It also struck me that, except for a tense thirty minute period when Charley and Wes wanted to watch Wild Kratts and James and Mary wanted to create an In A Gadda Da Vida cover in the kitchen with stainless mixing bowls and wooden spoons, our downstairs was MORE THAN ENOUGH ROOM for five people working independently (something that is not immediately apparent when everyone is screaming, running, and spilling things).
Mary likes to unwind by stripping down to her shorts and doing a little reading slash mutilating of a popup book. She had her eyes on Charley's magnatile creation in the background but I managed to quickly scoot it out of the way without destroying it, thereby preserving family harmony for another several minutes (Do you know how many times a day I think "Oh, right, I have a toddler again." A lot of times!). Moving things to the other end of the coffee table won't thwart Mary for long, though, as you will see!
I'd like to pretend that I created this cozy little nook for the kids' project supplies, coloring books, and crayons, but really I bought that mat so they would stop tracking so much freaking mud inside the house. I absolutely love it when they do this. Come to think of it, it's very similar to the
When multiple kids want to use the doormat, hierarchy dictates that James gets displaced to the dining room table. There he placidly worked on a stamp activity for many MINUTES in a row. I feel kind of bad that I didn't engage him more, because he was being really sweet with his farm animal stamps, but I was just so amazed that everyone was happy AT THE SAME TIME that I just kind of wandered from room to room trying to soak up every detail of this moment when the family was acting normal so that I could draw strength from that memory the next time someone ripped his brother's pants off in the Y parking lot (for instance).
When I returned to the living room, Mary had learned to access the top of the coffee table and was Godzilla-ing Charley's house. James tattled on her and Charley responded cheerfully from the kitchen "That's OK, I can build it again!" SO WEIRD.
So I guess that means we're moving forward with the gross motor skill development. Clear all the low tables! Nothing is safe! Batten down the hatches!