It's been one of those days. Older two children were utterly incapable of playing together for longer than three minutes without arguing and fighting and whining and constantly picking at one another. Youngest child refused to let me travel more than six inches from his side and grabbed my face to turn it toward him every time I dared to focus my attention elsewhere for even a moment - like, for instance, on breaking up an argument between his brothers.
Our morning Monopoly game deteriorated into arguments and accusations of cheating, so I ushered the kids outside for a bike ride. Older boys spent the enitre time racing to be first, cutting the other off, then tattling and crying. Baby screamed bloody murder at being put in his stroller but refused to pedal or be pushed on his bike. Bike ride fail.
We went to the park to play soccer. Older two children immediately started arguing over rules, scoring, field boundaries and possession of the ball. Youngest child said no to soccer, grabbed my legs and started pushing me toward the playground. Older two refused to play soccer without me, Baby refused to play near the soccer field. Soccer fail.
Gave up, herded children back into yard with vague notions of Baby playing happily in sandbox while safe in enclosed backyard, older children and I playing conflict-free game of soccer. Fantasy. Baby wanted "up," older children continued bickering. Offered approximately seventeen thousand suggestions for activities. All rejected out of hand - if possible, children even more whiny and argumentative.
Suddenly struck with brilliant idea: outdoor mural craft. Children very excited. All children. At the same time. Stroke of parenting genius.
We rolled out an enormous length of craft paper across the yard and dove right in - finger painting, splatter painting, puffy paint and markers. The kids had a blast with this project and it kept them entertained and argument-free for almost two blissful hours!
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