Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Last Hour of the Day

The winter weather has arrived in Northwest Arkansas and it has added a dilemma to my day. The mornings are great for Shepherd! He is in a really good mood and we try to do something fun every morning. Currently, Shepherd takes one afternoon nap a day from 12:30p-4:00p, YES, he is a great sleeper. But the last hour of our day, is the most difficult hour. From 4:00pm-5:00p, Shepherd is ready to go and is quite the terror. When the weather was nice, we would go outside and enjoy playing with the neighborhood kids. But as the cold weather has moved in, I am constantly looking for activities to fill this last hour.

We tried playing with shaving cream. As you can see, he started off happy!

Shepherd is now not as excited about this project.

Now he is unhappy, this was the last picture I got before he started screaming because he did not want the messy shaving cream on himself. (Activity=FAIL)

We then tried coloring with markers and stickers. As you can see, the fun was short lived. (Activity=FAIL)

I then let him play with some orange stickers that were left over from our garage sale. He had a blast and put them all over the house. Then the time came for me to take the stickers out of his hair. I am sure you can imagine how that went! (Activity=FAIL)
We then attempted to go to the library for the last hour of the day. One afternoon, the library was showing a movie and serving popcorn to the kids. Shepherd loved watching the movie and eating the popcorn. I also let him pick out some movies and books to take home. I was so proud of myself, I successfully found an activity that filled our last hour of the day with a happy, positive experience. Then things turned for the worse.
When I was checking out at the library, Shepherd saw the DVD's that he picked out. He had a total meltdown. He wanted to hold the movies, and not just hold the movies, he wanted to get out the shiny DVD's. Even though the library DVD's are thoroughly scratched, I could not allow my child to add more scratches in front of the nice, but firm, Librarian. I had to carry a screaming child out of the library and he cried the entire way home. When we got home, he decided continue his meltdown and throw himself down on the concrete entryway outside our house. By this point, it was about 5:15pm and I understood that the child was starving, but I felt like such a failure. Our fun afternoon adventure turned into a nightmare. (Activity=FAIL)
When I walked in our home, I just dropped the bag of movies on the ground and walked away. I was too tired to keep fighting.

Here is a picture of "post-tantrum" Shepherd enjoying his Library goodies

On the more positive note, I have recently discovered that Shepherd adores crayons and playdough. Both have been excellent activities for the dreaded hour of our day. Shepherd is quite the artist and can spend over an hour sitting in his high chair coloring pictures of Bob & Larry or playing with his playdough. Sometimes I feel guilty for letting him sit in one spot for so long, but I continue to ask him if he wants to get down, and he shakes his head no. He does not slow down very often, so I guess a little art time is okay.
It takes time to figure out what makes your child happy. They grow and change so quickly, I am sure his preferences will be totally different next month. Motherhood is a continual learning curve and I know that Shepherd teaches me just as many lessons as I teach him. I am lucky to be his mommy!

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