Waiting on spring
By Jessie Veeder Scofield
Tips on bringing the sunshine inside
If I told you spring is coming would you believe me?
I checked the calendar and March 19th makes it official, but I’m not so sure. All my years as a North Dakotan have taught me not to rely on spring until at least July 4th.
We all know winters are brutal, and with 7,000 days of cold and snow and a 45 minute drive to civilization, it seems my favorite past time with my two young daughters has been catching viruses and taking trips to the doctor for antibiotics.
But as a mom to a two and a four-year-old, it’s been interesting to see how they have been noticing and interpreting this seemingly endless season for the first time. Every time I drop the girls off at daycare, we drive by the outdoor pool, and my oldest asks, “Why is the pool drained?”
And I answer, “Because it’s winter.”
Then she asks, “But why is it winter?”
And for that I have no answer except, “Because it is.”
Because it is.
And then she moves on to her fun fact about the changing seasons: That spring arrives with the Easter Bunny.
I don’t have the heart to tell her that I’ve participated in too many egg hunts in my snowsuit to believe that theory.
But I doubt it would get my daughters down too much. When you’re little, all you really need is an imagination and the right outfit. And so my girls have been thinking spring since the beginning of January, channeling it by digging out their flip flops and summer dresses and twirling about the house talking about beaches and sun and mermaids. And I have to admit, I love them for bringing the sunshine, because when going outside means an hour and a half just trying to get the two-year-old’s thumbs in her mitten holes and then turning around to find that she’s taken them off before risking the skin on our faces in the cold, I don’t feel we’ve had the proper chance to embrace winter.
So my daughters’ antics and outfits have inspired us to embrace (or maybe summon?) spring.
Here’s what we’ve been up to. I invite you to try some of these tactics too while we wait for our world to warm up.
Plant something green inside: I picked up these cute little farm animal grass planters at a local hardware store and we’ve had fun planting the seeds, watering them and watching them sprout and grow in the sunshine. And when the grass gets tall enough, we get to give the pig and the cow a little haircut. You can also just buy some vegetable seed packets and start your spring garden in an egg carton in a sunny spot. Or simply treat yourself to a new house plant in a fun planter.
Make Real Snow Cones: After a fresh snow (we’re likely to get at least one in March) scoop a bowl full from outside and squirt a little Kool-Aid or juice over the top and the kids dig in. It’s like the county fair in our kitchen.
Have an indoor picnic: The girls got lunchboxes from their grandma for Valentines Day, which inspired me to pack them up a little sandwich, apple and juice box and head downstairs to the basement for a picnic on a blanket in front of their little play tent. It was a good way to practice our pretend skills. Where else but in a child’s imagination can you climb a mountain in North Dakota after lunch?
Let the kids go “swimming” in the bathtub: There’s something a little more magical about a regular old bath when you put on a swimsuit and pull on the goggles. Add a few new floaty toys, a beach ball or water wings and you’ll sell any kid on the idea of a bathtub pool party.
Make a suncatcher: My oldest is always curious about they sky—where the sun goes when it’s behind the clouds and why the moon is big and then it’s small. Making a little suncatcher is a great way to celebrate the warmth of the sun, and there’s lots of fun ways to do it for kids and adults. It can be as simple as cutting up tissue paper and sticking it to Con-Tact Paper or as messy and fun as melting crayons on wax paper and displaying them in Mason jar lids. Just do a quick search on Pinterest of Google and you’re on your way.
Grill something: We’re North Dakotans, so likely a little cold hasn’t kept many of you from the grill this winter. But I find there are certain suppers we only eat in the summer, and I’m starting to crave a good hamburger or rack of ribs on the grill. So skip the winter casserole and make a special evening out of making your favorite summer supper complete with potato salad, baked beans and the freshest veggies you can find. Throw in a margarita or freshly squeezed lemonade and the food will transport you.
Buy some flowers: It’s simple but it sure brightens up a room and serves as a sweet reminder that summer days, filled with sunscreen, bug spray and plastic backyard pools are right around the corner. You’ve got this! Until then, see you at the indoor pool.