As we all know, the past few weeks in the Bay Area have been a bit… wet. I’m not going to complain about the rain – we need it, and it’s nothing compared to winter around most of the country. However, being unable to partake in my usual outdoor activities with the kids has definitely been a challenge. This past weekend, my husband and I weren’t up for battling the hordes of parents taking their kids out to museums, play spaces, and malls to escape the rain. So, we stayed in. The whole weekend. We reorganized some furniture, cleaned out our cupboards, and put together piles of clothes to donate to charity. But we also had to reckon with two antsy toddlers, desperate for entertainment. Somehow, we made it to Monday – and I came away with a few insights:
- My daughter is the next Beyonce (or at least, Beyonce back-up dancer). We put together a lively pop music mix and had a few dance parties. It’s a great way to burn off energy and lift the “prisoner” mood that settles in after days of rain. First, let me say this. I am not a good dancer. However, my husband has been known to have a few moves in his day. That is why it has never surprised me that our three-year old loves to dance and is, dare I say, quite good. At one point, as she sashayed across the floor, shoulders bopping and hips popping, I pictured myself retired at age 50, watching her perform live via satellite from the comfort of my yacht. (Cut me some slack, it’s been a long couple weeks.)
- Any Thomas the Tank Engine book is made better when you read it with a British accent. My son is in a major “choo choo train” phase. I don’t get it, but he loves everything about them. A few weeks ago, I picked up an impulse buy near the checkout at Costco: Thomas & Friends 5-Minute Stories – The Sleepytime Tales. You guys- Don’t get this book. It’s long. There are twelve “5-minute” stories in this book, but you’ll be lucky to escape having read just three. Plus, each story is all about “chuffing” and “shunting” and “Gordon thundering past.” I was putting myself to sleep, stammering through this train-speak. But then, inexplicably, I began to speak with a refined British accent. And before I knew it, I had animatedly relayed the story of the inspection of Sir Topham Hat’s railway! I got through one more story like this before my two-year old turned to me and put his hand over my mouth, imploring me with desperate but wordless eyes to speak normally.
- Animation is way better now than when we were kids. I am not one to shy away from turning on a screen when the going gets tough. My husband and I need time to just mellow out when the kids are around, and at this age that means screens: the only things that completely occupy them for more than two minutes straight, without the need for active supervision. Plus, the kids know it’s a treat and don’t expect to watch screens all the time. That said, I won’t lie: I also enjoy watching cartoons these days. Zootopia is their latest obsession, and honestly that cartoon is a cinematic masterpiece. I laugh, I cry, I re-evaluate my life choices… and it’s only with a small amount of shame that I admit I may have developed feelings for Nick Wilde, the charming and – ahem – handsome lead character fox. I can’t be the only one who looks forward to his witty repartee with Judy, or swoons when his cool exterior melts away and he opens up to her about past trauma! Right? (Don’t judge me. I’ve been stuck inside with small kids for an eternity.)