shaving creamWhen my two-year-old was a baby, I remember being the most.rigid.mother.ever. when it came to naps.  We had a schedule.  We had a routine.  And while the actual “nap time” was moveable depending on how long he slept during the previous nap and when he woke up,  I made sure that kid slept as much as “they” said he was supposed to.

I remember being totally freaked as his naps dropped from three a day to two…then to one.  I had no idea what to do with all of this AWAKE KID TIME.  But we quickly got into a groove, a routine, a fun schedule that involved doing cool stuff in the morning, napping for a couple of hours midday, then more play in the afternoon.  I grew to love, love that one nap a day (and I still do, because my firstborn is a freakish early riser and needs that nap at lunchtime, otherwise he is a hot mess).

Poor baby brother.  In typical “second child” fashion he was more or less dragged around with me and the big boy as we kept to our old routine and ways.  He napped when he could – usually in the car – but more often than not, he didn’t nap much at all (I know, Mom of the Year here folks).  I realized he was getting a lame deal and have made a serious effort to get his naps in, on a schedule, come what may.

Naturally this new schedule – of two naps a day for baby, one for big bro – means from about 9:30 or 10:00 AM onward, one kid is pretty much always asleep at our house.  Which means we’re homebound a lot these days.  Awesome for, say, saving money on gas.  Not so awesome for, say, your sanity.

**Did I mention the baby takes two ridiculously short-can’t-even-really-call-them-nap naps?  There are days when I spend more time getting him to sleep than he actually sleeps.**

When I’m looking for ways to keep big brother happy, entertained and safe (read: strapped in a chair is always good) while I wrestle the baby to sleep, my favorite quick and easy play thing is: shaving cream – it’s guaranteed to keep kids occupied and clean up couldn’t be easier.  Add a little food coloring for fun, or incorporate toys, cookie cutters, whatever; big bro loves pushing his cars and construction trucks around in it.  When he’s all done, all it takes is a quick rinse with warm water and everyone and everything is nice and clean (and smelling minty fresh!)

I love that it’s an alternative to my other method for getting big brother to sit still while I baby wrangle (TV!  Movies!) and it allows him to get his hands dirty, which he loves.  Plus, those $1.00 cans go a long way – you don’t need a ton of shaving cream to be entertained.  You can’t beat the cost!

Now if only getting the baby to sleep were that easy…