Chiara Rossetti - Fun MumHello to all!
I have been thinking about fun and lightness lately, because so many of us, parents especially, seem to forget to laugh. We get all caught up in daily life. I found my inner clown and was a bit surprised (shocked!) at my ability to be a complete and utter nutter! And what an audience kids are!!!
Patty Wipfler, Marion and Larry Cohen were my inspiration in finding my giggles again. I was reminded of the power of laughter and it's ability to connect humanity across any barriers. And the feelings of safety it gives to our littlies, which then enables then to release any pent up feelings they may have been harbouring. Finding the sweet spot can be so rewarding.
Before you read this list of games, I’d love to say something that I remember Pam Leo and Lawrence Cohen said. Something about them thinking that they didn't have it in them to be playful but that the more they played then the more it flowed.
My favorite things to do are total slapstick, toilet humour (!!!) and silly games so I will try and list them all to see if any of them 'speak' to you!
I love how it takes such little effort to connect with children. On busy days I sometimes only manage to muster three minutes of giggle-time with my two (Omri, 3, Luca, 6), but it makes such a difference. I also love games which help with the day -to-day routines like getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc.
Some simple ones I like:
Pouring water down my front (on hot days) and pretending I don't know how to drink properly;
Dipping hand in water and flicking it on them, pretending to sneeze snot all over them. Tasteful, I know!;
Getting into wrong side of car, and panic that someone has stolen the steering wheel;
Rolling over them and then out of bed(they love to see me get hurt!);
Brushing other body parts with their toothbrushes;
Holding their clothes and they Pinata them out of my hands;
Pretend to take my eyeball out to wash in my mouth (stick tongue into cheek to look like eyeball in mouth) then swallowing it by mistake. This one is good for my daughter who doesn't search for things she needs;
After they have cried because of an injury, I pretend I have magic hands. I shut my eyes, call for total silence because I am the master healer then I rub all other body parts except the one they hurt;
Whack them on the bed with pillows, "Get this sand out of my bed!";
when they ask for something I am not happy for them to have I pretend I keep mis-hearing it ("What!? You say you want old toenails with milk? Armpit hairs on toast?! - this one really gets the sweet spot around sweets!;
if we have been separated I do a check list of all their bits to see if any have been left behind-legs, eyes, cheekiness;
I don't use serious threats but I like to joke about sending them to the sausage factory if I am 'unhappy' with something they have done;
Hold them over the bed cuddling up close and smelling them, pretending you are about to eat them because they are like chocolate. They yell that they are raw meat and that they tricked you and you freak out and chuck them high up and onto the bed;
And finally, they have to get me to laugh and I sit straight faced. Great for eye contact.
I reckon that if you spend one day just dedicated to humour, you would be surprised at what comes from your depths. See how this goes. Try to introduce humour in everything you do for one day. If it raises a smile or laugh then go with it and if not them just smile at yourself and move on!
With food, I used to send mine the bill at dinner-time and chase them if they didn't pay. I would give them menus pretending they were in the world's grossest cafe. I would scream, "Don't eat those peas! They are poison frog eyeballs!!!" I eventually gave up because I wanted them to eat because they were hungry and not because I 'tricked them'! The humour eased lots of tension for us all around food issues so much that it became a non issue and now they eat an amazing and varied diet and I can cross food off my 'to worry about' list!!!
I have a quick fun game that I do lots and I wanted to share it. I pick my two up upside down (at separate times!) pretending that I have a new baby. I kiss their bottoms thinking they are their lips and freak out that my new baby has smelly lips! Or I kiss their feet and wonder aloud why my baby isn't gazing into my eyes. All connection adds up in their Love bank!!!
I like picking a book up upside down and announcing THE END then putting it away until they protest. Then reading it properly and suddenly chucking it away from me shouting that it bit me. They laugh, saying books can't bite, so I calm down and do it a few minutes later. The little frights at bedtime help to get them crying if they need to or connected with a mad mum if that is what they need!
I thought lots about laughter and healing again today so I wanted to list a few more games and funny things which the kids and I get up to - trusting that some of you may find the list helpful...here goes.
My daughter Luca swore at me today so I crept up to her, looking closely at her mouth and pretending to be amazed at the word... I asked her to repeat it and then said I would hold her tongue to see if she could still say the word. Then I pulled her lips out, top and bottom, a bit like making them into a duck's bill, and got her to say all these sentences... what a hoot. Both kids laughed so much and the word wasn't repeated all day!!
I pull their tops up and freak out at their belly-buttons saying'"Aaaggg! There's a hole! O my! I have to send you back to the factory! And a hole here too (mouth) and here (ears)." Then I look for moles and freak that they are dirty marks and that I want kids with no funny brown spots (moles and holes)...
When they are in bed waiting for me to come and help them to sleep, I come blasting in to turn on the lights and pretend it is morning. They laugh and keep explaining that it is bed-time and the moon is out and I tell them that it is definitely day time and time to get up.
I lie on my back with bent knees up to my chest and they lie on my legs facing me. They press my nose and I lower them down to me like a mechanic's hoist and 'unscrew' their 'buttons' and get them to open their bonnets and I give the car a good brushing;
Prop a chair back and play dentists. This worked well with Luca who had some dental work done;
When they are chatting and we are getting ready to do teeth I tell them that I have magic toothpaste. When I brush with it then all that kids are able to say is, "I love you, Mummy". They blurt out anything but that phrase and I pretend to get all upset!;
Pretend that the toothpaste is paint and paint their teeth. Then they look in the mirror and say their teeth are still the same colour so I freak out and swear at the tube.
Pretend their clothes are in a posh shop and I speak French and get them to try on their day's clothes and get really over the top at how fabulous they look!
Hide their clothes and they treasure hunt for them.
At random moments I creep up to them really slowly whilst looking in their eyes and pretending that they are strange creatures….. I slowly go to touch them and then freak and run away and hide behind a door.
If my youngest wants to be picked up I pretend that I am a lift and he has to press buttons but if he presses the wrong one then I lift him too high, sideways or bump him up and down. He laughs so much that he forgets that he had wanted to be picked up.
I like getting them to giggle when we are in cafes by ordering broccoli ice cream and a small gin and tonic for kids. And calling them names like Gertruda and Cecil Peregrin. Luca used to be quite shy and games like these really helped her in social situations.
When they have their fingers in their mouths (control pattern); I ask for a suck and pretend it is a yummy strawberry flavour then they say it is wee flavour...
And with nose picking, I run and get a big dinner plate, knife and fork and get all excited with anticipation that we are having boogers for lunch!
As I read it another simple game popped into my head....
I DEMAND that they tell me that they love me and, of course, they start saying everything but those words. I lie them on the bed and say, "Right! If you won't say it then I will spell it with your bodies!" And I shape the both of their bodies into the letters I need... it is really touchy feely and I love pretending that I have tied them together in a knot instead! I lie gently on them if they try and wriggle away and get pseudo-annoyed at the whole process.
I read a book called "I Love You Rituals" and remember the author saying that games that involve lots of body contact are healing and so beneficial all round.
Just looking at my kids makes me want to play fun games with them at the moment. It seems that the more I do, the more I want to do.... they also ask for them or initiate the fun themselves.
How to remember to play? Post-it notes around the house???..." FUN.. LAUGH...."!!! Fridge magnets? Write it on the kid's faces with face-paint!!! That's a good one!!!!!
Giggling cheekily to myself, Chiara