initiated activities that involve action, adventure, and some roughhousing. Perfect for busting up cabin fever! Plus a few extras invented with a little help from Mom-O.
- The great indoors — Charlie at Peeling Clementines divulges ways she entertains her chaotic little one indoors, from yoga to arts and crafts.
- Family Zentangle Fun: Tutorials and Activity Ideas to Get You Started — Zentangle is the perfect marriage of mediation and art, and it can be fun and relaxing for the whole family. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares resources to help you start doodling.
- Cabin Fever Plan of Attack — Momma Jorje offers some low-key plans for days that she and her littles are stuck inside.