Becoming a mum let me be a kid all over again
Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Becoming a parent is a shock. No matter how much we prepare ourselves, it’s way harder than we can ever imagine.
As mums, we lean on each other, sharing our stories of hardship to make us laugh and to help us get through. Lately, in lockdown, we seem to be sharing stories of hardship a whole lot more. After all, our kids are with us ALL THE TIME. And we're not only parents at the moment, we're school teachers as well.
I’m not about to claim that I have had it easy. But one thing I have noticed, with all this time together, is how much kids stuff I’m doing, and have been doing since my first baby arrived six years ago.
I don’t mean the stuff I do for the kids. I mean the activities and games that I haven’t played since I was a kid myself. Not only that, it’s like a childhood do-over because I am playing games I didn’t play when I was a kid.
Furthermore, I am learning new skills and reviving old skills through the kids’ activities. It’s brilliant.
The list of activities that fall into this fun category is endless. So, for the sake of keeping this piece reasonably short, I’ve listed my faves:
Jumping in puddles
It’s winter and if and when we are allowed to leave our house, the weather is not all that tempting. However, my kids love mud, and boys NEED to be outside. Actually, even I can’t stand to be locked in doors all day.
After three winters in Ballarat I finally invested it some gumboots that I love (yes, girly ones with pretty flowers on them) and I take my boys out to find puddles. I can tell you, Peppa Pig is onto something (kid culture reference there).
A walk in search of muddy puddles is so much more entertaining than a regular walk. Each time we find a puddle it’s a victory, marked by shouts of excitement. Each one needs careful inspection to see how deep it is and how thick the mud is. After careful assessment the boys and I then have to decide if it is a “go through” puddle or a “go around” one.
As discussed in a previous tale (Just Add Water), even the smallest amount of water makes the biggest difference to a kid and how much they enjoy an activity. And while it may sound crazy (and I probably am crazy at this point) I may miss winter and our puddle walks.
It’s a classic for a reason. Who doesn’t love squishing playdough, creating shapes and blending colours?
This year I branched out and made my own. I have had the recipe on a fridge magnet for years and so many parents told me it was easy to do. They were right. Not only that, making it adds to the whole experience. The kids get to measure quantities (hello remote learning maths lesson), stir and create their own colours, and it’s ready to use immediately.
The first time I made playdough and gave it to my boys it resulted in a solid three hours of entertainment for them.
As for me, I had the fun of playing too AND, with some of that three hours, getting a bit of my own work done. Can I hear a “hallelujah”?!
Believe it or not, I never got to play LEGO as a kid. No, I wasn’t a deprived child. It didn’t interest me that much. In truth, my building/construction skills have always been lacking.
Now I have two boys and LEGO has taken over one whole room of our house. And I love it. We started off with basic sets. Yes, at the age of 36 I was earning my stripes on the sets made for four year old’s.
As the boys have progressed, so have I. It has challenged the whole family at times to follow the instructions, and then make modifications, improvements, or even build something completely new. Christmas night it was me sitting up late to complete a new LEGO set.
I have spent several hours helping with my boys with builds and new creations and my skills in nutting out construction problems has improved. My husband is a tradie, so to him this is his life on a small scale, but for me, it’s a whole new world.
Need I say more?
I saw a few as a kid - the classic Disney fairy tales. But these days cartoons are made for the grown ups as much as the kids and I get seriously excited when I see new releases. I honestly believe way more effort is put into an animated feature than general release blockbusters. The story lines are better, dialogue is wittier, the characters have more depth and the music is catchy, uplifting and memorable. And every story touches your heart. When was the last time a movie with actors ticked all those boxes?
Yes, I am now 100% hooked on animated features, and of course I have my favourites:
- Wreck It Ralph
- Despicable Me (all three of them)
- Up (try not crying – I dare you)
- Toys Story (all four)
- Cars (1 and 3)
- Aladdin (with Robin Williams as Genie)
- The Lion King (the original animated version)
- Beauty and the Beast
Ok I could go on. The one I am still yet to see is Frozen, but then I have boys, so I always get outvoted.
Parks and playgrounds
Swing time, slide time, sandpit time. All these activities came flooding back into my life when my little ones became mobile.
I used to see mums sitting, sipping their coffee and chatting while their kids played happily. This was never the case for me. I would have liked to, but my boys always asked me to play too, and how could I resist?
So, after years of walking by playgrounds without so much as a second glance, I now scout the neighbourhood for a playground that looks different. One we haven’t tried yet. Now that my boys are a little older, I look for the playgrounds that are going to be a little challenging as well.
Playgrounds are such great fun, and they are awesome exercise too. When I was a kid I could not do monkey bars. As an adult, having my playground do-over time, I have finally got that monkey swing happening.
The added bonus is playgrounds are simple, active and completely free activities. On a sunny day there is no better place to be. Take a picnic and a ball with you and you can be there for hours. What’s not to love?
So, while it is true that being a parent is tough and exhausting, it also comes with the perk of allowing you to be a kid all over again. And we can all use an adult time-out now and then.
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