DS_2011_05_06aI did it. I survived my first winter as a stay-at-home dad with my daughter, Ellie.

Actually, I thought I survived it many times. How many spring fake outs did we have this year? It seems silly with it being May to even mention the word “winter,” but not that long ago, we were still battling the cold repressive hand of Old Man Winter. I’ve never been one to be really affected by the weather. Winter always felt like it dragged on a little bit, but it’s never put the smack down like it has this year. And even though I think I may have the happiest, smiliest kid on the planet, this winter was a cranky stubborn mule, and it had me down.

The first part of winter is never that bad because you have the holidays. And with the holidays, comes junk food. Why be depressed when you have a fresh baked cookie in one hand and homemade fudge in the other? And even after that excitement faded, I still had Ellie’s first birthday at the end of January to keep my mind occupied.

DS_2011_05_06bDS_2011_05_06cBut after that, winter started to feel cold, long, dark, gloomy and loooong. Did I already say long? At times, my perceived isolation and confinement felt paralyzing. It was like being stuck in the same day over and over again like in that movie Ground Hog’s Day.

Diapers, bottle, books, pray for a nap, cook, repeat. We were both going crazy. I found myself turning to the TV many times to keep both me and my Ellie occupied. With Netflix streaming stocked with enough depressing documentaries to fuel my dark gloomy moods, it became a close friend of mine. My wife began to worry about me.

All I had to do was make it to March I thought. But then we had some unexpected warm sunny weather at the end of February. Woah! Sun! Would spring be coming early this year!? We packed up the stroller and headed to to celebrate. What’s a better way to celebrate an early spring than with doughnuts?

Unfortunately, that excitement was short lived. Soon after we were pelted with winter storm warnings and threats of thundersnow. Thundersnow!? Nobody had even heard of that until this year. This was getting bad. Sigh … March. March will be here soon …

March wasn’t much better. Just more cold and more gray weather. We’d try to keep busy to break the routine, though. We went to storytime at the , but that was just one day a week for 30 minutes. We’d go mall-walking too, but you can only do that so many times before going crazy. It’s not like I was shopping. I was just wandering around killing time.

Instead of buying things, I’d buy food with whatever random cash I’d have in my pockets. I’d make it a game. What was the cheapest food item I could find in the mall? I thought it would be at Mrs. Field’s Cookies, but I  was wrong.  Macy’s snack café had sugar cookies for 99 cents. If you ever have a dollar burning a hole in your pocket and you’re at the mall, now you know where to go.

And then April came. Surely, spring was just around the corner, right? Not quite. By then, everybody was cranky and irritable. Even the people who love winter couldn’t take it anymore. And then in mid-April, we had that weekend with sun and 80-degree weather! 80 DEGREES! It was crazy.

When we went for a family walk down by the river, EVERYBODY was out. EVERYBODY! Yes, I’m repeating words on purpose! ON PURPOSE! Spring was here! NOT.

The next day was followed by cold rain and a winter weather advisory. Ugh. It was the end of April! I was battling nap schedules with my kid, she was banned from grocery shopping and I was still waiting for spring. I thought I was going to crack.

Now, after all this rain, I think spring is finally here, and here to stay. Walks, porch sittin’, playgrounds, play dates, I’m ready to get this started. I’ve got Ellie’s stroller all fired up and ready to go. I’ve been pacing back and forth by the front door like a dog that just saw a squirrel. And so has Ellie, but she’s just looking at the birds.

Since she’s walking now, this summer will be a lot more exciting than last year.  Instead of sitting in the grass looking at me like, “What is this stuff?” she’ll be running around chasing birds and other children. She’s a very social kid and isn’t shy at all.

DS_2011_05_06fWhen she sees another kid, she needs to run up to them and hug or touch them. So if you’re ever at the park and see a kid running at you with a smile and open arms, that’s my kid. And if you see some guy running behind her trying to keep up, that’s me.

Yeah, I did it. I survived. I think it’s going to be a really good summer.DS_2011_05_06e


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