And so winter is finally upon us in London. Like most good Madras-vaasis, I reach for the monkey cap and sweater vest the minute the thermometre dips below 20 and look forward to spending the next six months covering various sins (cancelled waxing appointments) with a big old coat.
However, unlike previous winters spent commuting to work, freelancing from home (ie watching reruns of Murder She Wrote and eating Betty Crocker chocolate icing straight from the jar) and being pregnant (ditto as previous parenthesis but you can add toast buttered on both sides to this list) this winter, I have a child to keep me company. Or rather, a small child for me to entertain and pander to.
After a summer spent at the park, in paddling pools and generally running around the garden bare of chest and foot, my 17-month old boy doesn’t seem to realise that the months between November and March are meant for quiet indoor contemplation and eating chocolate and cheese. He is under the erroneous impression that human beings still go out on such dire days and interact with others of their tribe.
So what is a mother of a toddler to do in these cold months? Certainly, not what I did.
Last week in an attempt to keep my son occupied I went to our
local Early Learning Centre and purchased craft paper, play doh and enough paint to fill the National Gallery with his very bad art work. This was a bad idea.
Firstly, because my son cannot really make anything himself (all the art work at his nursery that bear his name were no doubt made by his key worker). Secondly, I actually have to sit down and engage in these activities with him. This shot to bits my original idea of handing him a tub of play doh and myself a tub of Ben and Jerry and zoning out to Maury.
My son refused to play ball with that concept and insisted on trying to eat the red play doh or smear it in his hair. I should have let him because it would have come out the other end at some point in time, while the play doh festooned in his hair had to be cut out. I should have learned from this and put the paint away.
But the eternal optimist within was sure that my son was the next Picasso if not the next Henry Moore. But his idea of painting included unscrewing the cap of each paint pen, shaking it vigorously and then hurling it across the room so that I might retrieve it for him. After spending an hour pushing aside the sofa, crawling beneath the dining table and behind the DVD stand, I gave up. And thankfully my son did too.
The paint and play doh have been put away but not without leaving their tell tale marks around the apartment’s wall and floors. And my face.
Children should be left to beat against the front door crying to be let out instead of having art and craft activities thrust upon them. I now know that. Though I must admit his few attempts to put pen to paper did have an air of early Cezanne about them.
(This appeared <a href="“>here)