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This past fall, the weather was unseasonably warm throughout Western New York. I took advantage of it, taking long walks through the park while pushing Maggie in her stroller. I was able to get out of the house most days and we both enjoy the outdoors. Maggie really loves being outside, even at this early age. She watches everything with such innocent curiosity and the fresh air always puts her to sleep. But now that winter is here and the snow has finally accumulated on the ground, I haven’t taken Maggie outside in weeks. The only time she’s “outdoors” is when we are transporting her from the house to the car and vice versa. It’s kind of a bummer.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love winter. My wife and I ski and participate in other fun activities that involve snow. But Maggie is only six months old, which puts our winter playtime on hold. In other words, we won’t be skiing anytime soon. So I’ve been on the lookout for indoor activities instead. The other day, my wife suggested that I take Maggie to the mall to walk around. Going to the mall to walk seems a bit mundane. Besides, I don’t really want to be one of those mall walkers. You know them—they wear big white walking shoes and one-piece sweat suits, and they swing their arms aggressively from side-to-side. They tend to follow the big mosaic marble lines in the floor, the ones that wrap around the entire mall. If you get in their way, they’ll huff and puff until they pass you by. No, mall walking is definitely not my thing. How do I know? Because I’ve already done it recently. While Christmas shopping with another friend of mine who has two young children, we found ourselves pushing our strollers along those very lines in the floor at pretty good pace. She turned to me suddenly and gasped, “Are we mall walking?” I looked down at the floor and back up at her, sadly admitting, “Yes, yes we are.”
There are other places besides the mall that I could take Maggie in order to get out of the cold, such as the art museum, the zoo or a variety of other cultural spots. I also continue to take Maggie to music class and we are even thinking of enrolling her in a swim class as well. But as far as walks go (and being outside in general), I’ll have to wait until the weather warms up a bit. In the meantime, I play with Maggie often and try to keep her busy. Well, I try to keep myself busy, too. I don’t want to get into the habit of watching television and become one of those stay-at-home moms that watch soap operas or daytime talk shows all day long. I usually flip on ESPN while I’m feeding her a bottle or later in the day before my wife comes home from work. Unfortunately, earlier this week I found myself glued to a Lifetime movie. (To be fair, Angie Harmon was in it so that’s what initially caught my attention. She’s been in my top five for years.) Thankfully, I realized what I was doing about halfway through and turned it off. I decided to make myself useful and went in the kitchen to make dinner instead.
Lyndsey D'Arcangelo is the author of the Golden Crown Literary Society Award-winning book, The Trouble with Emily Dickinson and its sequel, The Education of Queenie McBride. While she continues to freelance and write fiction, the majority of her time is spent looking after her baby daughter, Maggie and watching ESPN. (lyndseydarcangelo.com)