Finding Joy in Lockdown - theHumm February 2021

Finding Joy in Lockdown - theHumm February 2021

By Sarah Kerr

I had a bit of the “blue Monday” feels as I sat down to write this month’s Little Humm column. But the whole point of this column is to add some joy and encouragement to all my parenting peeps in the Valley. So in an effort to find inspiration for February, which is currently forecasting a continued lockdown and possibly a polar vortex, I decided to survey the kids of the Ottawa Valley to see how they think we should handle this situation. And it turns out, they’re not as upset about lockdown in winter as we grown-ups.

First, I checked in with my own kids. I asked them what their favourite thing to do in lockdown is. My 2-year-old replied, “If I get in a cage I will be sad.” Oops, sorry honey, we’re already in lockdown and nobody is putting you in a cage. But yes, thanks for expressing how we’ve been feeling for the last ten months: caged and sad! Once I helped to clarify my question, however, she added that her favourite things to do are to “play tea parties with my toys and drink hot chocolate with chocolate chips”. Yes, she and more than thirty other kids from Arnprior to Westport pitched in to give me their thoughts on how best to find joy in lockdown. And it all really boiled down to embracing the snow and ice, getting cozy, letting out those bad feelings, and getting back to play!

Embrace the Snow & Ice

Although grownups are missing sun vacations and wishing the winter away, the kids of the Valley come alive this time of year. After all, we’re Canadian, eh?! My 8-year-old neighbour Hunter summed it up well. “My favorite things to do,” he says, “are to go skating on our outdoor rink and practice my stick handling and take shots on the hockey net!” Rory (10) and Egan (8) both agreed that playing on the outdoor rink is their top choice while Abby (7) and Isabelle (5) added that skating with family is the best way to spend winter in lockdown. Now of course we don’t all have access to an outdoor rink. But for the rest of us, there’s always the snow. Which was by far the most popular of the lockdown activities.

Trystan (6) and Gabriel (8) told their mom that any kind of snow fun is their favourite. Noah (9) and Jack (7) like to “hit the jumps we made in our yard on our skis.” Charlotte (10) made two small sledding hills in her yard and little Patrick (17 months) likes to go for rides on the doo doo… (I think that’s toddler for skidoo). Ana (5) made maple taffy on snow with her family, and then, of course, there are the snow forts.

Evan (8) says his favourite thing is “making a snow fort in the backyard”. Alice (6) and Harriet (8) took this to the next level and built a snow fort with thirty recycled Christmas trees! “My favorite thing is building snow forts and having snow fights,” said Joseph (4), while his little brother Lochlan (3) added that “I love Joseph frowing snowballs at me”. Wyatt (2) just moved here from sunny South Africa but decided that “making snowmen and reading” are the best quarantine activities. And creative Orlaith (5) suggests that when you make snow forts, you can add “snow carriages so you can play king and queen outside… and use food colouring ice cubes to be jewels… but also, pillow forts!”

Get Your Cozy On!

Ah yes, the infamous pillow fort. I spend my days returning cushions to their rightful homes just to turn around and be greeted by a guard or a queen at yet another cushy creation. However, I have to confess that getting your cozy on is one of my personal favourite lockdown activities, and thankfully my daughter Hannah said snuggling is one of her top choices too. “Me and my mommy had a sleepover in lockdown.” Yes, we need to work on her grammar, but her hospitality is off the hook… “I got all my cozy blankets and stuffies and then we snuggled together and watched a movie in our basement and I planned all our favourite snacks.” Nora (7) has figured out that “staying in pyjamas all day” is a great way to cozy in. And of course, in lockdown, we need our books! Little Ayla (2) said reading books is her top activity. Quite impressive for a two-year-old. But if you want to take getting cozy to the next level, both Wyatt (4) and Ruby (3) say that playing with their dogs is the best part of lockdown. The snuggle is real as they say, so don’t worry if all these ideas don’t beat the blues for you, the kids have got you.

It’s okay to feel blue!

I have to say the best little nugget of advice came from Llewyn (2) who said we should just “throw balls or punch a pillow if you get mad”. Now, I have the pleasure of knowing this little guy, and he’s SO mellow. This was the last thing I would expect him to say, really, but he reminded me that it’s okay to feel sad, mad or disappointed during this time — you can just punch a pillow or something to process those feelings and move on. I personally always over-complicate it and judge my negative feelings. So thanks for the counseling little buddy, the cheque’s in the mail.

Eat & Play

When punching pillows or snuggling them doesn’t work, there’s always treats and good old-fashioned play. Piper (4) has it down! She says, “My favorite things are to eat, play with toys, play with mommy and when I’m good watch a show.” Yaas, girl. Her brother Sawyer (6) adds that card games are a personal favorite. Avery (6) says playing with dinosaurs are fun, while Arclan (6) says “action-figure hunting” is awesome. Just get someone to hide your action figures around the house or in the yard and you have to rescue them. Costumes and props welcome. Otis (6) likes to work on his art, and he was just featured on CTV Ottawa! John (8) likes to play LEGO, do crafts and read books, and Sam (6) likes those things as well as dinner with his family. He says, “I don’t mind lockdown”.

The moral of this story? Turns out I know a lot of 6-year-olds! Just kidding. That’s not it. Instead of getting too blue, let’s just forget our expectations for a normal winter, grab some action figures and hide them in the yard. Make hot chocolate with chocolate chips and then snuggle in our pillow forts. Let’s allow ourselves to feel our feelings but then grab a treat and go play in the snow. Just do it! The spring will be here before we know it and we’ll look back nostalgically on that “winter in lockdown” when we had too, I mean, soo much family time. Leona (4) said “spending time with family” is the absolute best part of lockdown anyway. Thanks for reminding us adults of the important stuff, kids.


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