metro mama

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Dreary January

I’ve always found this to be the worst time of the year. There is not enough sun and the lack of light makes me feel as forlorn as Jennifer Aniston, my faculties as sharp as Britney Spears’, my life as vibrant as Stephen Harper’s personality. Even though life is great right now, I still have those blah days. Cakes and I really miss our parks-we still go because it’s been so mild, but there is usually no one there and it’s muddy and cold and there’s nothing to do. I bought Cakes a sled in the fall, with great excitement, envisioning the two of us frolicking through the flakes, building snowmen and making snow angels. It looks like that is not to be.

The thing that allows us to keep our sanity is our drop-ins. I don’t know what we’d do without them. We’re so lucky here-we actually have two great drop-ins that are just a short walk away. One of them we’ve been attending for over a year. We know the other parents quite well now, as well as the staff. The staff are so warm and knowledgeable. I take all of my child-related (and some non-child-related) questions to them, saving me from reading those dreary parenting books. This centre has a rare focus on the mom – there is always a pot of coffee on, and a pair of arms to hold your baby while you pee. Once a week they hold a morning seminar and will provide childcare while mom (or dad) attends. They are a godsend.

We found the second drop-in just two weeks ago. It is run in Cakes’ future school (we lucked into having a good school near our house. When we were house hunting, we were more concerned about the restaurants in the area). This centre is more child-focused and structured. We have song-time and story-time and then the kids head for the gym where we drag out all kinds of balls, cars, and trucks and they run around like maniacs. Great fun. I also like the fact that Cakes is getting accustomed to her future school already.

The other way we’re coping is by having frequent play-dates with our neighbours. There are two great ladies who live right across the street. We all like to read, so we’re going to start exchanging the books we’ve read and holding informal book club while the kids play (it will be even better once the kids are old enough to actually play together and amuse each other and not require constant refereeing).

Despite these blessings, it is still a hard time of the year. I crave warmth, life in my garden, the feeling of sun on my face.

How do you keep your sanity during these dreary winter months?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Up until a couple days ago, how much warmer did you want it to be in January? j/k

But seriously, even though I'm not home with her all day I too have found it increasingly difficult to find things to do when spending time with my daughter. Last night she wanted to go for a walk, but the temperature had dropped so quickly that she made it halfway to the mailbox before she gave up and wanted to go home.

There are only so many iterations of hide and seek (where "hide" means walk ten paces and then turn around, cover your face, and shout "boo" as you remove your hands) before you feel your brain ooze out your ears.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These dark mornings are about killing me. This morning the kids were up at six, and it was two more hours before it was bright enough to open the curtains and turn off the lights. Sigh.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Andy said...

Back to work now, so I haven't seen you at the drop in centre in some time. Must point out that the drop in centre is very parent friendly (not just mom). They made me feel part of the community and I really miss it now that I'm back to work.

What school is your new drop in at?

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Getting out of the house certainly helps.

when the weather sucks (although, seriously, how many days have you been stuck in THIS year?!) we get in the car and go somewhere fun and cheap. IKEA is a great destination - so many places to stop and play, and then you can have a yummy lunch. yesterday, chris took mischa to Petsmart - cheaper than the zoo, they were there for 2 hours looking at 'feeshies' and birds, kittens, etc. Chapters and Indigo almost always have a train table and toys in the kids' section (not to mention the books), and of course, the library always rocks. we take mischa to the rom regularly - we tire her out in the kids' discovery area and then let her sleep in the stroller while we peruse the exhibits.
i utilized all of these spots on mat leave, and still do now.
have fun!

3:46 PM  
Anonymous mamatulip said...

If it's not too cold, we go for walks. We did this morning (it was pretty dern cold though) and it was nice. And the fresh air tires the kids out...added bonus...

Julia and I do a lot of crafty things. It occupies her for hours. And the three of us play together down in the family room a lot. We go to the mall and to the library and the Y and we sometimes visit various retired family members.

And you know, sometimes we just hunker down and make hot chocolate and watch movies.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're in the same boat over here, darkness still falls really early and it can get rather depressing. The playgrounds are damp and cold and the parks (grass) are wet and rather muddy. And until this week, the playgroups were inactive for the holidays!

Playgroups and a couple afternoons of nursery for MF are what get me through the week. And knowing the days are slooooowwwly starting to get a bit longer. And the summer light is a nice tradeoff (although it doesn't feel that way at the moment).

4:43 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

I'm really missing the park, too. We seem to have the first blush of dressup interest going on, so that will be a fun new activity, and she just told me she loves painting, so I'll set up painting some day soon. We've had a couple of fun playdates recently, too, which is really great. Otherwise, we read, do puzzles, have picnics. She also loves going home depot shopping with Misterpie. (He's so proud!)

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I moved to Florida to get away from the winter, so I'm no problem solver, I just run away from them ; )

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We do alot of playdates. (And if mommy has a migraine, I make the living room real dark and then its "movie time.")

We have a nice sized basement. That has saved us alot, as the boy can ride his bigwheel down there to work out excess energy...

But I know what you mean... CAN'T wait for spring!

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in a fairly warm place, so my panic time is when it rains and we can't go out. We've headed to the mall's place play a few times, but that can get expensive. Of course the play place is free, but . . . you know how it goes at a mall.

3:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm finding it hard, too. The park was my godsend in the summer months!

We hang out indoors a lot, and make playdates. When I can't stand it anymore, we go for walks, or, sadly, we pack up and go to a toy store and let him run in the aisles and pretend all the toys are his. We also really like the ROM children's area. Perhaps we could meet there for a playdate some weekend?

I should look into drop-ins in our area and see if they operate on the weekend.

11:32 AM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

You keep bringing me back to the baby days. I do miss them, their littleness, the (relative) simplicity...

But something I do not miss is the feeling of being a shut in. I was insane, and until two years ago we did not have a car I could use during the day. Double Shut In on the really bad weather days.

Play groups, playdates (as long as you like the other parent), libraries and community centres saved my sanity. Oh, and kid friendly coffee shops.

Our schedule is totally different now. I drop the beasties off at nine, pick the wee beastie up at 11:30, and usually have another child over or she goes on a playdate. Then back to the school at 3:30 for big beastie. More playdate hell, running around, extra curricular stuff, homework etc...

Often I go for a walk or a run in High park in the am after I drop them off, and I see so many new parents with THAT look (the what the hell happened to me look)....I think it is imperative to get out and connect. Get the sun on your face.

And if you need a break I'll take Cakes for a day! Really, we would love it around here.

1:16 PM  
Blogger metro mama said...

Hi Andy: You're right, I should say parent. Can you drop me an email at and I'll give you the skinny on the other drop-in.

Crazymumma: Thanks. Maybe the two of us could visit sometime?

Nomotherearth: Can you email me, I don't seem to have your email...

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the winter during my mat leave, I would bundle the girls up and go for walks. We made a lot of trips to the grocery store just to get out of the house. I think this tired me out way more than them. The one hundred layers of winters clothes was always such a pain.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Lisa b said...

I went crazy on the craft supplies this week. I finally broke down and allowed her to paint in the house. Its not as bad as I thought it might be.
I am so jealous of your drop-ins

8:20 PM  
Blogger Marla said...

Riverdale Farm has a free drop-in at the meeting house. I believe it's from 10:45 to 11:45 on weedkdays, different hours on Saturdays. We used it a couple of times every week last year when Josephine wasn't so in need of more running around. Cakes would love it - she's the perfect age for it. The barns are heated, and I highly recommend the tuna sandwiches at Simpson house. We still go to the farm weekly - it's lovely now that there are no crowds. We just find the age for the drop in skews a bit younger.

8:08 PM  

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