Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

Of Dinosaurs and Dress-Up

on July 12, 2012

“Mommy, will you play a game with me?”

Not being a morning person, those aren’t really the first words I want to hear in the morning … especially when I’ve been awakened half a dozen times during the too-short night by a grumpy teething toddler.

“We’ll talk about it later,” I mumbled. “Right now, I’m trying to get your sister back to sleep.”

Little Bear sighed deeply. “I’ll just go into the living room and wait for you,” she said.

A couple of minutes later she was back at the door. “Mommy, is it OK if I just play a game all by myself since you’re busy taking care of {Baby Bear}?” she asked.

*Insert Mommy Guilt here.*

“That’s fine,” I told her. But I eased a then-sleeping Baby Bear out of my arms and into bed, dressed quickly, and headed into the living room to play with my sweet older girl.

… only to find that her game of choice was none other than Fancy Nancy’s Ooh-La-La Tea Party. Sigh. … At some point during her tween or teen years, she’s probably going to try the “You don’t love me!” drama card. And when she does, I’m simply going to say, “Do you think I would have played Fancy Nancy’s Ooh-La-La Tea Party with a child I didn’t love?”

It’s really not an awful game — for a 4-year-old. In fact, it’s much better than, say, Candy Land (which I pawned off on some other hapless parent a couple of consignment sales ago). But it’s very much a game for 3- and 4-year-olds and very much my least favorite of all the kid games currently on our shelves. (Unfortunately for me, it involves both Fancy Nancy and Colorforms, making it one of Little Bear’s favorites.) On the plus side, it’s quick. We managed to play 2 rounds in less than 15 minutes, much to Little Bear’s delight. Then I headed into the kitchen to fix a much-needed cup of coffee.

Little trumpeter

After breakfast (and more importantly, caffeine), the girls played dress-up, then pulled out their noisemakers toy musical instruments while I cleaned house. Next, it was time to read.

We’d read a couple of Magic Tree House books a few months ago, and at the time, they didn’t seem to capture Little Bear’s interest. As we were swimming yesterday, though, she suddenly suggested that we pretend the pool was a magical tree house and that we were Jack and Annie. This morning, she asked if we could read the series from the beginning. So I pulled Dinosaurs Before Dark off the shelf, and we sat down to begin reading the series “from the beginning.” Little Bear climbed up in my lap, and we read the entire book from cover to cover in a single sitting. No sooner had I closed the finished book than she was off my lap and headed for the office.

“I’ll get the next book in the series, Mommy!” she informed me.

Thankfully, Mommy’s voice was spared by an impromptu play date. After a bit of fun with friends, the girls and I headed to the pool for a late morning swim. Little Bear chose to swim without her swim vest this morning and once again braved the deep end of the pool. She’s far from being a proficient swimmer, but she’s certainly managing to get around! As usual, we couldn’t just swim. We had to scoop up and examine insects, play “I Spy,” count the birds we saw flying overhead, toss around an octopus squirt toy, jump across the pool with the octopus balanced on our heads, and more. Suffice it to say, Little Bear does not lack creativity!

After a late lunch, Baby Bear took a nap, while Little Bear watched a couple of episodes of Ni Hao Kai Lan. Little Bear also spent some time drawing, coloring, and using picture cards as a springboard to make up stories. Then, Baby Bear awoke, and we headed back outside where Little Bear practiced riding her bike.

The heat soon drove us back inside, and the girls played dress-up and drew on their MagnaDoodles while I got dinner started. Just as I finished in the kitchen, one of our neighbors knocked on the door and asked if the girls could play outside. So we braved the heat for a third time. … After a good half hour of riding bikes, trikes, scooters, and other ride-ons, Little Bear wanted to play pirates. Baby Bear, of course, had to get in on the act also.

“Ahoy, mates!”

Little buccaneer

Eventually, the parents tired of the heat, and we again retreated to the pool where half a dozen kids, all 4 and under, played until the sun faded.

By 8:40, an exhausted Little Bear was fast asleep, and Baby Bear soon followed. Now, here’s hoping they stay that way until morning!

One Response to “Of Dinosaurs and Dress-Up”

  1. Debbie Olson says:

    It makes me tired just to read about all that you get done in a day, Julie! Wonderful to see the pictures of the girls.

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