Making a Sensory Board

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Evan is obsessed with textures. For about the last month he’s gone through life with both hands extended, looking to grab, smack, and scratch on anything and everything in his path.

I pinned this idea for a DIY sensory board a while back and finally made a point to get it done. I raided my box of random craft supplies and wandered around the house looking for anything I could add that would be safe but interesting for little hands. Then I grabbed a piece of cardboard and my mini-glue fun and got to work.

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Materials I ended up using:

– shells

– wooden coin from a pub

– fake leaves and flower

– tin foil

– the top of his oatmeal container (sort of a Tyvek material)

– random assortment of textured/ patterned paper

– a photo (randomly in my craft box?)

– foil

– a water bottle cap

– crumpled piece of tissue paper

– piece of the front of my first mother’s day card (black and white, had a neat bumpy texture)

– bloodstone

– smooth rock

– foam letters

– paper embellishments (from Amy Tangerine)

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Obviously this is not anything I would let him play with unsupervised, but so far, he loves it. Sadie is a big fan, too.

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Other cool DIY ideas for sensory play:

Nature Sensory Board // Zipper Board // Sensory Play Date or Party // Rice, Noodles and Shapes

 

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Low Days

 

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I’ve come to realize it’s not so much the actual hours in the day, but the mental “always on” of motherhood that makes time seem like a speeding train.

Motherhood is like that project you have that you lose yourself in completely, only to look at the clock and realize “it’s 4pm?!” I’ll take that over boredom any day, but as a person who was never bored before becoming a parent, feeling this day in, day out has been a struggle. I’ve spent months thinking “next week will be different” and while each week is surely different, it’s never better or worse, but just a different version of the same loop.

I’m home with E during the week this summer so I’m adjusting to what it feels like to be a stay at home mom. I thought it would be easier than being a working mom, even compared to being a part-time working mom like I was just a month ago. And in some ways it is easier (mainly, the wardrobe) but in many more ways it is not.

Possibly it’s just an adjustment phase, but I really don’t think I am my best self when I’m “on” around the clock. I’m not sure it’s possible that anyone is. And perhaps therein lies the truest difficulty of motherhood: needing to be your best self for your children despite there being days when you just aren’t.

This last month of being home has been full of lessons, and I think my truth is that adjustment into motherhood seems to have less to do with if I am home or not, or how many hours I spend at work or with Evan…but rather, that there is a tiny human who occupies my brain 24/7. And as that tiny human gets bigger and starts moving around more, and is less like a tiny human and more like a tiny person day by day, he occupies even more of my heart, my time, and my thoughts. Motherhood is consuming. And it’s supposed to be.

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However…

deeply crave time to write. To think. To be “off” for even just an hour or two without interruption or an ear tuned to a sleeping baby. Writing is how I process the world. How I grow, and adapt, and feel alive. And I so need that, especially during transitions.

Getting that time makes me feel excited to dive back into singing songs and reading books and being 100% there with Evan. Not getting that time finds me cranky, distracted, and exhausted in a way that is at once physical and mental. It makes me feel lonely, and sad and in general, just LOW.

For months I’ve felt this way, and I haven’t been able to explain it well.

I thought there was something wrong with me for feeling it. There isn’t.

I thought it made me a bad mom. It doesn’t. 

I thought I would grow out of it. I haven’t. 

If anything, as he gets older I am finding I need this time, and feel the need for it even more acutely. Like water. Or needing to use the bathroom. Food. Sustenance.

Being creative is one of my greatest strengths as a mama, but it is also something I have to truly nurture as a person.

Realizing these things, admitting these things, means I need to be make a point to be intentional about the time I have and how I use it. I have to be stingy with the hours I have help, and I have to figure out how to juggle cultivating a strong marriage, getting back into shape and nurturing my work, while being a mama first and foremost. I have zero answers.

But I’ll figure it out. Because I have to. I owe it to my family to have fewer low days, and I owe it to myself to nurture the very parts of me that make me, well, me. Motherhood hasn’t changed that, and I finally feel confident enough to say that I know that’s okay.

P.S. It took me about seven hours between thinking about this, to getting out of the house, to finding a place to work (at the library, after I couldn’t find a seat at Starbucks). And I have 15 minutes left to hang out before I have to get home. But it was so worth. I needed to open my heart up and type through this stuff. It’s silly to anyone who doesn’t have the same need, but for those of you who do understand, as always, thanks for reading.

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And if anyone has figured it all out, I’m all ears. 😉

Evan at 6 Months

 

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Finally, I know why new parents say obvious and repetitive things like “time flies” because really, it does.

However, I’m happy to have a six-month old and I don’t have complicated emotions about how fast he’s growing up. This is the beginning of the stage I’ve been waiting and hoping for: we have a responsive, funny, cuddly, babbling baby who is beginning to show us his adorable personality. After five months of caring for a tiny, developing human, we’ve been rewarded with a little person. And he is just great.

This month he…

  • Loves peekaboo; “whereeeee’s Evan?” gets giant smiles every single time
  • Is a big fan of “Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” mamas made up songs and jazz music
  • Eats oatmeal, coconut oil, bananas, minty peas and sweet potatoes
  • Rolls onto stomach like it’s nothing
  • Sleeps on his side and belly
  • Cries big tears now, which roll down his cheeks when he is really upset
  • Tries to put everything he can touch in his mouth
  • Slaps, scratches, pulls hair, punches and throws; he has no idea what any of this means, but he is pretty excited that his hands can do so much!
  • Notices textures (especially likes scratching on wood and leather)
  • Responds to his name and whistling
  • Sits up great w/ support and is working on longer than a minute without it
  • Smiles at some strangers, not at others
  • Is entering the separation anxiety phase, which I was amazed to learn, is because he just now realized he and I are no longer physically attached

He’s halfway from day one and halfway to 1 year. I’d like to say I’m surprised, or amazed, but honestly John and I have earned every single one of those days with him, just as we plan to earn all the rest of them, too.