Thursday, November 28, 2013

Stir Crazy and It's Only November

I'm not sure I can survive the winter.

Not emotionally, at least.

Take away one day of working out -- two hours of time with adult people away from those who reach my waist or less -- and I'm a basket case. OK, take away my workout and instead give me two miserable weather days cramped up with three children in a small house where our most entertaining option is a game of GIANT BABY (don't ask), and I'm losing it.

OK, so you had to ask. Giant baby involves me hold the baby, who isn't yet vertical all the time, up at waist level or higher in a vertical position and chasing the older girls in circles through the house. The baby loves it. She laughs and squeals. The girls love it. They laugh and squeal at a frequency that might shatter crystal. The dogs think someone is getting hurt and they get nervous and bristly. It makes my head and back hurt.

Yes, for two days the four of us have spent eight hours together with nothing more interesting to look at than the television. Papi comes in on the tail end of the day for his dose of fun and I want to run screaming from the house as soon as supper is on the table.

Tuesday, my daughter noted my frazzled look and told me she'd buckle them in. I went back to the house with tired tears seeping from my eyes.

I love my granddaughters. Please, don't get me wrong. I would not send them to anyone else for daycare. I can't imagine the days without them. But I'm programmed to be outside and they have spent so much time with me that their programming likewise is get outdoors. Chase a leaf, splash in a puddle, ride a bike, go for a hike, drag brush, pretend to be birds and soar around the yard. Run, squeal, move. Inside, well, we're all a bit stir crazy and it comes out by the end of the day.

We all need an outlet for our energy that doesn't involve running in circles around the butcher block island, dumping out or picking up all the toys in the playroom, or simply torturing one another out of frustration.

Last winter I bought a bounce house that will fit quite tidily on the front porch. Unfortunately, it's been too cold or wet to deploy it. It will also fit in the playroom, thank God.

So to fight the frustration we cleared the center of the playroom floor, piling toys anywhere they would fit,shoved the pack and play against the book case, and engaged the bounce house. Even E3 loved it, although she had to content herself with mainly watching the other girls as I wouldn't let her inside while they were bouncing. Her glee when I enforced a break and let her crawl inside, however, was thorough.

Although I didn't get the fix I needed, and had to put up with the rearranging, refereeing and noise of the big blower, I realized it was a small price to pay for lowering the overall discontent in the house. Once again I had to remind myself that I'm the adult, and I'm the one who has to figure out how to make things better, and that even if I seem to make things better only for the little people, my sacrifice will be rewarded with a bit more sanity.

So I guess I'll be firing up the little bounce house until the girls get tired of it, which may not take long as a summer of outings has introduced them to bigger and better bounce houses with climbing walls and slides. Yep, that was my fault. I let them go through the adult sized obstacle course a few too many times. But those are also available and it could be that I decide the investment, if I can find a place for it, is well worth it.

While the rural county where I live has come a long way in developing outdoor recreation, our indoor opportunities, especially for preschoolers, are pretty much nonexistent, despite some large governmental lobbies that I could see housing an indoor playground quite handily. My husband says the noise would be a bother to the workers, but I think closed doors would take care of that and, having worked in one of those buildings, I know there's not a lot that needs quiet that doesn't get a closed door already.

So instead I'll be taking advantage of good old McDonald's and its monster indoor playground. But first I have to find a way to avoid the Happy Meals, because face it, they have the nutritional value of the box in which they are packed, plus a piece of junk toy to boot. Once that hurdle is cleared, I think I'll start scheduling a weekly McDonald's run -- maybe for ice cream? I'm sure toting E3 through the structure will give me a great workout and get me out of the house, so it could turn into a win-win situation.

Oh, I forgot to mention I play on the equipment, too. Hey, they didn't have those when I was a kid, and three preschoolers gives me a great excuse to be the scary lady on the slide.

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