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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Messy play? Not today

Messy play? Not today - why I am not a pinterest mum

I freely admit that I have a few issues when it comes to toddler mess.

I'm really more of a reading-a-book or a singing-a-song (or a 'go entertain each other, that's why we made two of you for God's sake') mum than an arts-and-crafts mum. Stickers stuck in the wrong place in the book makes me nervous (is it bad to peel them off and re-do them when she's asleep? Actually, I don't care) and I can barely handle the havoc wreaked by mixing play doh.

It stands to reason then, that messy play is something that makes me shudder to my very core.

Apparently everyone (and their toddler) is doing it. It seems I can't go to a play group without the toddler being presented with shaving foam and cooked pasta (and sometimes, for a extra treat, a bit of glitter) to delve her sticky little hands into... It's great for development, according to people who know about these things. Something about causing your parents a breakdown by grinding sticky substances into the carpet will mean that you are destined to excel later in life. Maybe.

If this doesn't make you shudder, you aren't normal

Obviously, being the medal-winning parent that I am, I do want to encourage my children to be creative; to stimulate their senses...

But actively encouraging the kids to ruin my soft furnishings by conducting an activity with 'messy' right there in the damn title seems like a poor parenting choice indeed.

I received this email from a friend which I think makes my point. She thought it might be useful blog material; one of her better judgements that day. Those of a nervous disposition may wish to look away.
"Let's play with some dry rice and pasta", I said.

"It'll be fun for him to pour between his tea set cups and bowls", I said.

"I don't mind hoovering afterwards, it won't spread that far", I said.

WHAT THE F&!@ WAS I THINKING?!?!?! He is picking up handful after handful and throwing it over the wooden floor because it bounces and scatters. It is literally everywhere. He played with it nicely for 30 seconds. WHAT DID I EXPECT TO HAPPEN HERE?!?!

I am categorising this one under "Terrible ideas you've had when you should know better but momentarily forget your toddler is not a Pinterest kind of a kid" 

Next time I have such a stroke of genius, I'll look at these photos and put on Mr Tumble instead.

This is where this blog should really end.

With a warning not to be as silly as my poor, foolish friend. But, sadly, it does not.

This looks like it could be fun, thought I, and even better, I will dye the rice with food colouring (I must have been having a moment). My toddler is slightly older, and sensible - not the rice throwing type. Plus I have a Tuff Tray and so it can't possibly go wrong. All the rice would be neatly contained within and not spread around the house like my poor friend; what a noob.

Easy peasy! Dried rice and a little bit of food colouring. Shake, allow to dry and ta-da! Scoop and play to your heart's content! Hours of safe, clean fun.

These are the delightful 'before' photos. I was sure they were destined for a lovely smug 'how to' blog (one day I'll get there). She definitely looked excited.

Who the hell was I kidding?

Here is a photo I took when I first realised that things weren't going entirely to plan, but the rice situation was still under control.

There are no decent 'after' photos, as I was too busy trying to hoover the rice up before the not-quite-dried colouring seeped into the flooring whilst also stopping the toddler and the dog from eating too much dirty, dyed uncooked rice.

The entire outfit was relegated to the 'painting' pile and she needed a good long soaking to get the colour off her body. There are bits of her hair which still look a little bit blue. I'm expecting a few judgy stares from people who think I've let a two year old actually dye her hair.

Thank god the weather is getting warmer and they can do this shit in the garden.

Supermum, over and out.

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  1. I remember at Christmas I decided to do lovely Pinterest inspired footprint cards for my family. I thought I was clever doing a snowman and therefore using white paint, the least of all the "staining" type colours, and I even put down some newspaper and plastic to lay the cards out. Little did I expect just how tickly Mini would find the paint(...of course on her most ticklish spot, I should have known better) and that her flinging her feet would splatter white paint all up my grey walls..white of course being one of the hardest colours to cover..!

    Lucy xx


    1. Paint is scary. I have some and I'm too scared to let her use it so it's still sealed...

  2. Hahaha I love this post.
    Messy play, even if you try everything to prevent too much mess, you know it just won't work.
    Also, rice is the messiest thing in the whole world!!!
    When I give my little ones rice for dinner, i'm honestly still hoovering up a week later!
    Sarah xxx

  3. Oh you are a woman after my own heart...so is your friend with her Pinterest comment. Thank God it wasn't around when my kids were little. I left messy play to other mums - couldn't stand it in my house and just went la la la with my hands pressed tightly over my ears when in laws and other mums said I should be doing it. Every fibre in my body screamed: NO! I love your photos too - brilliant! Alison x #KCACOLS

    1. Thanks Alison. That's what pre-school is for I'm sure.

  4. Ha - this made me howl! What WERE you thinking!? The photo's are hilarious on both accounts! I'd stick to the singing if I were you ;) #KCACOLS

  5. I do like it but only at stay and plays or someone elses house!! #KCACOLS

  6. Eek I hate messy play and am always hovering trying to clean up as I go.Wish I could just let it happen and sort it afterwards! x #kcacols

  7. I have always hated messy play, you would think we would all pick up on the clue in the title lol.

  8. Haha, yes, the word 'messy' in messy play sends shudders through me too. I'm the kind of Mum who's husband stares in bewilderment as I reorganize the toy basket after persuading the kid to tidy away because 'it isn't tidy enough'

  9. Sticker books and Play Doh make me nervous too! Ha ha! I did a lot of Messy Play with Mini R when he was a baby but now it's too messy for me. Luckily we have a lovely place that does messy play called Crafty Kids so the messy stays there, not in my house! #KCACOLS

  10. Hehe! I laughed out loud at this! I LOVE your writing - it's fantastic! And you have made me feel SO much better about the messy play thing. I thought I was the only 'terrible' Mum in the world who couldn't past her OCD no matter how much she loves her child. I literally start breaking out in a sweat at the thought of it!!! Definitely roll on the better weather so all mess can stay outside! #KCACOLS

    1. Thank you. You are most definitely not the only one!

  11. Haha I love this! I don't "do" messy play. If we find puddles she can jump in them, if we find mud she can play with it. We go to the beach, she can crayon, very occasionally I'll allow her to paint, but rice and food colouring? I'm shuddering at the thought! Great post #KCACOLS

  12. Oh my goodness, totally know what you mean! My son is a thrower as well, and I could totally see him flinging paint or play dough or rice around the house. We, too, stay away from things with 'messy' in their name, haha! #kcacols

  13. Haha, I really laughed at this, those photos are brilliant! I actually did some messy/sensory play with my 2 year old yesterday, she has a big tub of oats that she plays with. To be fair it did get spread all over the kitchen floor, but at least oats don't bounce in quite the same way that rice does! x #KCACOLS

  14. Haha I love that toddlers are like a mini-genuis in thinking of ways to cause extra trouble, or make even more mess haha. My daughter is the same - it's like I am living in a dr pepper advert - what's the worst that could happen ... #KCACOLS

  15. hahaha Fran! This is too funny! I think I would be just like you! I'm not very good at this craft, messy play, play with your kids and all will be perfect kind of thing. That would never happen to me. Every time I try something ends in a total disaster! lol Love this post! Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. You are always amazing with the commenting, thank you so much! it was lovely to meet you last week! :-)


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