This week, living in New York City has been brutal. We are in the middle of a five-day stretch of 20-degree weather and going outside is about as fun as punching yourself in the face. As bad as the cold is, nothing is worse than the 45 minutes I spend getting myself and my kids ready to walk out the door. This is how it typically plays out:
- 8:00 – 8:01 – Put on my jacket, scarf and hat.
- 8:01 – 8:09 – Chase the kids around the living room trying to put their jackets on.
- 8:09 – 8:13 – Argue about whether or not they need to wear a hat: “But Daddy doesn’t make me wear a hat. I don’t wannnnnna wear a hat!”
- 8:13 – 8:23 – Remove their jackets and hats and take them to the bathroom to pee. (Note, I am still in my jacket, hat and scarf)
- 8:23 – 8:28 – Put their jackets and hats back on.
- 8:28 – 8:38 – Try to line up their actual fingers with the fingers of their gloves. This includes stopping to ponder how in the world they consistently get their pinky, middle and index fingers stuck together in the thumb of the glove…I just don’t know, must be magic.
- 8:38 – 8:45 – Lift them like sacks of potatoes into the stroller and wrestle them into their cushy, cocoon bags (which pretty much negate the need for a jacket, hat and gloves and thus, the last 38 minutes of hell).
By the time I am done, my inner layer of clothing is drenched in sweat and I start losing my peripheral vision. On the verge of fainting, I sit down, in all my drenched padding, and drink a glass of water until my vision clears. When we finally do get outside, we can’t actually go anywhere because the 20-degree temperature (and 5-degree wind chill) instantly crystallizes the sweat that is now streaming down my entire body from my upper lip to my ankles. I am a frozen statue of a tortured mother.
OK, that last part doesn’t ever happen, but you get the picture: going outside right now sucks.
So we have been staying home as much as possible and to avoid the arctic concrete tundra that is NYC. Unfortunately, staying inside for days on end generates a completely different type of torture than going outside in this freezing cold weather. It brings on The Sickness. The Sickness that they call Cabin Fever. But fear not, for I have a few suggestions on how to ward off the fever. And they don’t include putting an onion in a bowl in every room of the house (did anyone else see that stupid Facebook post?) or drinking some disgusting herbal cocktail. I give you: The Top Five Ways to Beat Cabin Fever – The Preschool Version.
- Make an indoor snowman: When dad inevitably falls asleep on the couch, arm your preschoolers with cans of shaving cream and Sharpie markers and have at him. If you’re really feeling mischievous, show your kids how dipping his fingertips in warm water will make him pee his pants. You’ll all get a good laugh and your kids won’t feel so bad the next time they have a middle-of-the-night accident.
- Go ice skating: Flood your kitchen floor with water and then open up all the doors and windows until it ices over. Then strap on your blades and wow each other with double axels and triple salchows (I know, I thought it would’ve been spelled sow cow too). This activity can stave off boredom for hours…or possibly even days if one of you falls and you all end up having to take a family trip to the hospital. Hey, at least you’ll get a change of scenery and some free jello.
- Make a Movie: Video tape all of the boring things you and your kids do while stuck inside the house. Record the family eating bowls of cereal, laying on the floor, watching TV, drawing with markers, throwing temper tantrums, reading books and whatever other uninteresting you all do. Make sure you have enough memory to record a full 12 hours of footage. Then, the next day sit your kids on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and a bag of Twizzlers and let them watch the movie. If I know anything, I know kids love eating snacks and candy and I know kids love watching themselves on video. They will not move an inch all day and you will be free to do whatever boring sh-t makes you happy.
- Have a Tea Party: Partake in the age-old preschooler pastime and set up a cute, little tea party for the whole family. Only instead of pretending to drink tea, actually drink tea. But since little kids don’t like tea, drink apple juice. And for extra flavor, spike your apple juice with some whiskey. And then once that kicks in and your judgment gets fuzzy, spike the kids’ apple juice with some Benadryl. And then before any of you realize what’s happening, the cold front will be over and none of you will have any idea that you were ever stuck at home and bored out of your mind with cabin fever. (Note: Please do not actually try this at home.)
- Grow a Pair: You could also just stop complaining about how damn cold it is and go outside.
What fun ideas do you have to avoid cabin fever? Please share them in the comments section below. Please…I beg you…share the ideas now before the fever fries my brain!