Has anyone been on Facebook recently? According to the popular ad-serving, personal-data-farming website, it’s been pretty cold outside recently! I guess they’re calling it a Polar Vortex. It just seems like “January” to me. Sure, it’s been a tough stretch, but still, it’s just winter.
It’s icy, it’s wet, it’s snowy in a lot of places, but above all, it’s cold. Like, painfully cold. Which means going outside is not desirable. Unfortunately, when you have kids, staying inside isn’t necessarily desirable either. BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE THE KIDS ARE. But just because your kids annoy you doesn’t mean you can open the door and let them freeze to death – at least, so says my wife. And the authorities. So, peace and quiet be damned, you have to keep them inside. Because if it’s painfully cold for a hardy adult like Yours Truly, it’s dangerously cold for my three-year-old’s delicate, porcelain skin. Which means I’ve been forced to spend most of the Polar Vortex sequestered inside with my son for long stretches of time.
I’m not about to explain hypothermia and frostbite and mortality to my kid, so instead I just have to distract him. And that ain’t easy. Not shockingly, I’ve taken to calling it the Polar BORE-tex™! (Copyright Dad and Buried).
Here’s a list of activities I’ve been employing to entertain my son and survive the latest cold snap.
MAN VS. CHILD
TV – Holy shit the amount of TV my kid has watched this winter is INSANE. Don’t judge me; when you can’t go outside you’ve gotta kill some time! Besides, it’s therapeutic to sit back and enjoy a margarita while watching the sun-soaked adventures of “Jake and the Neverland Pirates”, and my son is learning TONS about doubloons!
Trains – I don’t understand the obsession with trains. I don’t know any adult men who are into trains, at least not the kind of trains that one can speak about in mixed company. Or any company. But every single little boy I know worships the fucking things. My son got like 4 new trains sets for Christmas! But it’s fine. They keep him occupied. I think he’d skip his meals to keep pushing those stupid toy locomotives around and that’s fine with me. As long as he stops with the ear-splitting “choo-choo!!!”
Drinking Our Own Pee – Come on, I’m not crazy. This only happens by accident.( Don’t judge. HE’S STILL FIGURING OUT THE POTTY THING!)
Building Forts – Every kid loves forts. But I’m taking it to another level. The forts I build with my son aren’t that big, but they are dimly lit and they have no exits. I throw the kid in there and I’m able to hop in the shower and surf the net for a good two hours before he crawls his way out. It keeps him occupied, and all that crawling around looking for a way out burns off tons of energy. One time he even fell asleep in there. It’s genius. You can barely even hear his anguished cries from behind all the couch cushions!
More Trains – IT NEVER ENDS.
Playing Pretend – Once you kid turns two-and-a-half or so, he starts to use his imagination like crazy. It’s hilarious – and sometimes creepy – to watch my son converse with his stuffed animals, or reenact some of his favorite shows and movies. When you’re snowed in, or iced in, or whatevered-in, odds are you’ll be enlisted into his fantasies. Which is fun, until you’ve been running around carrying him in your arms for three hours so he can pretend to be Superman, and you’re ready to collapse. Most of the time when my son wants to play pretend, I try to pretend that I’m a highway for him to race his cars on, because that way I get to lie down on the floor.
My son likes dancing as much as I hate it. Which is a LOT. The good news is dancing requires music, and if it’s played loudly enough, I can’t hear my son begging me to go outside. Also, dancing tires him out. It brings me dangerously close to a heart attack, but that’s a small price to pay for a three-hour nap in the middle of the afternoon. I have some DVR to catch up on.
Home-schooling – I suppose it would be a responsible of me to spend some of the hours trapped inside this winter teaching my son his ABCs or 123s or etc. So please, give it a shot. But the closest I’ve come to home-schooling my kid is making him memorize the jive talk from “Airplane!” I barely have the patience for home-playing.
Playing Pretend “Restaurant” – I’m trying to get my son into pretending to run a restaurant so I can be his customer and can just keep ordering beers over and over until one of us passes out. I told you I wasn’t being responsible. If it makes you feel any better, I usually pass out first. Or he does. Whatever makes you feel better.
Read more from Dad and Buried on his blog at www.DadandBuried.com
(Image: getty images)