I’m pretty sure my son has an in-built radar that goes off in his head like some sort of air raid siren whenever something arises that needs my urgent attention. Whether it’s work or a domestic catastrophe or something else, I’m sure you know the feeling. I could be cleaning the kitchen and he’ll be totally engrossed with his Lego. I could be folding the washing or cooking dinner and he doesn’t bat an eyelid, but the instant I sit down at my computer to quickly sort out an urgent business request, he drops everything, runs to me and absolutely must sit on my knee and pound away on the keyboard. As you can imagine, this doesn’t make for very productive work time. Usually, I try not to rely on non-daycare days to get things done, but on the odd occasion, something pops up that just can’t wait for the next day, or even that evening, and guaranteed it’s always that one time (thanks Mr Murphy) that no amount of bribery with cartoons or food, colouring-in or even the tempting joys of messy craft activities can entice my little boy away from the wonders of my computer screen.
On these occasions in the past, something that would usually take me 10-15 minutes to complete, was ending up taking an hour or more. It was a waste of my work time, a waste of time I could’ve been actively engaged with my son; and we’d both come out the other side of it rather grumpy and frustrated with each other.
So after asking some friends what they do when they have things pop up that just need to be done then and there, I went to The Reject Shop, and for $15, created a toy box filled with attention grabbing goodies that are all new and shiny and a bit different to the things my son finds in his regular toy box every day. There’s coloured icy pole sticks, little tubs of play-doh, crepe paper streamers, balls with different patterns on them, a slinky type thing, pencils, a few new books, some of those jelly-like hands that stick to things when you throw them and a big box of chalk.
This toy box lives way up high in a cupboard in my son’s bedroom and only comes down if there’s something I absolutely must do and I need 15 to 30 minutes to whip through it without being interrupted.
As a bonus, the actual toy box itself (which was given to us by a friend), is also a padded seat, and because my son doesn’t see the box often, and he knows it’s filled with treats, he takes great delight in putting the lid on, sitting on it, getting up, taking the lid back off and selecting something new to play with.
He even knows now when I’m going to get it because I have to get a chair to stand on so I can pull it down from the top of the cupboard, and as I’m walking along the hallway with the chair, he’ll run along behind me clapping his hands yelling ‘Yaaaaay’.
So there you go… a sneaky half an hour for me and my son gets an exciting experience rather than feeling like I don’t have time for him. Thank you Super Amazeballs Toy Box.
About the author
Naomi is the editor of Lift e-Magazine and single mum to 19 month old Jim. For the last 12 months she’s documented her journey of single motherhood in her award winning daily blog ‘365 Days, a Diary of a Newly Single Mum’. When she’s not experimenting with new cookie recipes or planning her next trekking, climbing or snowboarding adventure, you can find her at her desk in the picturesque city of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, weaving together solo mum stories… whether it be handy tips, triumphs, tragedies, exotic tales of travel or other tidbits to publish here. And before you ask, no, she doesn’t mind the freezing cold Tasmanian winters and yes, she had her second head removed years ago in an unfortunate accident involving a curtain rod and a drunk moose (and no, she’s not interested in hearing from anyone who doesn’t believe that drunk mooses exist in Tasmania… or those who may suppose that ‘mooses’ is not really a word).