June 30, 2010

Locked In: The Rainy Season

Little kids + rainy season = feeling like a rat in a cage

Around the second week of June the 2010 rainy season began across a large portion of Japan. The rainy season (called “tsuyu” here, rhymes with “screw you”) generally lasts from the start of June to the middle of July. In practical terms this means a constant high chance of cloudy and wet weather, along with muggy air. The type of rain ranges from surprise deluges of water, to regular downpours with gusty winds, to a slight, exasperating misty rain. If you go outside, umbrellas and raincoats are a must. Needless to say, more time than usual is spent indoors.    

Living with a rambunctious, energy-filled 3.5 year-old Terminator during rainy season is not easy. Curiously, little kids seem not to worry about the rain and beg, plead and then scream at you to take them outside to play…NOW! So I have been challenged to find things to do with Lady E. during these rainy days, for example:

- Blowing bubbles in the carport of our apartment complex (which infuriates the crotchety old folks in our building who are worried about their cars’ paint jobs)
- Hitting the toy stores downtown and sampling their wares for hours on end—without any semblance of guilt
- Watching Sesame Street or Anpanman videos: the kiddie Xanax for peaceful weekend mornings
- Frequenting the city’s free open play areas, also popular with other families. With so many other sprites rocketing around in a confined space, it’s like the Coliseum, with playful carnage punctuated with the inevitable crying of the vanquished wee ones.

Glass half-empty thinking: when it rains, we can’t opt for the park to tire ‘em out.
Glass half-full thinking: rain inspires creative thinking for better parenting.
But I can’t help sometimes feeling this way during the rainy season:

Hits like a Phillips head into my brain
It's gonna be too dark to sleep again
Cutting my teeth on bars and rusty chains
I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run


- from "Rusty Cage" by Soundgarden (lyrics by Chris Cornell)

We’ll be hitting the outdoor family pools soon! Yee-hah summer is here.

Photo sources: (top) the Lukaszewski Group/(bottom) sainews.com

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