Spending more time directly engaged with the girls and boisterous boy means that I have less time to devote to laundry, toilets, and the huge list of other things important to keeping our home running. I have been thinking up creative strategies for getting things done WHILE spending time with them. Sounds impossible, right? Add finger paint, paper, a bitter cold winter day, and three antsy children and it sounds even more like a disaster.
But it is not.
I would like to personally introduce you to my bathroom. With a beat up, knotty, bug eaten wooden floor, ancient lead-paned window, a stained porcelain tub, and funky old vanity, it is hardly a showpiece. A perfect space for creativity to go wild, don't you think? Add a modern front loading washer to the equation and warm wood heat so children can paint shirtless and suddenly magic can happen without mommy worrying.
We gave our children an easel for New Years. I quite willingly allow playdough to liberally be sprinkled underneath the dining room table, and allow my kitchen floor to be coated with flour, yet, ironically I am not ready to have paint smeared all over the walls.
My solution? The bathroom of course!
While the baby slept, I set the older children up with no shirts, lots of paper, finger paint galore, and q-tips for smearing it around. They had a blast while I clean the toilet, washed my diapers, and even vacuumed the bathroom cobwebs.
When they were done, I had a eureka moment. I put them all in the dry tub, gave them each a sponge and a liberal pile of baking soda. I set them to work scrubbing the tub, which quickly became coated with a green paste (baking soda+green paint). I think they enjoyed the scrubbing as much as the painting. I cleaned up all the brushes in the sink while they scrubbed, then washed the sink while they played in the clean tub water.
|The prior to cleaning sink|
Over an hour later and I had three happy children, a clean bathroom, and lots of paint sodden paper. Success!