3D Flower 

#keepingitreal for a moment before we begin…

I’ve been on the receiving end of many an “oh you’re such a good mom… you do SOOO much with him!” This is usually followed by examples of things that make the person in question somehow less than. “My kid is watching moana again.” “I let daycare handle that shit. I don’t have your patience.” And so on and so on. The implication is that my kid never watches tv and lives in an oasis of patience and homeschooling divinity. Let me set you straight. Today we made this craft. It was lovely. We also got play dough lodged in our ear on purpose. Dumped milk on my bed intentionally. Tried to climb in the oven. Chucked all our trains at our door and had a meltdown the size of Texas at the library. I raised my voice. Many times. He cried. I cried. He’s now watching Lion Guard while I write this and I have #noshame. We may craft, but this is by no means a bastion of calm, screen free parenting. Don’t get it twisted.

Now, onto the craft. I’ve seen a few of these on Pinterest (otherwise known as my home away from home) and felt like Mateo would enjoy the texture of the project and could master the folding. As with many a craft, envisioning the end result was the tricky part for him. Getting him to visualize that the folded paper would become a flower (and therefore motivate him to participate) took a bit of explanation. Once he caught on, he enjoyed figuring out how to properly fold over the strips of paper to make the petals and was very pleased w the end result.

Some tips:

  • I generally use card stock paper for crafts like this. It just holds up better.
  • Skip fretting about whether strips are the same size. This is supposed to be fun. No one gives a damn if your petals are uneven in size or ripped a little. Your little one certainly won’t care. We aren’t trying for the best crafts in Connecticut. We are trying to enjoy our time together.
  • For the stem, I used hot glue once he glued the pipe cleaner to the paper with Elmers. I do this for a lot of crafts. Once he is finished, I’ll peel it off and replace the Elmer’s with hot glue. It simply prevents me from having to glue and re-glue pieces back on every hour.
  • I glued all the strips around the center of the flower before we started– to give him an idea of what we were doing. Older kids could probably glue the strips around the circle AND fold over.
  • Speaking of glue, I’ve taken to letting him apply glue with a paintbrush. This is easier for him and it reduces the chance of him squirting glue all over the place or sticking the nozzle up his nose (which is strangely appealing to him).

Now, here’s how to make it happen


Materials: 

  • Blue, yellow and red card stock paper (any other thick paper will work)
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • One dark green and one light green pipe cleaner.

Directions: 

  • To prep: cut 8 thin strips of yellow card stock paper, cut a small circle for the center, collect one dark green and one light green pipe cleaner. Draw a circle near the top of your page. Leave room for the petals. Glue the strips around the circle. Fold light green pipe cleaner into petals.
  • Show your little one how to fold over the paper without pressing it down to create the 3D or “fluffy” petal. This took a few lessons for M to grasp but he really enjoyed trying to get it just right.
  • After all the petals are glued, use the red card stock paper circle to make the center of the flower. Glue in place.
  • Ask your little one to apply glue to the dark green pipe cleaner and adhere to the paper. Don’t expect it to stick all that well.
  • Let dry- use hot glue to adhere the stem at this point.
  • Hang and enjoy

Also, originally my plan was to use this a chance to teach M about the parts of a flower and what each does. Given our day (and the fact that I was operating on 3 hours of sleep), I skipped the education today. He didn’t seem to care 🙂

10 Reasons #momlife Is So Worth It… An Honest Look at the Joys We Can Overlook During the Chaos


Dude! Facebook’s bumming me out lately. No, I’m not talking about the compare and despair phenomenon that leaves folks like me in a puddle on the kitchen floor. I’m talking about the seeming onslaught of Mommy blog articles lamenting the struggles of #momlife.
Like many moms, I follow a host of mommy blogs. Stay at home mom blogs. Crafty mommy blogs. Toddler mommy blogs. I’ve got it all covered. Like many, my mornings are spent giving Facebook a quick scroll as I drink coffee and make breakfast for my wee one. Lately, this has left me feeling a bit sour. Link after link pops up with titles that clearly spell out the trials and tribulations of motherhood.

  • The meltdowns.
  • The lack of sleep.
  • The never ending todo lists.
  • The unhelpful spouses.
  • The helpful spouses who still just don’t get it.
  • The kids who are slowly trying to kill us.

All of it. None of it is untrue. Yet, somehow, after skimming the third article, I feel overworked and under appreciated.

I get it. The bombardment of #soblessed posts has left too many moms wondering why they’re the only ones feeling like they’re constantly sinking. I’ve yet to encounter a more lonely feeling than sitting at home with an infant who simply will not stop wailing and feeling like everyone else has this motherhood thing figured out and you’re just an epic fail. Or scrolling Facebook in the middle of the night after you’ve had yet another tango with your toddler who won’t sleep and realizing everyone else is in bed… because they’re good moms who have figured out how to get their kid to sleep. I’ve taken the unshowered, pajama clad walks around the neighborhood with my kid in the stroller and stared enviously at the put together moms I saw passing me by. What do they know that I don’t? And then I’ve gone home, scrolled some mommy blogs and realized that I’m exactly where I should be… and likely doing far better than I give myself credit for. So I understand the need for these articles.

All of us, at one time or another (sometimes multiple times an hour) need to be reminded that the glossy pictures we see on Facebook are just the surface of mom life. The women we see who clearly have it all figured out and are sailing through momhood with nary a self doubt are actually struggling just like we are. (I laugh as I think of the specific woman in question that I’m thinking about. I foolishly lived in jealous fear of her and her momhood prowess for months only to accidentally stumble upon a friendship with her and realize she’s no different than I am. The same fears. The same self doubt. The same sense of being overwhelmed. Lesson learned.) I’m not saying these articles are untrue or unneeded. They absolutely are!

If today is not your day, your week, your month or even your year, you are not alone and the collective we totally gets it. Keep on trudging, mama. You’re doing fabulously.
If, however, you need to be reminded of the good that makes motherhood the joy that it can be, this is the post for you.

Top 10 Reasons #momlife is #SoWorthIt


1- The Smiles: Sometimes I see that smile all day. Sometimes I get a rare glimpse every 3 hours because life is just doing my kid wrong over and over that day. But every time, no fail, that smile slays me. Why? Well, who doesn’t love to see their kid happy? Duh. But, really, have you looked at a kid smile big? It’s a true, genuine display of pure unadulterated happiness. No self consciousness. No “smile with your mouth closed because your teeth are weird looking” thoughts. Just pure joy. Who doesn’t need a reminder every so often to stop sweating the small stuff and be happy. (Disclaimer: that smile is often quickly replaced by tears when the “small stuff” is suddenly threatening to ruin your kid’s entire life)

2- The Milestones: I’m not talking about how early your kid crawls or how many words they can say by the time they’re 3. I’m talking about the little, daily milestones that no one would notice but you and your little one. The first time he can put his dish in the sink. Realizing he couldn’t do that puzzle last week. Seeing him struggle with fixing a train track and succeeding. Watching a kid take his toy and seeing his little brain working to figure out what to say.. rather than resorting to tears or pushing. The first time you walk to daycare without having to remind him 212 times that he has to hold your hand when you cross the street. These are the moments that stop me in my tracks and remind me that I’m doing something right and he’s working hard at life as well.

3- The Unconditional Love: Disclaimer for this one– last week I was informed that my son likes the neighbor’s mama more than his. That said, pay attention the next time your kid looks up at you. Stop and take in their face when they see you first thing in the morning. That’s love at its purest and that look makes every hour spent drowning in the world of “I’m not good enough” and “this kid is going to be the death of me” worth it.

4- The Purpose: I’m not talking about living for your child or making them the be all and end all of your world. Lord knows I’ve struggled with that and have recently made a conscious decision to get a life outside of my kid. Still, there’s a purpose that comes from raising another human. An immediate answer for the question of “why” you keep on keeping on even when it feels insurmountable. Little people are relying on you. Your little people. There’s no greater feeling, in my mind, than the sense of purpose that comes from raising a tiny human to be a respectful adult.

5- The Sudden Willingness to be Silly: Perhaps this doesn’t apply to everyone. But, I’m a shy, quiet, socially awkward lady. Rarely does pure silly come out of me. And even more rarely does it appear in public. My son is a 2.5 year old crazy person who lives to be silly and loves nothing more than getting ridiculous with mama. He’s also the first person in 34 years of life who brings that out in me. He’s the first person who overrides my feelings of self consciousness and compels me to get on the floor and be a little nutty and possibly even roar at him in public. Because, apparently that’s the greatest thing in the whole damn world. This silliness in me is something I didn’t know I missed until It showed itself with him.

6- The Appreciation for Sleep: Yes, yes I know. You’re tired. Believe you me, I get it. My little small fry is 2.5 and still rarely makes it through the night. And strangely, this is actually not the worst it’s been with him. Honest to god, I can probably count the amount of nights I’ve gotten more than 4 hours of sleep in row since he arrived on two hands. But, the flip side of this exhaustion is what I experienced this morning (after my guy spent the night at grandma’s). THE GLORY OF A FULL NIGHT OF SLEEP. Before Mateo, I was simply unable to recognize the divine nature of sleeping for seven hours in a row.

7- The Empathy: I cared about the world before Mateo arrived. Absolutely. But not quite as deeply as I do now. Seeing news stories of children in crisis, families struggling to get by, schools closing because of lack of funds, and people fighting for justice for our kids slays me in a way it never has. That child in crisis is someone’s baby. And, for the first time, I know what not being able to take your baby’s pain away feels like. That family struggling could be us at any moment and I can practically feel the late night worry they must be experiencing. Motherhood has opened the flood gates of empathy in a way I never expected.

8- Internet Friends: Wait. Before you roll your eyes, hear me out. It’s no secret that it takes a village to raise a child. Sadly, however, many people’s villages are spread over the country and family isn’t as readily available as it was once was. Finding mom friends you click with is not nearly as easy as it sounds. College friends grow up and move away. I had some wonderful work friendships that inspired laughter daily. Since leaving to stay home with M, I’ve not seen them more than a couple of times. Life happens and it can be lonely. Bring on the world of Facebook mom groups. Sure, yea, an entire article could (and has) been written about the drama that can EASILY take over in these forums. Still, there’s a sense of shared purpose and fellowship that I know eases the struggle for many a mom. I mean, where else are you gonna turn to post a picture of the nasty rash your child has developed before asking for some suggestions for relief until your doctor can see your kid? Where else are you gonna turn when your everything is handed a truly upsetting medical or psychological diagnosis? I’ve seen these groups rally like no one’s business behind these mamas and I can only hope it’s provided some relief and comfort. Who else cares that you’re in Target alone for the first time in a year? Guarantee your internet mom friends give a damn and salute your solo shopping excursion.

9- Watching the Growth of a Personality: Hands down, the coolest part of parenthood has been watching my son turn from a squishy little newborn into a person with opinions and likes and dislikes and a unique personality. Watching him develop into his own person has been mind blowing. He’s shy, yet silly. He’s cautious in public, yet tries to end his life through daredevil stunts at home on a daily basis. He rarely acts without thinking first… especially in social situations. He’s smart as all get out, yet as illogical as they come. He’s obsessed with whether he has a hangnail at any given moment and is currently holding firm to the statement that his name is Potato. No one is really sure why. But that’s my guy. And watching him develop into who he will eventually become is a gift unlike any other.

10- The Gut Wrenching Love: It’s been said that having kids is like removing your own heart and letting it wander the world outside your body. This sounds exactly right to me. The level of love I feel for this hooligan is absurd. Simply absurd. Yet so wonderful. Five days from now he begins at a new daycare. His first “real” daycare. This has occurred to me daily … actually many times a day for weeks. Why? Worry. The worry produced by a love that feels like it might physically overtake you sometimes. Will he be fine? Absolutely. Will be likely enjoy it? For sure. Will I cry? Oh god, yea. Probably more than once. My unfortunate friends (and probably those internet friends I spoke about earlier) will be bombarded with my need for reassurance that he’s fine all day. I will pick him up at the end of the day and be almost genuinely amazed that he is really, truly fine. While insane, that’s a love for someone I’ve never felt before and I am so grateful to experience it.

There you have it. My top ten list. 

Parenthood is hard. It’s hard for us all. It is often times thankless. No one is handing out medals for figuring out how to entertain your toddler while ALSO showering. And, I’ll be the first to admit it. My sister took Mateo to grandma’s house yesterday and is keeping him until Saturday and I nearly cried tears of joy. And then took a nap. But it’s also the bee’s knees and the cat’s meow and the jelly to life’s peanut butter. It’s simply the greatest thing I’ve experienced and sometimes I just need a reminder when it feels relentless.

-sticker makeover courtesy of my toddler-

What The Mini Sees…


Ask my kid to think about something and you’ll witness him place his tiny little pointer finger on top of his pursed lips and tap it a few times while he ponders the matter.

Catch me in a moment of contemplation and you’ll witness the same gesture.

The fact that I birthed a mini me is no secret. In fact, for most of his life he’s actually been referred to as “mini” by friends of mine. From the getgo, this kid has been a spitting image of his mama and has prompted many an exclamation of “oh my goodness, y’all are twins!.” The novelty has actually worn off for me. And, as he gets older, he starts looking less and less like my little twinie. This fact will likely serve him well in middle school.


What I have noticed recently is how much of who I am – as a person – is being mirrored back to me by him.  My mannerisms. My gestures. My sense of humor. My cautiousness. My preference for books over people. So much of what makes me who I am is being reflected back by my son. While this makes for more than a few adorable anecdotes (my personal favorite being when he responded to the offer of a bath with “not diggin’ it, mama”), it’s recently prompted some self reflection.

Like every other mother out there, the vast majority of my mental activity is focused around him. Is he meeting his milestones? Was that rash there yesterday? Will today be the day that his food refusal results in starvation? Should he go to preschool this year or next? Will kids make fun of little gremlin teeth?

I know that kid like the back of my hand and obsess about everything from what he eats, to how many numbers he can properly recognize to whether he will ever master algebra (something I’ve yet to accomplish). Who he is, who he is becoming and who he will end up being occupy an awful lot of brain space. Pretty par for the course as a parent, as I understand it.

What I haven’t given nearly as much brain space to is who I am. Who does he see when he wakes up? Who does he hear when its three in the morning and I answer the middle of the night calls for Mama? Who does he see when I think he’s not looking? And, how is this shaping him?

Two and a half is a challenge in many ways. Between the whining, the sassy comebacks and the sudden need to assert himself in all matters, toddlerhood has given me a run for my money (as if I get paid for this shiz) and has resulted in many an exasperated exclamation of “for the love of god, Mateo.” It’s also been mind blowing to watch. He’s coming into his own. He’s turning into a little human with cognitive thought processes, very clear likes and dislikes, a response to everything (usually a sassy one) and a wild streak that will serve him well as an adult but will ensure I never sleep during his teen years. These days I’m literally watching him become a person. Every day new aspects of his personality emerge. Some are adorable. Some I could do without. But all of it is fascinating and I’m often left in awe of the tiny little dude who races around my house making poop sounds (all day, every day).

I’ve also been caught off guard on more than half a dozen occasions recently by a sudden and very clear demonstration that he’s paying attention. He sees me. He hears me. He hears what I don’t say. He’s taking it all in and mulling it over as he navigates his days.

What is it that I want him to see and am I that person?

Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. Like everyone else, I’m flawed and wonderful and snarky and selfless. I have days when I am nowhere near the mom I want to be. Days when I have failed at being a decent friend. Days when I go to bed thinking “for the love of god, Lizi.” And vow to up my game the next day. But, overall, am I modeling what I want for him?

Am I showing him what kindness looks like – both in how I treat others and how I let others treat me?

Am I handing him delicious lemonade when life throws me lemons? Or, am I sulking over things that don’t go my way and wallowing in the land of “it’s not fair?”

Am I showing him what a strong woman looks like? Am I serving as a living, breathing example of the truth that women are powerful beings who deserve respect?

Am I turning the other cheek metaphorically when he comes at me with toddler hostility and rage? Am I showing him how to respond to those who hurt his feelings, put him down, try to infringe on his rights?

Am I the face of tolerance and love for others? Does he hear me make disparaging comments about people? Or, does he witness unconditional acceptance for those around us?

What am I saying to my friends on the phone when he’s around? Is he hearing optimism or a sense of victimhood?

What’s my general mood? Is life a vale of tears or is each day greeted with a sense of excitement and enthusiasm? Obviously, no one actually wakes up and radiates sunshine and happiness all day, every day. Let’s be real. But, overall, does he see a woman who is enthused about the life she gets to live? Or, does he see the frustration, worry, exhaustion and stress that sometimes plagues me?

I don’t claim to have the answers to all of these questions. And, in some cases, I know the answer and it doesn’t thrill me. What matters, however, is the realization that my little Mini is picking up what I’m putting down and it’s my job to make sure he’s picking up gems instead of glass. Bring on the sunshine and optimism!

Cat In The Hat Paper Bag Puppet

mateo_cat in the hat collage

Small fry is recovering from a nasty fever that left us couch bound all of yesterday. To pass the time and keep the little one content, we watched The Cat in the Hat Goes Camping more times than any human should in any given 24 hour period. Add to this the fact that the Cat in the Hat is one of our nightly books, it seemed an obvious choice for our next crafting adventure. Now that he’s feeling a little more energetic but still isn’t ready for public interaction, we opted for an adorable Cat in the Hat paper bag puppet.

The craft was a HUGE hit. Practicing his puppetry skills, on the other hand, could not have been lower on his list of interests. The Cat proudly took us residence on our fridge and was the first thing anyone who entered the house in the following weeks heard about.

One note I will make…

Mateo’s strong suit is not coloring inside the lines. Therefore, if I were repeating this craft (or walking someone else through it), I might have painted the stripes on the hat ahead of time. His enjoyment of the activity would have remained the same and we would have simply bypassed the frustration over not being able to paint where ever he wanted. Reluctant to give up the painting aspect of the hat? Another strategy would be to cover the white striped portions with masking tape and let your little one let loose with the red paint. Once it dries, simply peel the masking tape up and you’ll have perfectly placed stripes.

Wanna get started? Here’s how.

Mateo_Cat in the hat face

Materials: 

  • Brown paper sandwich bag
  • White and black construction paper
  • Googly eyes (you can also draw the eyes on)
  • Red and black paint
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Directions: 

  • To prep: cut a face out of white construction paper (simply an oval). Cut three black whiskers for each side of the face. Cut a hat out of white construction paper. To assist with keeping the stripe aspect going and prevent Mateo from painting the entire thing red, I painted a small red line on the top and bottom of each portion he was supposed to paint red. Then I instructed him to paint in between the lines. See above note about how well this went.
  • Have your little one paint the entire bottom half of the paper bag black.
  • While that’s drying, help them use glue to assemble the face. To save time and reduce the amount of steps (I mean, he loves to craft but he’s still got a two year old’s attention span), I drew the mouth and nose on the face ahead of time with a sharpie.
  • Next, paint the red stripes on the hat. (Or, be a little smarter than I and hand your little guy or gal a pre-painted hat to glue).
  • Once all parts are completed, have him glue the face on the paper bag’s flap.
  • Lastly, add the hat with glue. (A note: have your little one glue the hat on with a good portion of the hat’s brim covering the paper bag. Otherwise, it will flop backwards and lessen the effect.
  • Show your little one how to make it work like a puppet. Take a deep breath and contain your disappointment that they have zero interest in it being a puppet (maybe that’s just me……).

Enjoy!

More Coffee, Less Advice– A Note from a Sleep Deprived Mama

The three week mark is nearing. In a few long nights, it will be almost three weeks of surviving on under 3 hours of sleep a night. That’s right, folks. While my son excels at many things, sleeping has never been one of them. Lately, however, the proverbial shit has hit the fan. Transitioning him from a crib to a toddler bed has proved to be the nightmare I fully expected and this mama is so tired that I almost can’t even function. Yet, I do. Because… parenthood.

After two and a half years of being the proud and heavily caffeinated mom to a poor sleeper, I have heard it all. Everything from “have you tried monster spray (to rid the room of monsters he is not yet afraid of)?” to “if my child slept like that, I would have quit a while ago.” I’m not entirely sure what you mean by quit and it doesn’t sound entirely legal. People are quick to jump in with ideas and suggestions. Especially fellow moms who knows the pain of sleep deprivation. The motive is good. The delivery sounds a lot like judgement to an exhausted mom struggling to make it from one day to the next.

Nearly everyone knows that my adorable bundle of toddler goodness has never been a champ at the at sleeping. Hell, I – honest to god – know newborns who sleep better than he’s ever slept. What most people don’t know is the guilt that lies behind every smile I present and every selfie we take. It’s impossible to lie awake at 2am (for the fifth time that night) with your toddler and not feel like a failure. At least, for me it is.

Yes, I have read the books. I’ve listened to the podcasts. I’ve worked with a few professionals. I’ve read blog after blog about sleep and toddlers. No, none of it has helped. Come midnight, he’s calling my name. Come morning, everyone is tired and cranky and I’m already dreading nap time and inevitable chaos. At secretly hating myself. Because, surely, I have somehow massively failed my child. Therefore, when you chime in with your ideas or exclaim that you’ve never heard of such a thing before, the voices of self doubt get louder.

Instead, try coffee. Simply pat me on the head and offer coffee. Throw in some free childcare and you’ll be my hero in life. Make a conscious effort to resist the urge to remind me that these are the moments and he will only be small for a short period of time. Yes, that’s probably true. But it also doesn’t negate the fact that I’m so tired that every muscle in my body hurts and without coffee I might actually cease to function entirely. It doesn’t offset the hours spent awake every night and does only a little to make the epic tantrums that erupt every single night any less frustrating. Will I look back when he’s 20 and think “god… I really miss that month of being awoken every hour on the hour by him when he was 2.” I doubt it. But I could be wrong, open to that possibility. Right now, however, I’ve been awake since god knows when and there’s no relief in sight. I have no reason to believe tonight will be any different.

I’ve got a new strategy and a whole lot of coffee… but I’ve had both those things before.

So, rather than tell me all about what I could try. Try just being there. Because  many don’t realize  that having a child who doesn’t sleep much at night is rife with a loneliness that comes from spending hours awake at night by yourself (or with an angry tiny human) and wondering why on earth you can’t solve this problem. Coffee, hugs, childcare offers and cake do a whole lot more to soothe the tired than suggestions and advice.

Just a friendly reminder– in the event that you encounter another mama with kids that don’t sleep at ages when they really should be.

And, finally, some crafts we have done recently. Expect blogs with directions and thoughts to come in the next week… or so.

Potty Training’s Unexpected Gift to this Mama… and a host of craft adventures! 

Wrapping up day 3 of potty training with the little one. He’s narrating an argument between his toy car and bird in the bath – which is simply fascinating – and I’m drinking some much needed coffee and updating the blog. Soon, folks, it will be bedtime.

Per usual, I’m reviewing the day, scanning for progress and brainstorming for ways to improve tomorrow. As I review, an odd realization washes over me. Despite being more exhausted than I’ve been in many many moons, potty training for 3 days has been an almost beautiful experience. A beautiful experience that has left me in tears at moments, chatting with near strangers on the internet at night to troubleshoot and praying for naps that span a minimum of 4 hours. But a beautiful experience, none the less.

What, exactly, about spending days on end staring at my naked child, swooping in mid-pee to relocate said child to the potty and cleaning up a world of bodily functions is beautiful? It’s a legit question.

As a SAHM with a house to run and 12 hours to kill in any given day, I’m often scouring the internet for ways to get my two year old to play independently. By no stretch of the imagination do I ignore my child but the dishes need to be done, laundry needs to be attended to, bills need to be paid, emails from my boss need to be answered, floors need to be swept and food needs to be cooked. And, honestly, sometimes the phone rings and mama needs some adult interaction for a moment. The point being, while he’s certainly a well doted on young boy, I’m often encouraging him to play solo or multitasking. On top of that, for both our sanity, we generally leave the house for at least one activity a day. Barring illness, I can’t remember the last time we spent 3 days in the house without venturing to story time or a play date. The last 72 hours have been eye opening for me.

The method I’ve chosen to use involves basically staring at your child and catching them mid pee while offering regular prompts to try to use the potty. Essentially, in order to learn their cues, catch accidents as they happen and help them figure their bodies out, you’re supposed to completely abandon life in order to be constantly looking at your kid. It’s exhausting. It’s mind numbing at times. It’s frustrating. It’s many many things that I expected it would be.

What I didn’t expect was that it would also make for a host of truly beautiful bonding moments between him and I. Thanks to the pressing need to abandon my phone and housework and pay attention to my child exclusively, I have found myself jumping on the bed with my naked two year old, having staring contests that dissolve into peals of laughter, making up stories about our fish and painting with abandon. I’ve watched him interact with his toys (an experience I usually miss out on because I’m tending to housework or enjoying the rare few minutes of no one yelling my name) and was blown away by the beginnings of imaginative play I saw. As he narrated interactions between his trains, I sat back and watched while marveling at his spunk, personality and creativity. I found myself in awe of who he’s becoming and the fact that I get to witness it.

DO NOT MISINTERPRET : I am counting the minutes until we return to the land of those who wear clothes and leave the house on a regular basis. I also am not under any delusion that I can regularly abandon all other tasks to cater to my two year old. Nor do I actually think I should – as a general practice. But… I am incredibly grateful for the chance to be forced into being present and getting to fall in love with my kid all over again this week.

Of course, to pass the time, we crafted. Here’s what we’ve done.

Number Rocket Counting Craft 


Easy as can be and fun, this paper and stickers counting craft was simply intended to kill some time without whipping out the paint. Essentially, I numbered the squares and he stuck the corresponding amount of stickers to the squares. Once that was completed, I taped them to the wall (with the fire at the bottom). He loved the completed rocket. I learned that he truly has no number recognition ability yet and wasted his nap falling into the abyss of Google. All in all, a lovely and simple counting craff.

Materials: 

  • Construction paper in a variety of colors
  • Dot stickers
  • A marker
  • Tape

Directions: 

  • To prep: cut 9 squares and number. Cut a slightly larger triangle to form the top and serve as number 10. Cut out the blast off explosion at the bottom.
  • Give your little one some dot stickers and ask him to identify the number on the square and put the appropriate number of stickers on. Mateo did fabulously at putting the right number of stickers on. Identifying the number still needs work.
  • Tape the wall in ascending order.

Painting with Shaving Cream 


Less of a work of art and more of a sensory experience, this activity’s main purpose was to entertain my little one while giving him the chance to get real dirty (which he loves). I honestly expected a huge mess and was pleasantly surprised by how contained this was. Mateo had never encountered shaving cream before and is rarely allowed to stick his hands in a bucket of foam and let loose so he could hardly contain his excitement. Best of all? It literally couldn’t be easier. Simply fill a bucket with shaving cream (the kind that foams), pour a little paint on top in a fun shape and let your kid go to town. Once the paint has been swirled around in the shaving cream, lay a piece of card stock paper on top of the foam, press slightly and remove. Scrape the foam off and let dry. The result? A lovely abstract painting. I’ll be honest, the joy of this craft is in the process, rather than the end result.

Materials: 

  • 3 cups of foam shaving cream
  • Paint
  • A bucket
  • A piece of white card stock paper

Directions: 

  • Fill the bucket with shaving cream (I used a roasting pan for lack of a large enough bucket). Create a cute shape on top of the foam with paint.
  • Set in front of your little one and demonstrate how they can use their hands and a paint brush to mix the paint and the foam to make fun swirls.
  • Sit back and watch the fun ensue. Mateo literally spent 10 minutes simply dipping his finger in the shaving foam, pulling it out and staring at it with complete fascination. After that, he promptly let loose.
  • Once your little one is done, place a piece of card stock paper on top of the foam and press gently. Remove and scrape the shaving cream from the paper. Let dry.

Hungry Caterpillar Name Craft 

Funny story: I promised we would make this craft yesterday. “Tomorrow we will make a caterpillar.” The result of this promise? Hysteria from his crib at midnight and him sobbing “I want to make a caterpillar.” Adorable unless you’re the one spending hours getting him back to sleep.

Beyond that, this craft was a huge hit. He loved the clasps used to make the pieces of the body mobile and couldn’t get enough of the finished product. Fairly simple to make, this one gets my vote for sure!

Materials: 

  • Paper plates – 5 small ones (depending on the length of your child’s name) and 1 larger plate. Cut the inside circles out.
  • Paint (red and green)
  • Brads (the clasps used to make the caterpillar mobile)
  • Glue
  • Construction paper for the eyes and antennae
  • A hole puncher
  • A sharpie

Directions: 

  • To prep: cut the inside circles from all the plates. Cut out the eyes and antennae from construction paper. Set aside 5 brads.
  • Give your little one the paper plate circles to paint. The head should be red and the body circles should be green.
  • Let dry.
  • Once dry, ask your little guy to glue the eyes and antennae on.
  • Then show them how the brads work. This was mind blowing to Mateo. He was super impressed. Use a hole puncher to create holes in each of the plates and then use the brads to connect the body parts.
  • Use the sharpie to label each body part with a letter of their name.
  • Hang and enjoy.

And, for your enjoyment, here’s what the end of potty training day 3 looked like here. Ain’t for sissies.


Earth Day Recycled Milk Jug Tree 


Happy Earth Day, y’all! 

Obviously, I wanted to craft with the little one to celebrate and open a dialogue about loving the planet we rely on. Pinterest, however, was failing me this time. All of the crafts I saw were slightly beyond him- or would be nothing more than him painting something I labeled “earth” blue and green without any understand of the concept. While some were cute, I really appreciate crafts that allow us to start dialogues about new concepts. Taking my quest to the library, I found a slew of books that were also above his comprehension level. No dice, there either. So I changed my tactic. 

Rather than searching for a craft that would allow me to explain the concept of earth and planets to my two year old, I opted for this adorable plastic bag holder and focused on the idea saving plastic bags instead of throwing them out because it makes the outside messy and our animal friends sick. Bingo! Success! 

This plastic holder was a huge hit! He loved his tree and has spent a ton of time stuffing plastic bags in and pulling them out. Later that night, in the bath, he poured water out of the tub and told me “Teo ‘cycling, mama” when I asked what he was doing. So… minimally the concept of recycling – or the idea that such a word exists – stuck. I’m calling that a win. 


A couple notes: 

  • This is a two part craft. We painted. Then napped (so the tree could grow). Then assembled the tree once it was dry.
  • We painted the tree limbs brown. This is only because I didn’t have brown cardstock paper and didn’t think construction paper would hold up well. 
  • I cut the mouth out of the milk jug after it was painted to avoid him getting distracted and painting the inside of the jug or stopping to our random items in the mouth. 
  • I hot glued all the parts after the craft was complete to ensure they stuck around. Elmers glue didn’t really cut it with plastic and pipe cleaners. 

Materials: 

  • Empty milk or water jug- gallon size
  • Paint- green and brown (if you paint the tree limbs) 
  • Pipe cleaners 
  • Green construction paper 
  • Googly eyes (you could also make eyes out of paper or draw them on with a sharpie) 
  • A Pom Pom for the nose 
  • Glue
  • Scissor

Directions: 

  • To prep: rinse out an old milk or water jug, cut tree limbs out of either brown construction paper or white card stock paper, cut 4 leaves out of green construction paper and cut 2 green pipe cleaners in half to make 4 shorter ones. 
  • Set out green paint and let your little one paint the jug (tree) green. Let dry. 
  • Once dry, use a sharpie to draw a mouth and cut to create an open mouth. Have your little one attach the limbs with glue. They can use elmers glue to begin with. I would advise attaching with hot glue afterwards- as the Elmer’s doesn’t stick too well. 
  • Let them attach eyes and a nose. Add the pipe cleaners to the top of the bottle to create branches and add leaves. 
  • Let your little one fill the jug with plastic bags. 
  • Done!