It was a long couple of days, but we survived.
The best part was I didn’t have a major meltdown, just a few small emotional breakdowns here and there.
In the days leading up to Hurricane Irene, a lot of mental and physical preparations were made.
Sure, all the standard outdoor measures were taken to secure our belongings and protect our property, but even more prep work was done when it came to our kids and how we were going to handle a serious dose of cabin fever.
Even in the shortest spells, I go a little crazy being inside with both the kids. They are simply into everything and the walls seem to cave in when too much time is spent inside.
Usually, we just head outside when things get a little hairy, such as when Carson tries to scale the fireplace and Beckett attempts to close himself in the refrigerator. This can be particularly stressful when it’s taking place simultaneously, as is often the case.
Of course, during the hurricane we didn’t have the luxury of taking them outside to play and burn off some energy, so we had to get creative, and that’s where Pam entered the picture.
I had been fretting over the onset of cabin fever for a couple days leading up to Irene. I was more concerned about keeping sanity inside the house than flooding, wind or rain outside the house. That could have been tunnel vision at its worst, perhaps.
The morning was not so bad actually, as we were able to keep the kids pacified with various games and lots of snacks.
The big hit of the morning was a “grocery store” game Pam seemingly invented on the fly, utilizing a large wooden set built to be a roadside grocery stand. It went well, as Beckett and Carson switched between roles as cashier and shopper. Pam pretended to be the store manager/referee, while I opted to be a fellow shopper competing with my kids for items such as chocolate milk and peanut butter.
Later, after pumping them full of food and drink during lunch, we slowly started winding down and looking forward to a little afternoon nap for both boys.
However, it became immediately clear that Beckett would not be napping on this particular day.
Although we gave it the old college try (by that, I mean bribes), we knew it was going to be difficult to get him down, since he usually requires serious running and playing to be exhausted enough to take an afternoon nap.
There would be no rest for the parents on this particular day, as he was neither tired nor willing to even accept some quiet time in his room.
It was right around the time when Beckett started doing a chant to go out to the pool when the lights suddenly flickered out, and I had to cover my mouth to shield my reaction.
It was 3:11 p.m.
“Alright it’s a power outage everybody,” I overheard Pam enthusiastically saying to the kids, as I wandered out of the room, wondering to myself whether I was going to survive this day after all.
That’s when the Old Maid, Memory and Go Fish card games came out that Pam had purchased the day before and we tried to make the best of it.
A couple hours went by and we had basically become resigned to the fact we were going to be dealing with a prolonged outage. Fortunately, despite the heavy rains, there was enough daylight in the house that it wasn’t a huge problem.
The major difficulty, of course, was not being able to use technology for the most part to keep the kids entertained. We were prepared for this, but there’s nothing you can say to a 3-year-old boy when he walks up to the light switch, turns it on, nothing happens and has a meltdown subsequently.
Although it was challenging, the kids eventually warmed to the power outage, particularly enjoying their baths and the fact I struggled a few time with the onset of darkness. They particularly loved when I got down on my knees trying to find the shampoo and banged my head on the tub. Carson laughed so hard he wiped out in the tub, causing Beckett drop to one knee so he could slap the other during a good belly laugh.
To the delight of everyone in my house, the lights came back on at 6:51 that night, just in time to give the kids some light before they turned in for the night.
When both were asleep, there were some huge sighs of relief from Pam and me.
I truly feel parenting is a team operation, and there were high fives exchanged that night on making it through the day.
Some rest even ensued until another power outage took place shortly after 11 that night.
To our surprise, the loss of power actually woke Beckett up, as he stammered to our room, announcing that he didn’t feel good and had developed a nasty cough. That capped off a doozy of a day.
Consequently, we made an exception that night and let him hunker down with us in bed.
That next morning, with only remnants of Irene hanging around, I was intent on getting outside as soon as possible to survey the damage around the area.
As luck would have it when Carson woke up Sunday morning, he had a nasty cough and a temperature.
It was a long weekend indeed.