I used to have a very idyllic view of winter break. That glorious bit of time when the kids are out of school for a week or more, with the days spent sledding and sipping hot cocoa and making snow people and snow angels and having snowball fights. The very idea of ending each day by a cozy fire with the kids all tuckered out brings a smile to my face.
This is about the closest that I ever get to a fireplace.
And frankly, if you’ve met me, you know that my actual idea of winter fun has nothing to do with being outside in the cold. I’m freezing if the temps dip below 75 degrees. But here we live, in the frozen Northeast, and it snowed early this year. And then the thermometer bottomed out, providing us with wind chills that brought frostbite warnings. Guess what? No sledding. No angels. No snow people. No snowball fights. And I’m really okay with that. I’m not sure where I got that “idyllic” view of winter. It’s not my reality.
When I was young, I could stay out in the snow all day, or so my mother tells me. I think I’ve blocked out this memory to protect myself. I hate the cold so very much.
So what do you do when you have two very rambunctious kids in the house for a week? Let your husband take the week off to be home with them while you go to work.
Okay, I’m kidding. Sort of. I did that, but mostly because he had the vacation time to use, and I did not.
The fact is, it can be really challenging to have any kids home for the week and have it be too cold to send them out to play. The already small apartment starts to feel reeeeeeallly tiny. Have you ever seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory? Think shrinking hallway.
Solution: We can’t let them have too much “tech time” as it’s known in our house, or they start to have pretty bad responses to various things (anything from being asked to take a bathroom break to eating lunch). We tend to restrict tech time anyway, so instead the tactic over Christmas break was to have activities in rotation. I imagine my husband feeling like the entertainment director on a cruise ship: “Okay, everyone, now it’s time to build a pillow fort! At two o’clock you’ll be reading in your room, followed by thirty minutes of video game time on the Lido Deck!” This rotation of things to do really helps prevent the boredom from settling in. Combine this with a lot of sensory activities and opportunities, and I think we all survived it pretty well.
And sure, there was the daily (hourly) argument to break up, and there were good breaks in the middle such as Christmas Eve (lots of baking) and Christmas Day, and spending time together as a family.
Still, I think that after nine days at home with the kids, he was quite ready to return to work yesterday. CubicleLand must have been a welcome sight.