Go play outside & try not to die, sweetie

Ah, winter. That beautiful time of year when everything dies and the air hurts your face and your soul turns as gray as week-old snow. It’s such a pity it only lasts four months, a mere one hundred and twenty thousand million days too long.

On the plus side, all this miserable weather makes it damn near impossible to leave your house, which means you and your entire family get to stare at one another’s stupid faces nonstop as the four walls around you slowly close in. They say murder rates spike during a heat wave but I think that’s just because the police are finally finding all the thawed out bodies killed in mid-February over a family Monopoly game gone horribly wrong.

Yes, winter is always an intense time but perhaps even more so for parents of small children. This is because:

  1. All a young child wants to do, besides eat your sandwich even though they have their very own perfectly edible and almost identical sandwich, is play. All day. Every day.
  2. These same young children have absolutely no concept of age. Meaning they truly believe that you have as much fun playing “Put Elmo and Mr. Empty Shampoo Bottle Inside the Empty Tupperware Bowl 679 Times in a Row” as they do.

And this is what makes the winter so hard for parents of toddlers and preschoolers. Because while nature deals with its four-month long case of PMS, there is no longer any way of escaping those dreaded words…

“Mommy, will you come play with me?”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love playing with my almost 2-year-old. It’s downright awe-inspiring watching how his little brain works and seeing him laugh and smile at his own creativity and knowing that the greatest joy in his life is having his Mommy sit on the floor with him and play “Loud Truck Runs Repeatedly Over Assorted Teddy Bears and Daddy’s Left Boot.”

Honestly, playing with him gives me a sense of peace and contentment that I’ve never known before. And that beautiful feeling lasts for all of approximately four minutes before I’m checking my watch and mentally calculating the odds of my family staging a coup and overthrowing me if I give them leftover chicken and dumplings for the fourth night in a row.

Seriously, have you ever played with a small child? (And it doesn’t count if you’re getting paid for it). Time literally stops. There you are, four games of Candyland, three puzzles and six rounds of “Smell My Stinky Feet & Humorously Overreact” later, and you check the time to see that no more than 7.5 minutes have passed. And yet you haven’t even BEGUN to quench their thirst for play time. They want more. Oh, how they want more. Always with the more and do it again and one more time and Mommy, why are you crying?

It’s specifically for this reason that the Outside was invented. Because no matter how wonderful of a parent you are, your threshold for the mind-numbing boredom of child’s play will always be reached. It’s nobody’s fault, really. It’s just our brains are wired differently. Child brains find funny noises and repetition and spinning in circles to be the height of entertainment. Parent brains find alcohol makes doing all those things much, much more entertaining.

And so, we tell our beloved offspring to “Go play Outside.” Before we kindly, but firmly, kill them. (Or, being that this is 2016, we actually say “Go play Outside but I have to come with you because you know some muumuu-wearing neighborhood busybody is going to call CPS the second they suspect a child might be unsupervised even for a second but just pretend I’m not here and go play and I’ll sit on this bench and look at my phone and secretly judge people on Facebook.”) Because Outside is a child’s natural habitat. It is endlessly fascinating for children.

Except in the winter. In winter, there is no “go Outside to play.” Hell, there’s not even a “go shovel the driveway” yet in my case, considering my son just figured out what an elbow is yesterday. And if you do make the ill-advised decision to let your children play Outside in winter, you will spend 76 minutes putting outerwear on them only to have them knock on the door 11 minutes later whining “we’re cold!” as they unleash a frozen tsunami of dripping snow throughout your house and leave a pile of wet wool behind that won’t dry out until June.

Anyway, what was my point? Oh yes, that if winter doesn’t end soon I’m pretty sure I’m going to die.

Happy almost-February, everyone!

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3 responses to “Go play outside & try not to die, sweetie

  1. Oh god this post is so true – I nearly cried alongside you 😄

  2. Oh, how I wish blogging had been a thing when ours were toddlers/preschoolers. I felt exactly the same as every word of this post, and I felt SOOO guilty about it. It would have been so nice to know other moms were in the exact same place. Especially with the playing outside in winter thing. Absolute torture.

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