Summer is about to start in the Northern Hemisphere (where I’m from – maybe you’ve heard of it) and there are all kinds of articles coming out about how to help your kids enjoy the season.
First of all, I don’t need anyone telling me how to help my little miracle baby enjoy summer. He pretty much spends the whole time getting a serious tan in the driveway, blasting Bing Crosby Christmas music and scanning the sky for UFOs. If that doesn’t say summer, I don’t know what does.
But here in the Southern Hemisphere, winter is approaching. Winter’s a bit different down here, in that it’s not particularly cold, but it still feels that way because the summers are so nice.
My son, being Australian, freaks out like the rest of the country when the weather gets a little different from perfect. So I’ve had to be creative to get him to appreciate the chilly season.
Here’s how I do it:
1. Have fun with different clothes
I know you love to put your kid in those cut off t-shirts that say “Bikini Inspector”, but it’s too cold for that now! Time to put on a long sleeve shirt, preferably one that goes to the waist. If you need to put a message on there, try to keep it winter appropriate.
2. Get outdoors
Just because it’s a bit chilly doesn’t mean you need to stay inside. As soon as my son wakes up, I sit with him on the balcony, drinking my coffee, enjoying the view. Of course, he doesn’t enjoy it at first and usually starts screaming, “Get me the f#$@ outta here!” But after a little while, he settles in and appreciates the brisk temperature.
3. Get back indoors at some point
People are not bears. They need to be inside. Don’t just stay outside because I told you to. That’s just common sense, people!
4. Winter crafts
Have you ever made a mountain lion trap? What about snow shoes? There are just a few of the wintry things my little miracle and I love to make together. I don’t know if there are any mountain lions in the area and it definitely doesn’t snow, but sometimes being a good parent has nothing to do with reality.
My son loves animals and he hates to see them caged up. So every winter, we sneak into the local animal prison and set them all free. It causes quite a stir and it’s actually really dangerous, so I don’t recommend it to people with no spine and zero sense of decency towards animals.
6. Hit the sauna
One of the best feelings in the world is when it’s cold outside and you’re warm inside (because, as discussed, we are not bears). So sometimes in the dead of winter, my son and I will take our shirts off, laugh at each other’s tattoos and jump into the sauna.
7. Get your winter cocktail on
I love cocktails no matter what time of year it is and there are all kinds of great winter cocktails that make your insides all toasty, whether it’s a Vanilla Vixen or a Peppermint Patty or a Gingerbread Man-tini.
Of course, I’m not advocating you serve alcoholic drinks to your children. I make virgin versions of all my concoctions.Here’s a recipe for one of my favourites:
The Holy Agnostic Brandy Brain Smasher
Yes, that’s its actual name. I learned about it while backpacking through the darkest corners of Iceland, spending my days writing a manifesto railing against the immoral advances in Christmas tree technology and my nights deep in the nuzzling embrace of a bear-fighting prostitute named Drunka.
Before you get excited, it was a strictly platonic relationship. Drunka taught me how to dream, how to hope – and how to make this delicious drink!Ingredients:
350ml of “breasty” brandy
7 pints of lime juice
2 whole apples
4 of “your fears”
89 cans of tuna
13 of those cute bear-shaped containers of honey
6 snarky reactions to current events
1 can of vegetable soup
Fill a highball glass with crushed ice and crushed dreams. Dump all the ingredients a bathtub or cauldron. Climb in. Laugh until a certain temperature is reached. Pour (serves 2).
I’ve never eaten squirrel but it does not look good. Plus, it doesn’t make much sense to go through the trouble of freeing animals at the zoo and then watching them get skinned and eaten in a movie just because “Winter” is in the title.
9. Create a winter playlist
My son and I love music. That’s just how we’re wired. So every winter we go through my massive, impressive iTunes collection to determine how we’re going to remember the season.
Here’s our latest:
2. White Christmas – The Stranglers
3. Blue Suede Shoes – Half Japanese
4. Hot Dogs in my Shoes – Rage Against Matthew Modine
5. Spell Check – Horace and the Horatios
6. Right This Way – The Waiters
9. Drunka’s Theme – The Icelandic Prostitute Orchestra
10. Why Must I Fall Down the Stairs? – The Beatles
11. Get the Remote from Roger – Bob Marley
12. I’m Not Angry, You’re Stupid – Fights with the Wife
13. Shower Fishing – Mick and the Jaggers
14. Thomas the Train Stole My Idea – Hugo the Helicopter
15. Pork and No Beans – The Icelandic Prostitute Orchestra
16. Rhode Island – Not Really an Island
17. Archipelago – What’s An Archipelago?
18. Hand Sanitiser – Stay Safe
19. Some People Never Learn – The Regrets
20. My Browser – Computer Quiz
10. Start a Winject (Winter Project)
There’s nothing quite so satisfying as starting a project with your child and finishing it by the end of the season.
Here are a couple of the winjects my son and I have completed in the past:
Climbing a mountain… painting
It’s not as impressive as climbing a real mountain, but the boy and I climb right on top of some painting and stomp around for a little while and take pictures and pretend we can see the White House. It’s fantastic.
Build a McDonald’s
Everyone loves McDonald’s. But not everyone can build one.