Single Mom S.O.S.: Play-Doh & Toddler-Goo

by mssinglemama on July 20, 2008

brokenheart.jpgMy best friend and fellow single mom, Abby, is still reeling from her break up. And so is her 5 year old daughter, Penny. She’s a beautiful, happy little girl who also fell in love with mommy’s boyfriend. How couldn’t she? He was over at their house at least three to four nights a week. They’d been together for nearly one year and had been talking about moving in together, starting a family – the whole kit and caboodle. And now – poof – he’s gone and Penny is broken hearted. If you’ve never seen a 5 year old with a little broken heart – lucky you – because I saw my first one tonight and it was unbearable.

Abby and I were sipping wine in the kitchen when Penny walked up with tears in her eyes.

“What’s wrong sweetie, are you feeling sick?” Abby asked.

“No, I’m sad…about John. I love him, he’s my friend and I’ll never get to see him again.”

Abby and I looked at each other. The two single moms who always have the answers. And there was nothing. Neither of us knew what to say. What could we say? How can you explain a break up to a 5 year old?

My son is just a few months shy of two. This is something I’ve never faced. I would imagine that for a five year old something like this is extremely heavy and intense. Something that could have a lasting impact. And what Abby is going through right now is without a doubt, my worst fear and is why us single moms can get a little “crazy” when it comes to relationships and dating. This is it. This is what we all want to avoid.

But we also want to meet someone, be with someone and find out if they are a fit for our family. I call it the single mom dating conundrum. How do we do it without hurting our kids? The answers aren’t clear and they never will be, but there must be some child psychology experts out there who would know what we should say. How we should say it.

Abby would have read up had she known John was going to walk in – break up with her and then leave without so much as a good bye to Penny.

So what should she do? Any advice? Please, please pass on some insights if you have them. I tried to do a Google search for “single mom break up how do you tell the kids” and there was nothing useful.

(Photo source – http://www.irishhealth.com)
brokenheart.jpgMy best friend and fellow single mom, Abby, is still reeling from her break up. And so is her 5 year old daughter, Penny. She’s a beautiful, happy little girl who also fell in love with mommy’s boyfriend. How couldn’t she? He was over at their house at least three to four nights a week. They’d been together for nearly one year and had been talking about moving in together, starting a family – the whole kit and caboodle. And now – poof – he’s gone and Penny is broken hearted. If you’ve never seen a 5 year old with a little broken heart – lucky you – because I saw my first one tonight and it was unbearable.

Abby and I were sipping wine in the kitchen when Penny walked up with tears in her eyes.

“What’s wrong sweetie, are you feeling sick?” Abby asked.

“No, I’m sad…about John. I love him, he’s my friend and I’ll never get to see him again.”

Abby and I looked at each other. The two single moms who always have the answers. And there was nothing. Neither of us knew what to say. What could we say? How can you explain a break up to a 5 year old?

My son is just a few months shy of two. This is something I’ve never faced. I would imagine that for a five year old something like this is extremely heavy and intense. Something that could have a lasting impact. And what Abby is going through right now is without a doubt, my worst fear and is why us single moms can get a little “crazy” when it comes to relationships and dating. This is it. This is what we all want to avoid.

But we also want to meet someone, be with someone and find out if they are a fit for our family. I call it the single mom dating conundrum. How do we do it without hurting our kids? The answers aren’t clear and they never will be, but there must be some child psychology experts out there who would know what we should say. How we should say it.

Abby would have read up had she known John was going to walk in – break up with her and then leave without so much as a good bye to Penny.

So what should she do? Any advice? Please, please pass on some insights if you have them. I tried to do a Google search for “single mom break up how do you tell the kids” and there was nothing useful.

(Photo source – http://www.irishhealth.com)
brokenheart.jpgMy best friend and fellow single mom, Abby, is still reeling from her break up. And so is her 5 year old daughter, Penny. She’s a beautiful, happy little girl who also fell in love with mommy’s boyfriend. How couldn’t she? He was over at their house at least three to four nights a week. They’d been together for nearly one year and had been talking about moving in together, starting a family – the whole kit and caboodle. And now – poof – he’s gone and Penny is broken hearted. If you’ve never seen a 5 year old with a little broken heart – lucky you – because I saw my first one tonight and it was unbearable.

Abby and I were sipping wine in the kitchen when Penny walked up with tears in her eyes.

“What’s wrong sweetie, are you feeling sick?” Abby asked.

“No, I’m sad…about John. I love him, he’s my friend and I’ll never get to see him again.”

Abby and I looked at each other. The two single moms who always have the answers. And there was nothing. Neither of us knew what to say. What could we say? How can you explain a break up to a 5 year old?

My son is just a few months shy of two. This is something I’ve never faced. I would imagine that for a five year old something like this is extremely heavy and intense. Something that could have a lasting impact. And what Abby is going through right now is without a doubt, my worst fear and is why us single moms can get a little “crazy” when it comes to relationships and dating. This is it. This is what we all want to avoid.

But we also want to meet someone, be with someone and find out if they are a fit for our family. I call it the single mom dating conundrum. How do we do it without hurting our kids? The answers aren’t clear and they never will be, but there must be some child psychology experts out there who would know what we should say. How we should say it.

Abby would have read up had she known John was going to walk in – break up with her and then leave without so much as a good bye to Penny.

So what should she do? Any advice? Please, please pass on some insights if you have them. I tried to do a Google search for “single mom break up how do you tell the kids” and there was nothing useful.

(Photo source – http://www.irishhealth.com)
brokenheart.jpgMy best friend and fellow single mom, Abby, is still reeling from her break up. And so is her 5 year old daughter, Penny. She’s a beautiful, happy little girl who also fell in love with mommy’s boyfriend. How couldn’t she? He was over at their house at least three to four nights a week. They’d been together for nearly one year and had been talking about moving in together, starting a family – the whole kit and caboodle. And now – poof – he’s gone and Penny is broken hearted. If you’ve never seen a 5 year old with a little broken heart – lucky you – because I saw my first one tonight and it was unbearable.

Abby and I were sipping wine in the kitchen when Penny walked up with tears in her eyes.

“What’s wrong sweetie, are you feeling sick?” Abby asked.

“No, I’m sad…about John. I love him, he’s my friend and I’ll never get to see him again.”

Abby and I looked at each other. The two single moms who always have the answers. And there was nothing. Neither of us knew what to say. What could we say? How can you explain a break up to a 5 year old?

My son is just a few months shy of two. This is something I’ve never faced. I would imagine that for a five year old something like this is extremely heavy and intense. Something that could have a lasting impact. And what Abby is going through right now is without a doubt, my worst fear and is why us single moms can get a little “crazy” when it comes to relationships and dating. This is it. This is what we all want to avoid.

But we also want to meet someone, be with someone and find out if they are a fit for our family. I call it the single mom dating conundrum. How do we do it without hurting our kids? The answers aren’t clear and they never will be, but there must be some child psychology experts out there who would know what we should say. How we should say it.

Abby would have read up had she known John was going to walk in – break up with her and then leave without so much as a good bye to Penny.

So what should she do? Any advice? Please, please pass on some insights if you have them. I tried to do a Google search for “single mom break up how do you tell the kids” and there was nothing useful.

(Photo source – http://www.irishhealth.com)
brokenheart.jpgMy best friend and fellow single mom, Abby, is still reeling from her break up. And so is her 5 year old daughter, Penny. She’s a beautiful, happy little girl who also fell in love with mommy’s boyfriend. How couldn’t she? He was over at their house at least three to four nights a week. They’d been together for nearly one year and had been talking about moving in together, starting a family – the whole kit and caboodle. And now – poof – he’s gone and Penny is broken hearted. If you’ve never seen a 5 year old with a little broken heart – lucky you – because I saw my first one tonight and it was unbearable.

Abby and I were sipping wine in the kitchen when Penny walked up with tears in her eyes.

“What’s wrong sweetie, are you feeling sick?” Abby asked.

“No, I’m sad…about John. I love him, he’s my friend and I’ll never get to see him again.”

Abby and I looked at each other. The two single moms who always have the answers. And there was nothing. Neither of us knew what to say. What could we say? How can you explain a break up to a 5 year old?

My son is just a few months shy of two. This is something I’ve never faced. I would imagine that for a five year old something like this is extremely heavy and intense. Something that could have a lasting impact. And what Abby is going through right now is without a doubt, my worst fear and is why us single moms can get a little “crazy” when it comes to relationships and dating. This is it. This is what we all want to avoid.

But we also want to meet someone, be with someone and find out if they are a fit for our family. I call it the single mom dating conundrum. How do we do it without hurting our kids? The answers aren’t clear and they never will be, but there must be some child psychology experts out there who would know what we should say. How we should say it.

Abby would have read up had she known John was going to walk in – break up with her and then leave without so much as a good bye to Penny.

So what should she do? Any advice? Please, please pass on some insights if you have them. I tried to do a Google search for “single mom break up how do you tell the kids” and there was nothing useful.

(Photo source – http://www.irishhealth.com)
brokenheart.jpgMy best friend and fellow single mom, Abby, is still reeling from her break up. And so is her 5 year old daughter, Penny. She’s a beautiful, happy little girl who also fell in love with mommy’s boyfriend. How couldn’t she? He was over at their house at least three to four nights a week. They’d been together for nearly one year and had been talking about moving in together, starting a family – the whole kit and caboodle. And now – poof – he’s gone and Penny is broken hearted. If you’ve never seen a 5 year old with a little broken heart – lucky you – because I saw my first one tonight and it was unbearable.

Abby and I were sipping wine in the kitchen when Penny walked up with tears in her eyes.

“What’s wrong sweetie, are you feeling sick?” Abby asked.

“No, I’m sad…about John. I love him, he’s my friend and I’ll never get to see him again.”

Abby and I looked at each other. The two single moms who always have the answers. And there was nothing. Neither of us knew what to say. What could we say? How can you explain a break up to a 5 year old?

My son is just a few months shy of two. This is something I’ve never faced. I would imagine that for a five year old something like this is extremely heavy and intense. Something that could have a lasting impact. And what Abby is going through right now is without a doubt, my worst fear and is why us single moms can get a little “crazy” when it comes to relationships and dating. This is it. This is what we all want to avoid.

But we also want to meet someone, be with someone and find out if they are a fit for our family. I call it the single mom dating conundrum. How do we do it without hurting our kids? The answers aren’t clear and they never will be, but there must be some child psychology experts out there who would know what we should say. How we should say it.

Abby would have read up had she known John was going to walk in – break up with her and then leave without so much as a good bye to Penny.

So what should she do? Any advice? Please, please pass on some insights if you have them. I tried to do a Google search for “single mom break up how do you tell the kids” and there was nothing useful.

(Photo source – http://www.irishhealth.com)
Okay, this one is for me. Three questions mixed with some babbling.

1. How do you clean up Play-Doh?

2. What are some good Play-Doh games or activities?

(We had a Play-Doh cook off, but tomorrow he’ll want a new game.)

3. How do you keep them contained in one area?

(Not necessarily the kids but the Play-Doh and the Play-Doh containers, or both. I’m not quite sure.)

He wanders around the house with bits and pieces of Play-Doh. But I don’t want to hide the Play-Doh when he’s got it out, on the kitchen table. Today he played with it for at least an hour and a half. I had time to make the most disgusting peanut butter cookies you’ve ever had. (And yes, I was stupid enough to trust this website for a recipe and a bad enough cook to fall for it). Benjamin ate one anyway. But he’s 2.4, he doesn’t know what a peanut butter cookie should taste like.

So, here’s my S.O.S. I want to make the most of Benjamin and I’s Play-Doh experiences. What Play-Doh games and activities should we play? And how in the hell do you clean up Play-Doh and all other toddler-goo? Like chunky dried banana bits, cookie and marker streaks, applesauce on the couch … now I’m getting a head ache. And I have to go clean.

Thanks in advance.

[Photo: Play-Doh cooking lesson + the polka dot table]

Read the rest of the Single Mom S.O.S. entries here.

My S.O.S. is clearly the only light one so far … but hey, someone had to do it.

P.S. Must Love Kids ROCKED. I’ll just going to wait until this Tuesday night to write about it because I’m already a week behind.

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Play-Doh: Friend or Foe? « Capital City Mama
July 22, 2008 at 9:39 am

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

osolomama July 20, 2008 at 11:27 pm

First, it’s awful stuff to deal with–I don’t think I ever got the hang of keeping it confined or figuring out what all to do with it. But. . .the best thing is to set boundaries about where and when you play with it, as in, have a specific spot and set a time limit–how about in the kitchen when you are cooking? “Mommy finds playdough on her toothbrush and it makes her cry” and “OK, time to put the playdough all away” are totally acceptable lines no matter how firm or guilt-tripping. I’m convinced: kids really do get it when you appeal to them and solicit their help in keeping things under control. Also, when you’re in the kitchen, he can make food shapes like hamburger and fries (if he’s inclined) or yucky things you wouldn’t cook if he likes the gorss factor. I think (but don’t hold me to this) if you let it dry, you can also paint it. Hope this helps!

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Faqih February 4, 2015 at 10:39 am

thanks for your comment yeteardsy Amber.Your list looks just like mine! Only you are braver than me and say screw all that! I, I just go back and forth and I only seem to go for it when I’m braver delusional. I have countless unfinished posts and finished ones that I talk myself out of publishing. Anyway, your transparancy motivates me.I was a little terrified of you coming over because I do tend write in Christianese. But thank goodness you know how to translate.I hope you can give me a little Grace .Just for the record on #8, you have me beat. You know more than I do. There is nothing more frustrating to me than to be paralyzed by my lack of computer savvy skills.

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osolomama July 20, 2008 at 11:28 pm

Sorry–that was gross factor!

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Anna July 21, 2008 at 12:44 am

We play with play-doh everyday day…and there is no good way to clean it up. I will probably find play-doh bits in my home when my son is long grown up and moved away. I’ll check back for some better answers than my own! 😉

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jonathan July 21, 2008 at 12:49 am

i’m very amazed that you carry the hardships alone when your child still months old.. My wife and i are new to this, even us we actually have problems in dealing with our newborn son, he cries without even knowing what’s the problem, feeding done, washing done, etc. but still he cries.. is it normal? he is 3 weeks old now..

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spatulahandle July 21, 2008 at 1:33 am

When I co-taught the 3 year old Sunday School class at my church, we used to let the kids play with play dough until the class started. They had rolling pins ( round wooden sticks) and cookie cutters and some other stuff to make fancy and fun shapes with. Each child that played had to sit very close to the table and keep the play dough right in front of them. We only had one color of play dough to give them( it was home made) and what ever they accidentally dropped on the floor they picked up. Most of the time we didn’t have a lot to pick up.

When I taught at the daycare I was in charge in the afternoons of cleaning….there was a teacher who disliked another teacher and to spite her she used to let the 2 year olds ( about 17 of them) play with play dough and get it all over the carpet so the other teacher would have to clean it up…well that other teacher left it on the floor and I got to clean up the mess(which I didn’t appreciate at all). By the time I got to it it was dried and some of it crusted into the carpet. I just swept it up with a broom and threw it in the trash. The stuff that was stuck in the carpet I broke loose with a popcicle stick and vacuumed up. Eventually the teacher realized that I was cleaning up the mess and quit with the play dough.

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modernsinglemomma July 21, 2008 at 3:24 am

I’ve never made playdoh and so I don’t have any advice BUT, I want to be a cool mom and make home-made playdoh for my son too!
Oh gosh the mommy guilt. Lucca is so deprived. No swim lessons, no regularly scheduled story time, no playdoh, .

You’ve inspired me. Next weekend I’m giving it a go.

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debra July 21, 2008 at 7:53 am

Spatulahandle hit the nail on the head….you have to wait for the stuff to dry to clean it up. Our playdough rules: you only get to play with it when you ask permission (and I can supervise), you have to help (or be patient while I do it) sweep up the floor before (so stuff that falls won’t have crumbs and dog hair stuck to it), pick up any big pieces that fall during play, and help sweep up later when it dries. All playdough stays in the kitchen on the wood floor, no where near carpet, or it gets put away.
I don’t set a time limit for playing, sometimes it lasts 30 minutes, sometimes an hour. Sounds like Benjamin is far more interested and creative about it than my guy was at his age, that’s great! I also had success with using a limited number of colors at a time (just 2 initially) so if they got mixed up, you didn’t end up with 6 jars of brownish playdough. Cookie cutters are great, molds are great. My son has a refrigerator playdough set that is a blast, lots of molds to make fruit, eggs, sandwiches, and tons of spatulas, ice cream scoops, and you can make the stuff and then put it in and out of the shelves in the fridge (which is also the storage box for the whole kit). Definately one of my favorites.

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J-Fo July 21, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Here is the magic Playdoh answer for our house – the Playdoh Activity Center (http://www.amazon.com/Hasbro-20357-Play-Doh-Creativity-Center/dp/B000EMSKYC/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1216667217&sr=8-1)

It comes with all sorts of accessories and Playdoh, it’s a storage bin, AND it has the very handy BLUE TRAY as a lid.

All PlayDoh activities in our house must be conducted on the blue tray. Take the blue tray wherever you want in the house, but the dough needs to stay on the blue tray. So far, it works. I’ve found very few straggler bits of dough around the house.

The tray also doubles as an excellent snack tray! 🙂

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jonb July 21, 2008 at 10:26 pm

the misses has an area outside on the deck. of course it dried out…

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laura July 22, 2008 at 2:14 am

delurking-

Playdough. Love the stuff but it is a bitch to clean especially off the rugs. I’ve actually had to cut out several small areas from our downstairs rug and thankfully they are not noticeable to anyone but me.

Since then, I’ve contained the playdoh play to two specific areas, either the kitchen table or a big scrapping table we have downstairs. Both areas have tile floors which make for a much easier clean-up.

We’ve brought the activity center and the kit that makes funny people but honestly both have only been used a handful of times.

Our favourite playdoh accesory? A 100 piece plastic cookie cutter set for $9.99 on Amazon. It has everything. Cars, trucks, animals, letters, food, shapes, numbers etc. There are so many that I’ve introduced them slowly – so when things get boring, I pull out some new ones.
http://www.amazon.com/Roshco-100-Piece-Plastic-Cookie-Cutter/dp/B00004SCOJ/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1216706596&sr=8-1

I also always play together with my little one (she’s 4). Left to her own devices the house would become a massive playdoh den 😉

ps love your blog!!

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laura July 22, 2008 at 2:26 am

pps our latest playdoh game is pizza delivery (my daughter’s creation) I call up and order a pizza from her and then she creates it. white dough for the crust, red for the sauce, yellow for the cheese and she’ll dot on various colors for the toppings. then she picks a designated oven (usually the top of our storage freezer of all places lol) and it will cook for 5 minutes or so and then we’ll make a delivery truck using a truck cookie cutter and writing her name on the side of it. The pizza is usually 3x the size of the truck lol but i think it’s the idea more than anything. Then we cut up the pizza with the play doh knife and have our pretend meal.

We had a birds nest right outside our front window this past spring so for a while we made nests, and a mama bird and eggs and baby birds. And would reenact the eggs splitting open and the birds learning to fly.

I’m not wildly creative so the cutters are really a great help and we kind of just take a cue from things fun things we have seen or done in the past week or so.

sorry this is so long – can you tell we’re playdoh addicts 😉

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laura July 22, 2008 at 2:32 am

last post i swear! 😉
to keep all the playdoh stuff together – get a plastic container with a screw on top (can find at kmart or target in the kitchen section) it will keep everything neat and the extra seal helps to keep the playdoh fresh for a much longer period of time.

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danaofthebells July 25, 2008 at 1:05 pm

From the kid’s perspective, it only really took one big mess for me to realize that playing with it on the carpet was a poor choice. My mother made me clean it up (I was about 3). She, of course, helped a little and got the rest of it out, but realizing how hard it was didn’t make me feel very good. I played with it only in the kitchen.

My favorite was the homemade playdoh. I could color it however I wanted, and squishing it when it was making was fun.

My sister and I liked to make different playdoh creatures (largely monsters) and then see who would win in a fight… mostly by throwing them together and seeing which one retained it’s shape the most. I know… odd little girls.

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