Winter is coming.
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan this means one thing and if you’re a parent, then it means something completely different. Although I think you could get the men on the wall to admit that toddlers with cabin fever (TCF) are more terrifying than white walkers if they spent an afternoon with them.
With the glorious season that is fall coming to an abrupt end, I can’t help but feel the dread weighing on me heavier than the extra servings of Thanksgiving pie I had. Winter with small children suuuuuuuuuucks. It’s easy to forget how much it blows with Christmas ramping up hard core but once the holiday buzz has worn off and you can no longer use the threat of Santa to effectively manage your children’s behavior, winter sets in and makes you its bitch.
Winter basically means my go to, not to mention free, activity has been taken away: going outside. There was the park, there was that other park we’ve never been to, and there was the I can’t stand to listen to this madness any longer so I’m shoving you both into the double stroller and going on as long a walk as your little sippy cups and snack bags will last us.
Also, because of our good friend Daylight Savings (I can even with you, DS) it gets dark right around 4pm so my bottle of wine starts whispering to me extra early to put the kids to bed because that DVR’ed episode of Vanderpump Rules isn’t going to watch itself. Alas, that will have to wait. Because there is still THREE MORE HOURS OF
SURVIVING PARENTING TO GO.
All of this equates to the majority of your day being spent INDOORS. In theory, it doesn’t sound so bad. You might even venture to say it would be relaxing not having to run around constantly. FALSE. Want to know what it’s like watching kids that have been inside for an extended period of time? Take a can of pop, shake it vigorously, open can in the middle of a room that you’ve recently cleaned. Sob when carbonated beverage sprays in all directions, making every surface in your house incredibly sticky. Kids are basically like that can of pop.
And despite having a pop-up Toys R Us shop in our house, you would think my kids have nothing to do but say my name repeatedly in the most agonizingly whiny tone as they dump everything out onto the floor in protest. And as much as I would love to have the TV running 24/7, that’s apparently frowned upon in some circles.
Pinterest calls out to me in a mocking way. I have a hearty toddler crafts Pinterest board and another one full of sensory experiences that I’m supposed to devise for Olivia to make sure she can split the atom by the time she reaches kindergarten. All of these are pointless. Here’s how craft time goes in my house:
- Spend 15-20 minutes looking up an appropriate craft and double checking the supply closet to see if I can actually do any of these effectively
- 5-10 minutes prepping said craft
- Kids engage for 5 half-hearted minutes. AJR is bored immediately. Olivia attempts to put everything in her mouth. And if there’s paint involved, my head is on a swivel trying to make sure it doesn’t land on any surface it’s not supposed to because I don’t entirely trust that it’s washable.
- Craft is abandoned
- I sigh heavily and take 5-10 minutes to finish it because I’ll be damned if I put in all this effort to not have a finished product
- 5 minutes of cleanup
- Countless hours of regret and Googling “My kids won’t do crafts, is something wrong with them?”
Although it should probably go without saying, while I’m doing all of this both children are wreaking havoc and clinging to my legs like little baby koalas. If they actually entertained themselves for an extended period of time then I wouldn’t need to do the craft in the first place.
There are the indoor gyms and play spaces that can provide the occasional reprieve. As long as you’re comfortable shelling out money to have your children play in a padded petri dish while you cringe as yet another kid runs by and wipes his faucet of a nose on his shirtsleeve. Please note that I am totally comfortable with doing this every once in awhile when the madness slowly starts to creep in. Risk reward, people.
And don’t even get me started on getting everyone ready to go out of the house in the winter. Hats, gloves, coats, boots. Times TWO. And please believe that there will be a fight to wear a hat. Or boots. Or gloves. Or ALL OF IT. Winter hats are apparently torture devices dating back to medieval times only used on the most depraved of criminals. Well, at least according to my 3 year old if he knew what any of that meant. The baby is worse. At least with AJR I can threaten and persuade him to keep it on. Olivia gives zero F***s about how cold it is. I think her goal in life is to rip her hat off only so people look at me and go “What a terrible mother. Taking a child out in that cold with no hat. It’s such a shame. That poor child.” I’m considering making a laminated sign saying “I put a hat on her but she refuses to keep it on” and pinning it to her coat for the duration of winter.
Winter is coming, parents. Ration the Christmas presents, stock up on hand sanitizer and Boogie Wipes, and make sure your DVR game is strong because TCF will not tolerate commercials. Also, for anyone looking, I’m wiiiiideee open for play dates and I give good snack. Thanks.