Cabin fever has been in full effect at my place over the last month.
That’s why we have more often than we care to admit utilized technology this winter to help entertain the kids. However, there have to be limits and that’s why we have resorted to desperate measures to give our kids some sort of energy outlet when Mother Nature makes it difficult.
• The treadmill in the house has always been off-limits to the kids until this winter.
No matter how cold it is, we always get our boys, ages 5 and 6, outside, even if it’s just for a quick game of tag or a race to the end of the property and back, but there are days when it’s just too miserable out to do much more than that.
On one of those recent occasions, I lifted the standing rule that the boys are not to use the treadmill. I basically altered it to allow one boy at a time so long as I was at the controls.
For some reason, whenever he gets on the treadmill, Carson likes to hit all fours. The first couple times he did it I figured it was because he was unsure of himself on it and needed stability or something like that. Soon enough, I discovered what he was doing. He was impersonating an animal. I just didn’t know which one for sure until he started lifting his hind leg, as if he was a dog urinating on a tree or fire hydrant. I have no idea why or how that came about, but amazingly enough he was able to do it without falling off.
When it’s his turn, Beckett dons the daredevil hat. He likes to push the proverbial envelope by seeing how fast he can go and how long he can maintain a certain speed. With his confidence growing, last weekend he added in some skips and jumps while upping the speed, despite my constant badgering and turning down the speed. Eventually, he learned his lesson, wiping out and skinning his knee. Of course, he blamed me for the mishap and now wants nothing to do with the treadmill, particularly after having to endure my lecture.
That’s probably for the best anyway.
• Along with sledding, the most fun my kids have had outside in the snow was on their in-ground trampoline.
It turns out while covered with snow the trampoline provides an even softer landing and launch pad for all sorts of silly maneuvers. My boys loved running on it and sliding headfirst as I played the home plate umpire. Of course, they were safe every single time.
I even tried it out a couple times and that was fun until the boys joined forces in a sneak attack, putting snow down my shirt and pants.
• On another cabin fever day during this miserable winter, we set up all their musical instruments and let them go crazy. There were drums, cymbals, keyboards, harmonicas, whistles, tambourines, guitars and microphones.
I’m not sure there is anything that wracks the nerves more than being in the same room with Beckett and Carson with nothing but musical instruments to beat on. There was Beckett strumming a guitar with one hand, while banging on a drum with the other and simultaneously using his foot on the kick drum and somehow also managing to blow into the harmonica between his teeth.
All the while Carson, the non-verbal child of the house, in what looked like his best imitation of Stevie Wonder, who he saw on television recently, is standing a couple feet away humming into a microphone while playing the keyboards.
It was a great photo moment but all the pictures turned out blurry from their constant state of motion as well as my hands shaking from the assault on the nerves.
• When all else failed and the kids’ boredom set in during the recent snow, we would pile in the four-wheel drive vehicle and go for a ride.
I like driving in the snow in my truck and tend to actually seek out snow to drive over. At one point, I must have gotten a little out of control because Beckett called me out.
“Why wouldn’t you just drive around that huge pile of snow?,” Beckett asked from the back seat.
My only reply was, “there is no fun in that.”
I can see that comment coming back up years from now and biting me you know where.
• With outside time limited, Beckett’s new xBox One has been getting extra usage of late.
You know it’s bad when I’m throwing soccer video games to keep my son entertained. On a recent day when it was too cold to do anything outside, I intentionally lost three straight games to Beckett in our best of seven series. Because he wasn’t focused or maybe he was taking it easy on me, I then rattled off three straight wins much to his dismay, setting up the pivotal seventh game rubber match.
That game went into double overtime before he finished me off in fair fashion.
“Now what?,” he asked me in his best “I’m not done with you yet” voice.
I suggested chess, which was not as even of a matchup and he subsequently lost interest quick.