We’ve been in a bit of a rut recently, Rachel and I. Somehow the girl got hooked on Winnie the Pooh and I couldn’t think of any activities exciting enough to draw her away from the television. Suggestions of alternative activities were consistently met with a temper tantrum on Rachel’s part, so Pooh would go back on and peace would be restored.
In essence, I became her enabler. I didn’t notice we had a problem until I realized we were watching Winnie the Pooh at least 5 times a day and had begun communicating solely by quoting Winnie the Pooh.
Something had to change. To Rachel, Pooh was everything. I would mention it was time for lunch and Rachel would respond, “Honey?” She now thinks, thank you Milne and Disney, that tigers bounce and can do Tigger’s “Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!” She can also do Pooh’s “In the mood for food” dance.
Our DVD has a little scratch on it and Pooh always gets stuck at his thinking spot, which is an okay place to get stuck since it makes him seem much more thoughtful than he probably is. Whenever we get to this part Rachel almost starts crying and says, “Pooh. ‘Tuck!” She also almost cries during several “scary” parts in the movie. And whenever the ending song comes on.
She’s addicted. Something had to be done.
So we quickly enrolled her in our homegrown Pooh Addicts Anonymous program. (PAA for short.) She’s the sole member.
This morning marked our first successful intervention. As per the usual, Rachel woke up and came out of her bedroom toting her Pooh Bear. (Oh, yes, she has her own Pooh Bear. She saw him at the store and instantly fell in love. We had to buy him, if you know what I mean.) She parked herself in front of the television, pointed at it, and demanded, “Pooh!”
I tried to convince her to eat breakfast at the table first. She threw a fit. I turned Pooh on.
I told you. I’m her enabler. I’m almost as bad as she is.
Half-way through the first short, I decided that she would probably like to play with play dough, so I looked up a recipe and halved it (I remembered how much extra dough we had when we made salt dough ornaments at Christmas time).
While I was in the kitchen, Rachel wandered in. She loves to “hep” me bake and wanted a turn stirring. After I warned her that what we were making was not for eating I let her have a turn. We mixed up some beautiful dough and then went to the table to play with it.
I took off her clothes because I was going to let her mix food coloring into the dough and I prefer to keep food coloring off her clothes.
She had a great time. We played with the dough for at least two hours straight, which is an amazing amount of time for a 19 month old to do anything. She thought mixing the colors was fun, but was much better at ripping the dough apart than anything else. She couldn’t figure out how to get it to go back together again, so I spent most of my time building things for her to destroy.
We made shapes and animals, which she thought was pretty neat. Her favorite, however, was the fake fruit that I made. She recognized it right away.
“Nana!” she squealed and then, completely disregarding our previous conversation about how the dough was not edible, shoved it in her mouth.
She spat the banana out and started stroking her tongue with her hands to get the awful taste off…unfortunately, her hands were also covered in salt residue and it didn’t help at all. That was the only real bite she took; she got rather good at “fake” biting after that. We should have had her experiment fake biting with play dough before we had her fake bite her fingers. She’s so good at fake biting now—she makes a chomping noise. It’s awesome.
Rachel also liked when I showed her how to poke holes in balls of dough. She thought this was hilarious. We started out making eyes on a head, but then it turned into a big ball of dough covered in holes. “EYE!” she’d yell while gouging at the dough. One day I hope she’ll get over her eye-gouging fascination. She’s been at it since she could move…
We also played a game where we flattened out balls of dough and then used them as drum pads. She had a blast with that!
That game morphed into a color-matching game. I kept a little ball of each color and gave Rachel all four “drums,” then I’d hold up a ball of dough, call out the color, and she’d try to hit the right drum. It was like “Rockband,” baby-style.*
After we were finished with that, we began mashing the play dough with different body parts: elbows, wrists, thumbs, chins, noses, etc. Rachel is the one who thought of that game.
She spent so much time facedown in the dough while she was pushing it with her nose. I would have worried she had drowned on her play dough had she not been giggling the whole time.
Then Rachel came up with a bit of dough that she insisted was a potty. She then requested that I make a baby for her. She has this odd fascination of toilet training her dolls and toys. She loves to take things “pah-pah.” I deny that it has anything to do with the fact that I ask her 2000+ times a day if she needs to go potty. It’s probably just a normal thing kids her age go through, right? (Or it might stem from the fact that I ask her 2000+ times a day if she needs to go potty.)
So I made a baby for her to play with. I thought for sure the first thing she would do would be to pretend to make it go potty. I was wrong. The first thing she did was take a pretend bite out of it.
Maybe the baby looked a little too much like a banana. I told her that we don’t bite people, even if they look like bananas. She kissed the baby better…and then made it use the potty. And then she entered into her own world of mother-of-yellow-blue-and-green-triplets. It was quite entertaining to watch.
The pink blob was the bed, she informed me when I asked her if she wanted me to make a pink baby for her as well. She put each baby to bed by squishing the baby between her head and her hand, signing “sleep,” before putting it on the pink blob. I’m not sure what all happened after that because she was, as I mentioned, completely in her own world. I left her unattended.
There was a lot of waa-ing and shushing going on and I let her play until she started crying for real. She had managed to rip off the heads of all three babies. I’m not sure how, but she must have done it one by one. It was really upsetting her, so I told her that it was time to clean up for lunch, anyway.
She cried the whole time we were cleaning up…and only asked to watch Pooh one more time today…and when we were making dinner she made a mad dash for the refrigerator when it was open and grabbed the dough.
We may have cured the Pooh addiction, but Rachel is still a member of the PAA. The full title has been changed to Play (dough) Addicts Anonymous. A much healthier addiction, in my opinion—it helps exercise her imagination.
*I’ve actually never played Rockband, so maybe it’s not like it at all. It was kind of like Guitar Hero, though, which I assume is kind of like Rockband.