We valiantly held it at bay as long as possible but this final week of February, the longest week of the year every year, our household’s creative stamina ran out and winter cabin fever hit us hard. I wish it was as bizarre as when the muppets get cabin fever, but for us it means a mom with a threenager and infant who have not seen a sunny warm day in months.
Yesterday in a moment of desperation I placed a ban on screens. Since little Kitty was born back in September my boundaries for screen time have grown lax. When my toddler could not handle the idea that we would not watch a documentary clip about monkeys until after nap time (not a new concept, we do not watch things before afternoon nap anyways) I realized I had created a monster and it was time for drastic measures.
After nap time yesterday we had a tea party instead.
This morning we had another one.
These cabin fever teas have been a pleasant shift in our mother-daughter relationship which hit a rough spot this week to be sure. Now instead of the steady stream of “no, don’t, stop,” (rinse, repeat) conversations that flew back and forth between us, we speak in silly proper voices saying “oh yes pleeeeease I would loooove another rasin” and dissolve into giggles.
Here is how this morning’s tea went. If you need a moment of whimsy injected into your daily mothering I recommend a toddler tea party; little boys and little girls alike love them.
Since we had our tea party at the dining table yesterday, today we switched up the location by moving to the play table. This made it even more special since food is usually NOT allowed on the carpet. I made sure to emphasize how exciting and new this was. The dog were certainly appreciative of the new location.
We stick to basic snack foods for tea parties, apple slices, raisins, graham crackers, nuts, etc. It’s the presentation points that elevate these familiar foods to something special. Today I pulled out some ramekins to use as our plates and a little stemmed glass bowl that belonged to my grandmother held the alphabet crackers.
I do make a pot of real black tea, set out a ceramic creamer, sugar bowl and dainty breakable teacups. After I pour the initial spot of hot tea, Dellabug presides over the table offering milk and sugar and preparing both our cups.
These little tea cups have seen better days, they are thrift shop finds intentionally purchased for toddler teas with the knowledge they may break. However the creamer, a souvenir from our year in England, the blue bowl from my grandmother and the tea pot are all near and dear to me. Although the idea of them breaking is a little worrisome for me, I choose to use them and let my daughter use them too because memories like these are better than dusty antiques forgotten on a shelf. For me it’s an exercise in caring; if something breaks we will have a chance to clean up, possibly glue together (or not), and learn that it is important to be careful because things break, and more importantly, people are more important than things.
I have wonderful memories of teas spent with my grandmother. She let me put in as much sugar as I wanted (and I wanted ALL the sugar) and we used a tiny tea yellow daffodil tea set. One thing I learned from that for my own children, only put a tiny amount of sugar in the bowl if you are going to let them do everything for themselves!
Before I realized it an hour had gone by without any whining, crying, or begging. It certainly was not the tea party alone that did the trick, it was the fact that I sat down with her and we spent intentional enjoyable time together. It was delightful to take time to really see her smiles, listen to her chirpy voice, and notice her quirky humor. I will never miss winter, but as the seasons of life continue their heartless march I will miss these days for what they hold.