winter-with-a-toddlerIt’s already almost November. It’s getting so cold and dark already here on the East Coast. It’s so nice and crisp out! The changing of seasons makes everyone feel a little…crazed. And after last winter, I think we’ve also got a little PTSD mixed in there too. It can’t possibly be as bad as last year, can it? Now that I have a full-on toddler to contend with, not just a sweet complacent babe-in-arms, a possible polar vortex situation seems scarier than ever. In the interest of my current mental health, I’m going to get all of my fears out on the screen right here.

I dread…Long, dark, boring hours inside. Only a few short, freezing minutes available to use the park or playground. Getting motivated to put on all those layers just to leave the house. Wondering whether those layers are enough. Convincing the kid to let you put on all those layers. Convincing him to keep them on and not toss gloves and hats onto the street. Buying winter boots only to have him outgrow them a week later. Letting him run around on ice-covered streets. Maneuvering the stroller over piles of shoveled snow and into icy streets. Wondering if his bedroom is too drafty. Wondering if that cold he has will ever go away. Wondering when we can give up on saline mists. Wondering if the humidifier is actually giving us cancer. Getting out of the house and getting to indoor kids’ activities only to discover they’re too crowded. Going to the doctor’s office for another damn croup cough and knowing you’re probably picking up another virus. Staying home for more sick days. Missing out on yet another ski season. Facing family for more holiday visits where no one understands naptime and picky eating and tantrums and the importance of routine. More long, dark, boring hours inside.

Oh, um, no, that didn’t actually make me feel any better. OK, new plan. I’ll make up all the things I have to look forward to and remind myself why I escaped Florida so many years ago.

I‘m excited for…Pretty leaves! Lots of time for indoor arts and crafts. Time to learn what arts and crafts actually are. Realizing that the kid has become quite good at entertaining himself. Having playdates within walls, so the kids will stay put while we parents get to talk. Not feeling totally guilty for turning on the dreaded screens. Learning how to bake again, now that we have said screens. Playing in the snow. Teaching him how to ride a sled. Teaching him the fun of splashing in puddles with good boots on. Building snow tunnels and slides. Exploring new indoor playgrounds in the neighborhood. Spending time with all those well-meaning relatives over the holidays. Wrapping paper. That day when you notice it’s not quite as dark and cold as it was a week ago.

Phew! That was slightly helpful.

(Photo: Shutterstock)