A few months ago Joseph's preschool teacher told me that he was doing great in playing with his friends and in playing with all the roleplay toys (cars, kitchens, everything), but that he rarely played with the manipulatives, so if I could help stimulate that at home. Certainly I could. Joseph loves puzzles, plays regularly with blocks and well.. does designing pretty advanced train tracks count as playing with manipulatives. Sounded like something right up our alley. Still, at the next sale of Melissa and Doug toys for half off, I went out to purchase a set of lacing beads.
They were a big succes for about three or four days. Then they dissapeared utterly and completely. Certainly with two wild boys or house is not always a mirror of empty spaces and surfaces, but to have three dozen big, chunky colorful beads dissapear was something of a conundrum. Where were they? We asked Joseph but he didn't seem to know either. At first we didn't puzzle too much over them. We figured we had put them away somewhere and would stumble over them at any moment. We discovered four of them laying around over the next few days, like lost sheep that could not find the main herd anymore, but the motherload kept eluding us. I was mystified. Especially when after a big clean up the beads still did not turn up. We looked high and low. We looked everywhere: in toyboxes, in the drawers of the traintable, the playhouse, in the little kitchen, in the big mommy kitchen. We asked Joseph again. I looked in cooking pots, in the hallway, in the recycling, in the bathroom... While doing other things I was on constant lookout for those beads. But days went by, and the beads did not appear, despite my searching.
Today was a day spend in reorganizing rooms and playing. With Michael getting bigger, some of the baby stuff needs to be stored and other things need to be made more (or less) available as his mobility grows. We started out reassembling tracks of the traintable in the playroom. Michael played with the garage. Then we went upstairs to Michael's room. We did a snowball fight with the junkmail, I removed the cot that was in Michael's room from those sleepless first months. The boys played on the bed together. I stopped Joseph from smothering Michael, we played with the large block train.. all in all a normal morning.From Michael's room we progressed to Joseph's room, where Joseph played with the little people nativity and 'woke up baby Jesus' so that he could eat his snowman candy and then it was all in Jesus' tummy... Michael crawled all over and I lay down with my head on the giant bear being used as a playgym supervising the play.
I noticed Michael's pushtrain beside me. This train was originally Joseph's though he had outgrown it and lost all interest in it, until his brother started playing with it of course. Apparently it had found it's way upstairs into Joseph's room. I opened the seat to check if no dirty sippy was hidden inside. Well... you can guess what I found. There, inside the little stow away under the seat were all the missing beads! I smiled and already thought about telling my husband where I had finally found them while closing the lid. Joseph protested! "Mommy, I want to look at the coal too!" I looked at him, for one second not comprehending. Then he proudly added: "I shoveled ALL the coal in the firebox of the train."
Well of course he did! I guess his teacher is right, he excelles in imaginative play. Hmmm.. where woud that come from?