We were supposed to have a high of 63 degrees here today. At noon it was 42, and we have seen the sun for about 7 hours total this month. Maybe a few more, but it’s gotta be less than 10. The boys and I are getting tired of sloshing across soggy grass that can’t dry out in our backyard, pulling gloves onto our chilly hands, and staying inside. So much staying inside.
So last week, we had the kind of day that’s warm enough to play outside for a couple of hours. N wanted to have a full-blown picnic in the front yard with the picnic blanket and all, just as the freezing wind was blowing some clouds across the sun. I said, “no,” and broke his heart.
He was desperate. He’d gotten his little heart set on that outdoor picnic, and no “let’s have one on the living room floor!” could console him in the least. But we had no choice. There would be no picnic outside, and I had to force a compromise.
I laid a blanket down on the living room floor, made some sandwiches and fruit salad, and sat down with Little K and his dad. The 5-yr-old lay on the floor wailing his disappointment. It’s those times – when you can’t, and don’t want to, give in to a crying heap on the floor, but at the same time you get – that you have to act fast as a mom. I’d like to lay on the floor and cry about this never-ending gloomy weather keeping us all inside, inhaling germy air every day and waiting for spring. I empathized with the fit and the disappointment.
I grabbed my phone and opened a white noise app I use in hotels, found a “park sounds” setting, and dialed up the imagination. “Listen!” I said. N picked his head up and put it in my lap. “Can you hear all the sounds at the park? What a beautiful day to have a picnic here!
N loves pretend play, and it wasn’t hard to get him involved. Soon, we were playing at bird-watching with colored objects in the living room, looking for a frog in the pond next to the picnic blanket, and forgetting all about how badly we wanted it to be sunny outside. Toward the end of our picnic, I said, “That wasn’t so bad, was it?”
“Not bad at all,” my reflective little N answered. “What started out really disappointing for me turned out to be a really, really fun day!”
Not all the windy, chilly, cabin-fever days are as salvageable as that one was, but I’d say it was pretty good for a blanket on the floor and a white noise app.