Pinterest can be much the same way. Of course, I’m one of Pinterest’s 100 million active users (85% women), but I alternate between complete infatuation with the big P and total boycott. If I allow myself to get sucked in, I can sit for hours scrolling through gorgeous images of food and fashion on my phone, pinning my life away, achieving absolutely nothing.
Pinterest Mom is incredible, no doubt, but we can’t all be her. Either she has a lot of free time on her hands or she limits herself to three hours of sleep each night, but Pinterest Mom pushes herself to the very limits of perfection. Not all of us want to live that way.
Our daughter, J., is turning two this month. TWO! I can’t believe it. Since I’m about 40% Pinterest Mom and 60% Practical Mom, I am not planning a big bash to mark this momentous occasion. Instead, I’m working on some fun ideas for things my husband and I can do with J. to give her a special day.
Let’s be real. A one or two-year-old does not give a flying fork full of mashed potatoes about a themed and perfectly executed soiree. They don’t need a bouncy house, a magician, a petting zoo, real Disney princesses and gourmet catering for the entire neighborhood.
All they want is an empty box to climb into and some wrapping paper to shred into oblivion. Who are we to deny them these simple joys?
- Let them do whatever you normally shy away from allowing because it is too messy or too inconvenient for you. Examples: painting, making cookies from scratch, removing every single pair of underwear from your drawer and wearing it on their head, having an extended and extra loud dance party, making a Lego tower using thousands of Legos, giving the dog a bath and blow-dry.
- Take them to a kiddie paradise. Whatever they most enjoy—usually the opportunity to run around and climb on things will do just fine. Play gyms, splash pads, water parks, playgrounds, the nearest YMCA pool, your neighbor’s back yard, trampoline gyms, etc. Our daughter loves the train and the photo booth at our local mall, so we’ll probably be hitting those up. There is always Chuck E. Cheese’s, if you’re a masochist.
- Visit a children’s museum or aquarium. J. is super into two fish in particular: Nemo and Dory, and she loves to find them at our local Scheels store, which boasts a massive three-arch salt water fish tank, in addition to its indoor Ferris wheel, play area and Nascar simulators. If you don’t have a Scheels nearby, you probably have a legit aquarium or at least a sympathetic dentist’s office. Most major cities have some form of children’s museum or science museum, which are typically hands-on and fun for all ages. Check TripAdvisor for ideas.
- Go somewhere they can unapologetically consume sugar. Ice cream, cake, cookies, whatever their deal is—let them enjoy it to the fullest. Ideally this will be followed immediately by an energy-draining activity and a nap.
- Help them spend time with their favorite people. Usually that’s you (the parents), as well as grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and perhaps a friend or two. It doesn’t all have to be on the same day and it doesn’t even have to be in person. Skype and FaceTime are great for long distance loved ones.
Most of all, enjoy the festivities and savor these moments!