Sandra Bullock is taking time off from her career in order to be a stay-at-home mom, as was mentioned yesterday. That fact was buried deep in Bullock’s People magazine cover story, but it hit me hard in the heart. I, too, spend considerable time at home with my son. And many of the activities I’ve devised to help entertain my child might also interest Sandra and her child, Louis. After all, Sandra Bullock may be an Academy Award-winning actress, but I have more experience mothering babies. Sandy, you listening?
Activity 1: My son and I enjoy screening my old movies and dissecting my career. My son likes to ask questions like, “How did you go from playing Keanu Reeves’s bus driver to winning an Academy Award?” And then I say, “Whoops! Wrong tapes again.”
Activity 2: My son likes to draw, and someday Louis probably will too. We look at old photos of my ex-husband’s mistresses and copy out their tattoos. Sometimes we use tracing paper and trace them. Afterwards we color in the designs with crayons and magic markers and occasionally fingerpaints. Then we hang them on the refrigerator.
Activity 3: I invite my friend George Lopez over, and we reenact scenes from the old George Lopez show. This makes my son laugh and laugh and laugh. Mostly because my friend George Lopez is a nurse anesthetist, not a comedian. Have you ever seen a nurse anesthetist try to perform sitcom scenes? It’s priceless.
Activity 4: We play a game called “Clean the Toilet, Scrub the Floors.” I give my son sponges and Fantastik, and set him to work. Like Sandra, I’ve hit a bit of a hard time, and it turns out that my son comes cheaper than the cleaning woman. And he does a fine job! I’ve told him that, as with so many games, he’ll get better the more he practices. If he practices enough, I explain, he may even make the U.S. Olympic Scrubbing Team in 2026! This is not, entirely, a lie. At the rate the I.O.C is adding sports, Scrubbing Toilets could easily be in competition by 2026. If not? There’s always curling.
Activity 5: We flip through the trade mags, and try to pinpoint the jobs I’m losing while I stay home to play mom. I say things like, “I’m so happy for Gwyneth! I didn’t want to play Ophelia—a role that’s sure to win her an Oscar and a Golden Globe—anyway!” And my son says things like, “Oooh, look! Katie Holmes landed the lead in Avatar Deux!” And I say, “What?” And then I wipe away my tears. Of happiness. Really. Big, sad, desperate tears of joy. Because there’s no greater pleasure than picking up Legos and scrubbing oatmeal off the walls. (Are you reading this Kathryn Bigelow? Because I’m totally available. Totally. Really. Nothing going on. My kid will even scrub your toilets. Call me.)
How do you entertain your children?