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Sweetie, Mommy's incapicitated today.
October 27, 2010 3:50 AM   Subscribe

I threw out my back pretty badly. My ability to move is limited to a low shuffle. I am also home with my two year old. What can I do with him today?

The famed Toddler Zizzle is 22 months old and his activity level is through the roof. I can't (and shouldn't) even pick him up today, which means a lot of what we normally do is out of the question.

Unfortunately, my husband had to go to work today (and our daycare is a) not opened in time for his schedule and b) not at all in the same direction). My dad usually comes our way on Wednesdays for his job and my mom sometimes goes with him, but today he is not and so he cannot drop my mom off on my doorstep.

So, since it will just be me with a toddler who loves and lives for outside, the park, running around, and all sorts of physical activity --- how do I keep him entertained today?
posted by zizzle to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (28 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is it safe for you to be alone with him if you can't pick it up? Have a hire car sent out to pick up your mother if not.
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:54 AM on October 27, 2010


S/it/him.
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:54 AM on October 27, 2010


Do you have any new cartoons that he hasn't seen yet? Let the tv do the heavy lifting for a while.
posted by crankylex at 4:04 AM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


By the Grace of God, I would, but she lives two hours away. My dad's a regional salesman, so he travels for his job, and it just so happens that once a week it brings him two miles away from us. Alas, not today!
posted by zizzle at 4:06 AM on October 27, 2010


I wouldn't even risk trying it - can you take a cab to and from daycare?
posted by soma lkzx at 4:20 AM on October 27, 2010


Soma, I would have, but daycare is near where I work, not where I live. I take a combination of trains and buses to get to daycare. It's about an hour to get there from where I live.
posted by zizzle at 4:32 AM on October 27, 2010


If you don't have any, here's a Home-made Playdough recipe- should be able to buy you at least 20 minutes.
posted by jenkinsEar at 4:34 AM on October 27, 2010


Books? Music? Trains? Trucks? Dolls?

I would bring all of those things outside. With a blanket. It's October. Make that a dozen blankets.

And maybe make a competition of going slow. 'hey honey, you know how we're sometimes racing to see who goes fastest? Today! Let's see who can go slowest!'

Movies. All day. A movie with popcorn. A movie with ice cream. Etc.

Could he help you write a story? Or tell you what to write a story about (if this is no good for a 22 month old, I apologize)
posted by bilabial at 4:50 AM on October 27, 2010


You can buy yourself at least 20 minutes by giving him a roll of Scotch tape to play with. A box of tissues might do the trick too.

My son was heavily into gadgets at that age. Let him play with something he's never usually allowed to play with, like your iPhone or iPod. Let him push the automatic garage door opener/closer button for a while. Find an online game or activity that will keep him occupied on the computer.

Can he get in and out of the tub himself? If he likes baths, fill it with bubbles and toys and let him play for as long as he wants.

In a baking pan or other large dish, mix water and cornstarch until it's a little thinner than glue. Then let him sink his toy animals and cars in it and watch them disappear and reappear. It looks like it makes a big mess, but it cleans up in seconds with water.

GOOD LUCK!
posted by wisekaren at 5:07 AM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cotton ball painting with watercolors, ripping up lots of paper (obstensibly to make collages but we never get that far), during his nap 'hide' objects for him to find (in plain sight of course), tape two plastic cups together with dry beans or rice inside and make music - let him dance and shake his music maker to loud music while you shake it on the couch. That's what I've got for now. Good luck.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:10 AM on October 27, 2010


Also: do you have any access to neighbors or friends? You'd owe an enormous favor, but if you could get someone to come over for even an hour it would be a big help.

See also: do you have a babysitter? You don't have to be out of the house to hire one, and for two hours of napping with a wrenched back of might be well worth it.
posted by bilabial at 5:30 AM on October 27, 2010


In similar circumstances, I invented the game "Covers," which basically involves lying on the bed, then pulling the covers up over the both of your heads while the younger one of you yells, "Covers!!!", then staying under the covers as long as possible until the younger one of you panics and yells "No covers!!!" Repeat until weary.

Also invented during this time:

1) No-Water-Bath, which involves playing with toys in the bathtub without any water (the bonus for the incapacitated adult is no slippery toddler to have to pick up afterwards, plus you can lie on the cool floor of the bathroom and say things like "uh-huh, that's great!" or "wow!" at regular intervals to make it seem like you are totally participating)

2) Tiny Swimming Pools, which involves allowing your toddler to play with every shape and size of tupperware, filled halfway full with water, on your (non-wood-based) kitchen floor (bonus: clean floor afterwards)

3) Surprise Toys, invented by my son, which involves you lying down on some comfortable surface and announcing loudly, "Boy, I *really* hope that nobody comes over here and puts their toys on me while I'm taking this nap! That would be *quite* a surprise!" and then pretending to fall asleep while your toddler places small toys all over your body. Then, after a blessed five minutes or so of shut-eye, you "wake up," realize that there are small toys balanced all over you, and say, "What just happened! Oh no! TOYS!!!!" Bonus hilarity if in your panic you dislodge many of the toys from their positions. Repeat until you can't take it anymore.

4) Dance Party, with your part limited to being the DJ. Play music and let him dance. (This can also morph into Freeze Dance Party, where the dancer has to freeze if the music suddenly stops, or Naked Dance Party, which in our house always seemed to happen after bath time.)

5) "Film Festival" -- in other words, DVDs, videos, children's television. I know, I know, but it's just for one day.

I hope some of this helps, and I really hope you feel better! I know it's ridiculous to say this, because when I was dealing with back issues and two small children and no help I mostly just wanted to die (in the hyperdramatic sense), but just thinking about those games made me a teeny bit nostalgic for that time in my life when the kids were so little. Now that they are old enough to text and roll their eyes at me and inform me that I am "way too old" to use the word "dude" in casual conversation, I almost miss those long lonely days when I thought those games would never end.* I hope your back is better soon!

(* Actually, the younger one still does No-Water-Bath.)
posted by mothershock at 5:38 AM on October 27, 2010 [21 favorites]


The woman whose 26 month-old I nanny for also threw out her back recently, and when I absolutely had to leave the two of them alone (this was obviously not an ideal situation, but it was unavoidable) I set them up with the following:

-TV/videos (this is a rare treat in the household)
-Brand new books she hadn't seen before
-Puppet-making materials (socks, googly eyes, markers, felt, string)
-baking supplies for making bread (letting a toddler sift flour, break eggs, and stir goo is surprisingly fun and low-stress if you don't mind messes)
-CDs of her favorite kids music (toddler danced while mom sat)
-Instruments/music making devices
-Puzzles
-Making pizza

It also struck me as scary-unsafe that an incapacitated mother would be stuck with an emotional, clingy toddler who'd prefer to be carried all day if possible, especially because what IF some injury happened? But apparently after Mom explained that her back hurt and she couldn't pick her daughter up, the kid adjusted fine.
posted by zoomorphic at 5:42 AM on October 27, 2010


Magic. A blanky, cloth diaper or washcloth, plus some small toys (e.g., playmobil people), plus toddler prone to misdirection = "Look, sweetie, the knight changed into the king!" This worked for about 20 minutes yesterday, after which my 2-year-old ran around the house on her own making magic.

Typing. My 2-year-old is fascinated by working like I do (well, both kids, which inevitably leads to fights), and will poke buttons on the laptop or typewriter for astonishingly long periods of time (thanks, Notepad!).

Food. It takes a really, really long time for a 2-year-old to eat an apple.

Good luck!
posted by mittens at 6:40 AM on October 27, 2010


There're some good links in Looking to entertain a toddler without getting up (which is admittedly focused on computer stuff)
posted by kmennie at 6:48 AM on October 27, 2010


Play doctor - you are the patient and have to lie quietly on the couch while the doctor takes your temperature and bandages your ankles, etc. And you are so ill that you need to rest a lot, so the doctor will have to have some paperwork to do or a doctor-related cartoon to watch and he must stay very quiet while the patient naps. If your kitchen is set up correctly, the doctor can bring you juice boxes and crackers to soothe your poor tummy.

Another game we invented: You are the Mountain. Give the toddler small cars and some road-building materials (blocks, strips of cloth or paper) and have them build a city. You are lying on the floor (or sitting, or on the couch or whatever) and they build roads over your legs or arms.
posted by CathyG at 6:51 AM on October 27, 2010


Oh, and for the typing bit - change the font to Wingdings and make it really huge. He will type rows and rows of shapes and love it. Then change it to a weird font, like the one that looks like monsters are eating the letters or hey - there are fonts where each key prints a different dinosaur. I'm not even a toddler and I would love to play with that for an hour.
posted by CathyG at 6:56 AM on October 27, 2010


Thanks, everyone. It's already after 10 and so far we're holding our own. Homemade playdough + blocks = playdough block cake!

We'll do baths later, and of course, the t.v has been on all morning. *sigh*

Keep the suggestions coming, though. I have to make it to about 3.
posted by zizzle at 7:14 AM on October 27, 2010


Jacksonpollock.org is a painting app. My 26 month old can manage it with the track pad.

If he isn't too bad about putting small things in his mouth/nose/ears/wherever, cooking with pots and spoons and cups and all the dried beans and rice in the house would be pretty awesome. Macaroni necklaces. If he can do it, it'll take FOREVER.

This happened to me once and we sort of had a camp out on the sofa and ate chips all evening until Daddy got home. We made it! Push a kitchen chair around with you so you have something to lean on like a walker. (Mine have pads on the bottom - depending on your floors you might want to see if you can get a towel under the legs.)
posted by artychoke at 7:42 AM on October 27, 2010


Don't forget www.YouTube.com, the world's greatest repository for fun children's songs. Start with "The Elephant Song" (my favorite) or "Little teapot" (my kid's favorite) & have fun reviewing all the nursery songs you ever forgot!
posted by Ys at 7:43 AM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do you have shaving foam in your house? Foam, like men use not gel? Put it in mounds on your kitchen table and let your kid mush it around with his hands and then draw designs in it like finger painting. It wipes up with water and washes out of clothes with just water. Clean table too!
posted by WeekendJen at 7:52 AM on October 27, 2010


Youtube videos of trains and trucks honking. Seriously, this is how I get through some tough toddler afternoons.
posted by kpht at 8:17 AM on October 27, 2010


Kpht, any chance you and mini-you are around this afternoon? :)
posted by zizzle at 8:48 AM on October 27, 2010


Also, videos of babies laughing on Flickr. I filmed my kids watching those, it was so much fun.
posted by Dragonness at 8:55 AM on October 27, 2010


Sorry! If I was, I would totally have gone over. But right now I'm at school studying for my class that starts in 15 minutes - and I'm here until 3:15.
posted by kpht at 9:01 AM on October 27, 2010


Youtube videos of fire trucks and garbage trucks. This one of fire trucks backing up is my son's favorite thing ever. It also has a "baby fire truck."
posted by peep at 9:05 AM on October 27, 2010


Thanks for the would-have offer, anyway, kpht.

And thanks for all the continued suggestions. These are all great.
posted by zizzle at 9:06 AM on October 27, 2010


Noodle box! If you have elbow noodles or similar (without sharp points/edges), pour them into a tub or big bowl and get out scoops, toy trucks that can pick up and drop off loads, etc. Messier alternative = rice box. Either way you get to lie on the floor next to it.
posted by lakeroon at 10:54 AM on October 27, 2010


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