Yesterday I spent most of the morning in the park with P., who had a wonderful time despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that I had both forgotten to bring a towel to wipe down the equipment and neglected to put her in her rain suit. She ended up completely soaked, but it wasn’t a total #momfail as I had packed spare clothes in her diaper bag and I still had the cozy sleeping bag on the stroller even though it was probably too warm outside for it. So she had fun getting soaking wet and dirty and then I was able to wrestle her into new clothes to keep her warm and dry long enough to get home.
What was interesting about the outing (other than the fact that I learned to keep spare mittens in the diaper bag
because P. will always opt to play with puddles) was that during the whole time we were at the park we saw a total of twelve other people.
Every single one of them was an adult walking a dog.
When I think about the winter that E. was this age, some of my clearest memories are of the two of us at the various neighbourhood parks, without another soul around. (I can remember taking multiple photos to illustrate this point because I just couldn’t get my head around it.)
I don’t understand why it seems to be accepted practice here that once the temperature drops below about 8 degrees Celsius, or it’s a bit wet, the dogs have to go outside but the children don’t.
I get that if you don’t take dogs outside for walks they will pee on the floor and eat your furniture, but if I don’t take my kids outside they may not pee on the floor (ok, P. would if given the chance) but they will certainly destroy the house (or make it feel like that’s what they’re doing) and drive me absolutely up the wall.
We had an extremely wet Sunday a couple of weeks ago and after P had woken up from her nap I stuffed her and E. into their rain gear (under mighty protests from E.) and took them outside to jump in puddles. We ended up finding a massive puddle in a nearby laneway and they spent a happy forty minutes playing in it (E. jumped in it and ran through it; P. did everything short of lying down in it face first). When they were both soaked (despite the rain gear) and starting to look cold, I brought them back inside for a bath.
They were SO MUCH happier for the rest of the afternoon and the evening, which meant that I was happier too.
There was no whining.
Admittedly I will keep them inside in extreme weather conditions (massive thunderstorms or temperatures below -30 degrees Celsius), and there are days when we don’t go out for long, but even fifteen or twenty minutes mucking around in the yard does wonders.
E’s school has just started a pilot project where the children go outside for recess no matter what the weather is (unless it is dangerous). It won’t be fully in place for another year or two, but I was so pleased to hear about the initiative. I can’t imagine what it is like for the teachers on the days where the kids don’t go out.
As for my two, P. loves to go outside, so it’s never a hard sell with her. E. is very much a homebody and thinks he would be happy to stay inside all day long, except that by the late afternoon he’s crabby and combative and bouncing off the furniture (literally- he will run around the main floor telling a story while ricocheting off of the couches).
I sympathize, because I’m a homebody too at heart, but I’ve learned that I need to get out of the house as much as they do. I’ve had to take a hard look at my wardrobe to make sure that I’m not making it easier to keep them inside because I don’t have the right clothes to be outside with them.
Most of the time, there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing.
Do the kids vanish from your neighbourhood as soon as the weather shifts?