I'd rather not dwell on how every little move I make shapes who they are on a daily basis... it's just so much PRESSURE.
When the twins were tiny babies, I was told to talk to them during the day, making a narrative for them as we went about our activities. So I would go about chatting them up, things like, "We're going to go to Target again! For more diapers!" or "Let's all go upstairs and change your clothes again- they are dripping with spit up!" and "Mommy is going to fold yet another load of laundry! Wanna watch me from your swings?" It was like having my own reality TV show. Sometimes I would break out my Julia Child impersonations while whipping up enough homemade babyfood to feed a small village.
I thought all this would help them with cognition and speech as their brains developed. And as they got older, talking about sequences of events would help prepare them for what we were going to do next- you know, trying to be a good mother!
Well, all this has had a rather unfortunate side-effect; when I tuck them into bed (for naps or bedtime, to the twins it's the same thing, apparently) I get asked "But wait! What we do tomorrow?!" This is a question that MUST BE ANSWERED. Not only answered, but in a satisfactory manner. "I dunno! We'll see!" is grounds for feet kicking and refusal to accept sleep-time.
I'm sure you can imagine the kind of mental stress this can place on my weary brain. I have to make "going to Target again" sound fun! and exciting! (they're big enough to know going out for things like deodorant and toothpaste does not make for a sporting good afternoon) Plus, there are times- lots of times- that I just plain don't know what we are doing the next day! Stuff! We'll do STUFF, guys!
As if sensing my anxiety at the question, my smarty-pants four year olds have taken it upon themselves to come up with activities for the day. Yesterday I woke them from naps, excited to tell them I had planned a super fun trip to the nearest splash pad/park. I was rebuffed with silence, followed by: "No Mama, we needs to go swimming at Grandma's pool... with Grandma."
Luckily my mother is happy to oblige these requests at the last minute. (Bless her! She even fed us dinner, no cooking for me!)
Most of the time, the girls' solution for a "tomorrow" with nothing planned in advance is "playing squishies." I've been fine with that. They mess around with non-edible spaghetti, shape cutters, and rolling dough into snakes, I catch up on some reading... or television.
The only wrench in this perfect plan has been Little Man. When the girls climb up to the counter, he assumes they are eating. Rule #1 in his book: Nobody eats without me. (enter huge fit involving Little Man climbing into his highchair with a big HARUMPH! and refusing to stop screaming until food is proffered)
I tried giving him play-doh on his highchair tray. It lasted all of five seconds; Partially because our Play Doh is old and hard, it even gives me hand cramps from muscling it around. He mostly wanted me to sit right next to him and "help" him play with it. While I'm glad he did not try and eat it, I do not want to be so highly involved with what is supposed to be "mommy-free-quiet-play-time."
Pinterest came to the rescue again and yielded this great homemade Play Doh recipe. I drag the highchair closer to where the girls are playing, and viola! Hours of quiet play time:
It never ceases to amaze me- just how dedicated he is to being part of the big kid crowd.
Moving him up two feet solves the whole problem. However, the issue of "what we do tomorrow, Mama?" is still in play.