Last week we converted Max’s crib to a toddler bed. Unlike Lilly, who continued to sit in her bed and call to us for months post-conversion, Max understood immediately what freedom meant.
The adjustment has been a challenge. We’ve been going through a lot of wine this week. Bed time takes extra time and patience and naps have been spotty. Some days he goes right down. Others he hops out of bed and stands at the gate to his room until we let him out. Today was one of those days.
On days like this where we’re staring down a seemingly endless afternoon, sensory bins have long been one of my go-to activities. I keep a couple of empty plastic bins around just for this purpose. Plastic bins should be at the top of every new parents’ list of must-have gear. Right next to strollers, diaper genies and corkscrews.
My kids, like most, love anything you can run your hands through. Sand, water, rice, beans, shaving cream, even paper shreds. It’s a little too cool outside for water and our sandbox is a bit soggy, but it’s a fine afternoon to sit in the yard with a bin full of stale rice and beans and all the other random quarter cups of grain I found in the pantry.
In addition to the beans and rice I added a variety of plastic containers, measuring cups, a funnel (kids love funnels) and a sifter. We laid the bin on a tablecloth to contain the mess (though I fully expect to see a few kidney beans sprout up in our yard). Eventually Max added a few construction vehicles to the mix.
They remained quietly entertained without bickering for well over an hour (miraculous!). Long enough for me to ingest some caffeine and formulate a plan for the rest of the day.
With Lilly heading to all-day kindergarten in the fall, our long, lazy afternoon days are numbered. In my heart I know I’ll miss them when they’re gone. For now I’m thankful for stale rice and plastic bins.