I don’t know if it’s universal or whether it’s the result of 4 kids, one house and many agendas, but trying to cook breakfast and keep a toddler joyous in the morning whilst the other parent squeezes in a half hour meditation has been a pretty complicated task in our home.
There are 6 breakfasts to cook with different bread requirements, cups of tea to brew, blenders going, pans sizzling and a budget exhaust fan drowning out the sweet song of the birds. Then there is a hungry toddler asking questions from afar which sound like a muffled flute. Questions like can we go get ice cream or why is that stone there or something else ridiculously hilariously ludicrously cute. And I always want the response to be a considered one, which amongst the toast pop and kettle whistle can be challenging!
To maintain a calm peaceful presence amongst all that is quite the job!! Why doesn’t everyone make their own breakfast does cross my mind but when we try that it’s like a game of gridiron in a toilet cubicle…. one person cooking results in less injury and only one frustrated human not many.
Thankfully I figured out a neat little plan a couple weeks back that literally gives us the 20 minutes we need to get the majority of breakfast prepared and cooking. We may need to pause a moment or two to cut string or sticky tape a drawn gorilla head onto a paddle pop stick, but other than that our toddler is happily entertained by the night before creations and the exploration and play they entice.
The creations you ask? Well, what I decided to do was create little worlds whilst our toddler is getting put to bed so that when she arises in the morning she comes out to new scenes, new worlds, new activities to do. This morning there were puppy’s having a tea party with a pirate, a cave with a sandpit and squirrels in it, a jump over pillow trampoline set-up and a few other oddities.
Tomorrow she might find the tea party table transformed into a musical instrument station and the cave moved inside and now a stamping station set up with paper, ink and stamps. New scenes to explore and entice her into engagement.
So some of these scenes last 3 minutes, some last 30 seconds and some last a whole 15 minutes or more. But more often than not breakfast is ready and she is still playing away in her own imaginative little world amongst the last night’s creations.
I’ve actually found joy in creating the stations now. Setting up cute little treasures along the way, putting colored water in the teapot, making simple little changes which excite her and when I visualize her little face I am finding it excites me too! Double win and beats just cleaning up after toddler tornado. This still gets done but use to be all that happened in those going to sleep time moments. Cleaning up has actually become a creative and fun daily adventure.
As we’ve taken this path of cleaning up/ preparing for play the little cutey is clearly joyous even at the sight of the scenes.
“Oh look! Everything’s amazing!” Has been voiced numerous times, alongside “oooooooooh” and “yaaay!” Any of those little expressions have made my heart smile and assisted her mind to drop into the imaginative realm and start creating. Ooh yeh, I like it!
How long will this last? I’m not really sure. For now I’m set in doing it after seeing the joyous rewards for her and the calm relaxed space we get to cook breakfast in each and every morning now.
This might be common sense to many or maybe this inspires you dear reader. Either way I hope you are also able to drink the joy of your little folk through little-planned worlds and activities that they can dive their imagination into. Learning through play and nurturing their exploratory mind. Aho!