Thursday, November 22, 2012

Let's Give Thanks Part IV: Entertaining the Kids

The big day is here! 
The parade, turkey, football, and the pile of Black Friday ads on the coffee table. But if you have little ones, you know that there is little likelihood that you will be hanging on the couch watching the parade until the meal and then following it with a tryptophan-induced mini coma.
Especially if you are visiting someone else's home, one where there isn't any "kid stuff" and the space has not been toddler proofed.
The home where we will be spending this Thanksgiving dinner will contain 5 sets of aunts and uncles, 16 of my husband's first cousins, and enough of his grandmomma's fragile heirlooms to keep me on my toes for the entire day. Oh, and my kids are the only one's under the age of 16 that will be present today. 
When there was just one child in my care, I could easily follow him around the house or, weather permitting, take him outside to play on her lawn or walk him over to see her neighbor's horses. But now I am outnumbered. Not that my fella won't help, but if there is a particularly interesting play happening in whatever football game is on, I may be on my own. 
In my imagination, I spend the day with a screaming-because-she-wants-to-run-around toddler on my hip while I chase the 4 year old around begging him "Don't run in the house! Don't tackle your relatives! That's not a toy!" while the relatives look at me with either sympathy or helplessness.
So, I am taking a proactive approach to avoid all of that. I am packing Man-Cub a backpack full of quiet activities that he has never seen before. I have a few simple Thanksgiving themed craft kits from the craft store, a Christmas coloring book, and some pumpkin-pie scented play dough as well as his Leapster and a spare set of batteries. For the Girl-Child I have some toys that she hasn't seen in awhile and an arsenal of toddler friendly finger foods. I also know that I can always rely on the grandmothers, aunts  and girl cousins to want to snuggle the little one and the grandfathers, uncles, and boy cousins to take Man-Cub outside for basketball or to play catch after the meal. 
And even if there is some chasing and correcting, I will not allow myself to be stressed out, because this is Thanksgiving, and I am so thankful for my little ones. I wouldn't trade them for all the parade floats and long naps in the world!

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