Daddyish: MAN VS. CHILD: Surviving Polar Vortex Cabin Fever

ngs0_9097Has 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.


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.

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  • Bethany Ramos

    Polar BORE-tex™ – yes, yes, yes!

    “Chlorophyll? More like BOREophyll.”

  • Rachel Sea

    I keep forgetting what the news calls it, and have taken to calling it polar-nado. I like to imagine a cyclone of polar bears rigged to counter the shark-nado.

    • Mystik Spiral


    • Kay_Sue


    • Mystik Spiral

      Upvote x a million.

    • LiteBrite

      I would watch that all day long.

    • Eve Vawter

      Mystik? To the screenwriters room!

  • LiteBrite

    One of my friends said “Polar Vortex” sounds like a complicated sexual position.

    We also played pretend restaurant last week. A few of my son’s stuffed buddies and I took a pretend trip to IHOP. My son was the waiter, after which I fervently hoped he never takes a job in the service industry as his customer service skills suck. Later he dressed up in his Wolverine costume and had me tape two signs to his front and back, one of which said Aaron Rogers (spelled Aaron Roogers) and the number 12. He then pretended he was a quarterback, at which point my husband came home and the boy became his problem for awhile.

    He also spent half a day without pants because, as he explained, “I’m not going outside.”

    • Mystik Spiral

      “He also spent half a day without pants because, as he explained, “I’m not going outside.”

      Perfectly logical. My housemates don’t seem to like it when I use this excuse though…

    • Kay_Sue

      This is my excuse every day, lol. Is it not a good enough one? I was not informed of that.

    • Pumplestilskin

      My 9 year old came home from school one day and said “you know why I love being home? Pants are optional.” He said this while kicking his pants off and walking upstairs to have an epic something with his toys. He very rarely wears pants at home and 2 years ago took to wearing boxers because “they’re just like shorts”. This, of course drives his sisters nuts

  • Tinyfaeri

    Playpens need roofs.
    Also, whiskey!

    • Kay_Sue

      It’s really too bad that it’s frowned upon to use a dog kennel. *sighs*

    • Véronique Houde

      They should put the whiskey in those hamster water feeders. Easy access, no spill solution.

  • Kay_Sue

    Trains. Oh, the trains. And watching Thomas to go along with it…

  • Allison

    Totally hear you! Hard to keep them busy inside. Hubby and I have just discovered that throwing the kids in the tub can buy us up to an hour of entertainment for them (as long as we keep adding warm water). They love playing in water and it totally zones them out. I think there are at last 20 of my son’s “Imaginext” guys in the tub waiting for another battle. Every day is bath day around here for these little prunes!

  • keelhaulrose

    I’m not going to lie, there’s been a couple days lately I’ve taken my older daughter to have a “great play-date” (where she goes over to my grandma’s house so they can annoy each other and not me for a few hours) and put a few toys in reach of the crib so when little one wakes up from her nap she’ll play in there a while. Because I’m out of ideas, I’m out of paint (and walls to put the ‘masterpieces’ on). Every toy has been deemed ‘boring’ and I’ve got cabin fever as bad as the kids.

  • Véronique Houde

    I think I love you.

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