As I said in my earlier posts this week, I had wanted to get back to more creative and sensory activities with the boys and try to get away from the same old commercial toys in order that they explore their imaginations through play more. Plus, my two love to get messy and watching them playing happily together melts my heart and gives me the warm fuzzies.
In keeping with this, with the sensory tray inflated and waterproof tablecloth on the floor, I bought out some kitchen utensils and a big pot of cooked, cooled spaghetti.
I poured it in and watched.
Baby Dragon crawalked (he crawls with one foot, one knee to get speed up, and yes, of course I made that word up, I’m getting quite fond of doing that lately) over first and his little baby fingers were quickly enveloped in the starchy pasta as he tested the squirmy substance. Jensen was a little slower, examining the utensils on offer before making a selection and tentatively touching the strands with the tips of his fingers as he employed the spatula as a spaghetti shovel.
Baby Dragon grabbed himself a measuring cup and filled it with the stringy stuff.
For fifty minutes, they played solidly, side by side. Baby Dragon had a great deal to say about it, gurgling and chuckling to himself and screeching happiness from his powerful little lungs, whilst Jensen intensely narrated his actions.
Of course, there was jumping. In our house, there is ALWAYS jumping.
When nearly an hour was passed, I took the boys for a bath to get ready for Dadda coming home (Dadda does not possess a huge love of mushy food). By this point there was little spaghetti in the sensory tray and I had a huge sense of Momma satisfaction.
As they swished around in their buttermilk bath soak (I still have a little of Burt’s Bees gorgeous soak left) I smiled to myself. I learned something so important about play that day.
I won’t bore you with a blow by blow account, I’ll just cut to my revelation.
Over the past two years and seven months, I have purchased half of Toys R Us and the Disney Store (and that’s by my own reckoning; the reality is probably far worse) in the common Momma pursuit of making my son “happy”. He has probably had over one thousand pounds per year spent on him, easily.
No toy or game that has been brought into our house however has engaged him or captivated him for as long as this budget packet of spaghetti.
I’m quite honestly and genuinely amazed and disgusted at my own materialistic approach to raising my son. Pure commercialism. I was so sure that what he needed was each and every plastic toy he reached for or plush character that he hugged when we were out on our travels in shops. Very few of the mountain of toys that he possesses (Dadda has made some sound wooden purchases though) have offered him the chance for such exploration of his senses and freedom for unconstrained play as this packet of food.
Generally when my husband comes home from work and asks Jensen what he’s been up to that day, he draws a blank from him. The evening of the spaghetti? He remembered everything. The squidging between his fingers, getting it in his hair, using the whisk, even having to come away from the activity for two minutes because he had gotten too rambunctious and thown pasta in the air and off the mat twice in a row (this incident caused immediate tears when he realised he was going to be away from the activity). We were both shocked by how animated he was, recanting the fun he had had.