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Trying to Stay Distracted During the Storm

There's no denying that Hurricane Sandy has done tremendous damage in our area and everywhere along its destructive path. My heart goes out to my fellow NYC residents who lost their homes to a horrific fire in Breezy Point, Queens; to the approximately 200 patients at NYU Langone Medical Center who were forced to evacuate the hospital; and to every family and individual that was in harm's way. It can be hard to turn off the news. Sandy's wrath has been closely tracked on Twitter, Facebook, via push notifications to our cell phones, and on television, for those who did not lose power. Those lines of communication have proven invaluable to many—relatives calling 911 on behalf of family members in danger after seeing their mobile posts to Facebook, for example; or notices from city officials about evacuations being promptly delivered. But it's important not to get consumed by the coverage. We don't want to alarm our children unnecessarily, so we do what we can to comfort them and protect them, while being as open as is appropriate for their developmental stage. And sometimes that means pure distraction. In my household, that has meant a variety of things. I admit we didn't suffer too much from cabin fever these past two days—perhaps, my theory goes, because (a) we just got off a cruise ship rocked by Hurricane Sandy, and that's real cabin (stateroom) fever; or (b) my 3-year-old has developed such a ridiculously big repertoire of inside games that we didn't run out of fun least not yet.  

Keeping Busy—and Having Fun Inside—While Sandy Raged Outside

My son's choices for staying amused got him so tuckered out he collapsed into bed the past two nights, and even slept in a bit (truly a first!). A few things on our agenda: • multiple dance parties—in different rooms, with different this one where my son used the bed as his "stage" (clearly this was a special occasion) and entertained us to pirate music (that reminded us all of the awesome pirate celebration aboard the Disney Fantasy before Sandy intervened!):
  • lots and lots of cooking together: my son gathers ingredients, mixes, spills, refers constantly to the recipe and asks me what's next...we always have fun in the kitchen (yesterday: spinach quiche, baked chicken, chocolate cupcakes; today: fresh coffee, grilled cheese, and soon-to-be chicken soup) • building entire towns with Legos, notably with tunnels for all his trucks and diggers • a few mini-marathons of Dora the Explorer and Umi Zoomi (but surprisingly, no TV at all today : ) • pumpkin carving (though, he yucked and yucked at the slimy pumpkin guts, so I did all the dirty work...umm, all the work, at his highly specific direction) • lots of ABC games—at his request—including arranging magnetic letters on white board, flash cards, singing... • hallway ball (thank goodness for our super-long, apartment-length hallways...and for mellow downstairs neighbors) Somehow, we managed to not need to squeeze in many of his favorite past-times like hide-and-seek, puzzles, and we'll save those for tomorrow.  

Ideas for More Ways to Combat Cabin Fever While School's Still Out

Plan a Fun Halloween After Hurricane Sandy  Awesome messy-play ideas from a preschool educator in Norwalk, CT Free Online Games Teaches Kids about Weather Science and Safety Enter Your Kids in Our Awesome Halloween Photo Contest (Win $500 to spend at The Children's Place or Broadway tickets to Peter & the Starcatcher!)   Wishing you and your family safety and comfort during this time of extreme weather! And let's look on the bright side: rescue workers, family bonding, and rainbows—like this one snapped over Brooklyn post-Sandy, taken by Andrea Bernstein over at [caption id="attachment_3410" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Rainbow over Brooklyn after Hurricane Sandy raged through the city; photographed by Andrea Bernstein[/caption]

Dawn M. Roode


Dawn M. Roode was formerly editorial director of NYMetroParents, where she launched the award-winning semi-annual magazine Special Parent. She was managing editor at Parenting, BabyTalk, Child, Harper's Bazaar, and Latina magazines. She is a strategic content specialist and currently writes and edits parenting, health, travel, and special needs features for various media outlets. Roode is mom to one son and recently relocated from Brooklyn to the suburbs of New York City. Follow her on Twitter @DawnRoode.

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