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Rain, Rain, Yay, Yay!

It’s November and it’s raining! For transplants from the Midwest like me, those long months without a drop of rain are wearing. We have a memory stored deep in our bodies of the refreshing rain that washes away a sticky hot day. So although I love our foggy summers, and revel in wearing tank tops during those hot days we get in the fall, the return of rain is joyful…
…until the reality sets in. Oh, yeah, it’s raining. So what are we going to do? My daughter excitedly asked me this morning whether, since it was raining, we could go rent a video in the afternoon. For her, renting a video is a rare treat. And I have to say, I do occasionally give in. But when I don’t, I have to get creative.
First off, I remind myself that we don’t melt. When the kids were small, we used to go out on rain walks. Often we ran into neighbors who had a similar tradition. It was like a pool party, but without the pool and with rain boots. Kids just love splashing in puddles, and I make sure, before we go outside, that they’re dressed in clothing that won’t suffer from a dip in the mud.
If it has stopped raining enough to be safe, I let the kids take their bikes through the puddles. We get a great big one right out in front of our house that’s great for zooming through on a bike.
Another thing that’s great in the rain is the redwood forest. The scent of a wet forest is one of the nicest sensations in life, and if it’s raining lightly, you’re mostly protected under the trees. The sounds are all different and mysterious.
We try to make trips to the beach during winter weather as well. High surf has pretty high entertainment value, and beachcombing is much more fruitful when storms have come through.
Rainy days are a great time to start a project that would usually be too long for a short attention span. We have a children’s loom that I take out from time to time. It doesn’t make anything particularly useful, but the product is the right size to be a doll blanket and the sensory experience of drawing thick yarn back and forth is mesmerizing on a dark day.
Baking, of course, is a must in the wintertime. I try to make recipes that keep so that I can give them as wintertime gifts. Mandelbrot (the Jewish answer to biscotti) is a good one. My daughter and I like to make tea, and invite people over to serve it to.
In the evening we start thinking about lighting a fire. But first we have to move wood up under the eaves to dry. That’s where “Little House on the Prairie” comes in. We have read these books out loud to both children. We stopped about halfway through the series with our son, but our daughter wants to hear every last word. Stories about a time in human history (not so long ago) when people had to work or die are very important. Tonight Laura and Almanzo are driving a sled through the bitter cold, trying to reach town before they freeze to death. If I’m feeling creative when it’s time to move the woodpile, I could make a game out of it.
Sometimes we get really cranky when it’s raining and we’ve been in all day. That’s when I have to remember some small thing that we have to do, just to change the direction of the day. I’ve put the free days for all our local museums on my calendar… I must remember that the next time we’re getting snippy with each other. I might just have to promise a hot chocolate at a cafe as a prize, but since getting out of the house is the goal, I’ve won as soon as we’ve stepped out the door in our coats and boots, swinging our umbrellas, and singing in the rain!

Posted in Parenting.

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