It’s getting to be a long winter where we live. Just yesterday I caught myself staring out the window and hallucinating buds on the trees. A quick snap back to reality had me seeing the couple feet of snow packed in our yards, the bare plant life, and plenty of smoke rising from the chimneys on our street in an effort to keep the homes warm in the frigid temperatures. Yes, it is March, but we’ll be finding ourselves longing for spring, rather than experiencing it, for several more weeks here.
When the wind is roaring and the temperatures seem content to stay frigid, having to leave the house to go anywhere becomes more of a chore than an anticipated outing. When I had to put my snow boots, coat, and gloves on to take my kitchen trash the five steps from the door to the garbage can, I caught myself having one of those, “Why do we live here?” moments. I suck it up and carry on though, because that’s what we moms do. My three-year-old, however, confessed in her ever-so-present “threenager” tone, “I’m getting really tired of feeling trapped in this house.”
I can’t say that I blame her. We have been staying in a lot more recently, because not only do I worry about freezing her little nose off while I struggle with the car seat buckle and the Mom-mobile door stays open, but I’m 27 weeks pregnant as well, and my coat doesn’t button around my protruding belly. I can stay indoors and wear my comfortable slippers to keep my toes warm, or I can venture outside and take thirty minutes to warm my blood to flowing again. I know the Lord gives us seasons, yet in our neck of the woods it seems like the “pause” button gets pushed on winter.
My daughter’s statement was not lost on me, however. She is such a good kid, and I don’t want her bored to tears, longing for things to do outside of the one place I love getting to spend time with her. It was time to roll up my sleeves and get my creative thinker going again. I prayed for wisdom and motivation in thinking outside the play time box. I want her home to be her haven, not her prison.
Here’s what we’ve done to pass the time on the blustery winter days:
Forts – or in her case, princess castles made of sheets. We move furniture, we grab extra chairs, and we have plenty of sheets and blankets we can drape over all of them. The best kind are the ones that have “secret passage tunnels” so she can escape to find her prince when the need arises. Yes, our living room is transformed to more of a construction zone, but she loves having her own special place, hidden away from the queen (yours truly).
Picnics. We pack ourselves a lunch in the kitchen, and transport it to the picnic blanket we spread over the living room rug. The picnic basket is used for visualization’s sake, (or sometimes it hides a special dessert) and we spread out on our pretend lawn enjoying the pretend summer day, soaking up some vitamin D (from our glasses of milk) and talking about how often we should apply sunscreen. When lunch is done, I wipe her hands and mouth on the picnic blanket, and crumbs and all go straight into the washer. The best part is – no bugs!
Dance Parties. Granted, these don’t last terribly long. I have a big belly but small lung capacity. When the right songs come on, however, we shake our sillies out, clap our crazies out, and twist and shout with the best of them. Sometimes I don’t realize how long a song is until I try to dance to the entire thing, but Little Miss can keep up with the best of them. I often try to encourage her to keep going by asking, “Can you teach me that dance move?” Not only does she know I’m paying attention, but her little confidence builds right up when she thinks her mommy could use a pointer or two on how to bust a move.
Scavenger Hunts. My child is one you cannot have find much for you. I can point to an object on the floor and say, “It’s right by your foot.” and she’ll spin halfway around a dozen times, and look at spots on the floor beyond a four foot radius away. She tends to do much better when sent on a search for something rather than being told where it is. Sometimes our scavenger hunts are to find the lost shoe, or the missing piece(s) of a puzzle we’ve been working on. Practical uses for scavenger hunts are not frowned upon. She does enjoy looking for something we’ve hidden on purpose, though. Sometimes she will find unexpected items, like a bouncy ball we thought we’d lost, or Mommy’s debit card that fell between the couch cushions.
Devotionals. I suppose I am a bit surprised at how much she looks forward to these. We read a story from a devotional book for girls, and respond to the follow-up questions. I try to think of examples she might remember from her own little life to draw upon so she can relate more. Her answers are usually far outside of what I would think to answer, but she’s always able to tie it together and make the connection. She loves sitting to read devotionals with me, and I love the extra snuggle time.
Whatever the weather has in store, it’s always nice to have activities we can do indoors. Not only does it keep me on my toes, but it shows Little Miss that come rain or shine, imagination is the key to beating boredom.
Lord, may she always be creative and innovative. May she always enjoy learning Your Word and how to apply it to her life. May the days we spend in princess castles and pretend picnic areas foster a life-long trust in our mother-daughter relationship, and may our time together always be blessed – whether we spend it outdoors in Your wonderful creation, or inside in the coziness of home. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
Copyright © Val Kleppen, Moms of Faith®, All Rights Reserved