I am a person of minimal entertainment needs. Whole weekends and holidays have been quite happily wasted sitting on my sofa with a cuppa tea, a packet of triple choc chip gluten free cookies and some TV series on Netflix. I am the person who watched all, yes ALL, 121 episodes of Lost in an October half term. I have seen the ‘Are you still watching?’ message so many times that I know when it’s coming and have my hand poised at the ready to make it go away. This makes me sound so lazy. This is not something that I do all the time, but teaching is a stressful job and sometimes I just need a sofa-cuppa-Netflix kinda day.
I haven’t had one of these sorts of days in nearly four months now mind you, and there are no prizes for guessing the reason why. (Actually when Emily was very little and would nap all day in my arms I managed to watch Peaky Blinders and Daredevil. But that was only two days worth of entertainment.) I now find that my days are spent stimulating, educating, cuddling, kissing and conversing with a cheeky little lady. Emily is at an age where everything needs thorough observation. Her hands regularly get a good look over just in case they’ve changed, as do mine and Dan’s. All toys get a quick once over before getting covered in dribble and blankets, cushions, carpets, rugs, pillows, clothes and anything else that comes within reach goes the same way. She does however seem to get bored of things quite quickly.
Cue Mummy. It is my official full time job to provide Emily with constant entertainment. Some days we go out to Waterbabies, Tiny Talk, Baby Sensory, Mucky Monkeys, music group, the park, the library, the woods, the beach or the city. Other days we have an in-day where I am left to my own devices. These days we read books, we fly around like a rocket, we play peekaboo, we have a massage, I make silly noises, I sing silly songs, we walk around the garden looking at the plants, we pull faces in mirror, we smell all the herbs and spices and sometimes I just lay next to Emily so she can stroke my face. It’s adorable! (This is not a complete list!) It’s good fun but it’s exhausting, and this is all on top of the normal baby things like feeding and changing etc.
There are times in the day when I am genuinely so tired that I have to dig deep to find the energy to do another round of dinosaur impressions or to finish off a complete rendition of ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes.’ More often than not now I find myself napping when Emily naps just to make it through. Also my imagination, I have discovered, is finite. Normally around 3 ‘o’ clock it runs out and I’m left repeating the same songs or revisiting an earlier game of ‘What can you hear/see/smell?’ Then I feel that Emily is judging my poor parenting skills. Ugh!
This however is my latest creation. I stole it off Pinterest so I can’t claim it as my own. It’s a sensory fort and it is currently incomplete. Thus far it has colour changing LED lights, a ribbon chandelier and some blankets made from different materials. In the future I am planning of putting in it some cushions that I am making with different ribbons, buttons and fabrics sown on, Emily’s noisy toys so rattles, bells, maracas and squeaky ball, her flashing sensory balls and some sensory pouches. I am hoping though that it will be a multipurpose den. For now it can be used for sensory, a sun tent for the garden (and it’s big enough to fit the paddling pool in) and as a reading den. As she gets older I hope that Emily will find further uses for it, but she can continue to read in it or could use it as her own private escape from the world. It will be a place for her to learn and discover her own creativity, where she can be safe and uninterrupted.
Like most things at the moment though, this will probably provide Emily with approximately 10 minutes of enjoyment. But hey, it is another string in my bow when it comes to keeping her happy. Plus it’s a good place for a nap!