Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Play Doh: Uniting Mortal Enemies Since 1956

Dryden had a play date yesterday. My niece Olivia is five days older than him and was in dire need of a babysitter. My mother, who usually watches her, dropped her off on her way to Ottawa to visit my brother in the hospital. I got Noëlle prepped and ready for school, got Raegan up - fed and changed her- and dressed Dryden and Olivia for the day. Toys were out, ready to be fought over, a cartoon was on, ready to be watched periodically, brownies were cut, ready to be used as bribes, and a bottle of Pepsi was chilling in the fridge, ready for my potential meltdown.

Everything went well for the first 15 minutes until D & O realized that my mom was gone. Dryden was crying, saying, "Nanny no stay and play?!" And Olivia was crying, saying, "her just left me!?" Ummm, first round of brownies.

The next 30 minutes went smoothly, until Olivia's stuffed monkey tragically lost his arm in an epic game of "Swing The Monkey." I couldn't for the life of me find my sewing stuff and had to admit helplessness. Olivia was crying, saying, "if you was Nanny you could fix him" and Dryden was crying, saying, "hers monkey is dead!" Jesus, round two of brownies. I told Livy that Nanny would fix him tomorrow and put him on the counter next to the bananas. "There," I said, "he said that he's happy. What's your monkey's name Honey?" She looked at me square in the face and said, "him's name, Auntie Ray-Ray, is Monkey and hims can't talk." Her tone of voice and body language clearly said that I was an idiot for even asking. Dryden frowned and shook his head at me, confirming that my question was tactless. I shoved another brownie into my big mouth.

Saku was no help all day either; he was so excited to have another toddler to play with that he caused more trouble than they did. He stole Livy's cup of milk, he ate Dryden's neat pile of crackers, and sneezed on the baby- severely pissing her off. I kept hearing "Kuku sniffed me!", "Kuku licked me!", "Kuku farted!", "STOP IT KUKU!" Round three of brownies to keep the peace. I called the dog into the kitchen and had a heart to heart with him over a shared brownie...I should have baked a double batch.

Minutes late D & O were locked in a death grip over a toy. I knew by the look on their faces that violence would erupt soon so I used the ace up my sleeve: Play Doh. Thankfully we have an extensive cache of Play Doh and no sharing was necessary; each kid got one blob of each color, they each got one Fun Factory set, one knife, set of stamps, rolling pin, scissors, and one Play Doh bomb making set (patent pending.) The next 90 minutes were divine- they played nice, the baby was cute, and I locked the dog outside. Noëlley's van arrived and she was already snoring softly in her seat, and stayed asleep as I tucked her into bed. When I came downstairs, Raegan was zonked out, snoring in her swing. I ushered D & O into the living room and served lunch in there.

Nap time: hissy fits were thrown and I backed off. Instead, I pulled out the futon, lined it with thick blankets and pillows, closed all the blinds and lights, and put on a movie. The deal was that they didn't have to nap, but they had to sit quiet while I ate and tidied up. They snuggled in on either end of the couch and the dog plopped on the floor in front of them. Five minutes later I could hear a symphony of snores from all of them.

The day went really well; we didn't run out of brownies, no major fights, numerous Play Doh sculptures are air drying on our windowsill, and yes, I drank my Pepsi in blissful silence while everyone napped and re-energized.

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