Finding Joy in Lockdown - theHumm February 2021
Finding Joy in Lockdown - theHumm February 2021
By Sarah Kerr
I had a bit of the “blue Monday” feels as I sat down to write this month’s Little Humm column. But the whole point of this column is to add some joy and encouragement to all my parenting peeps in the Valley. So in an effort to find inspiration for February, which is currently forecasting a continued lockdown and possibly a polar vortex, I decided to survey the kids of the Ottawa Valley to see how they think we should handle this situation. And it turns out, they’re not as upset about lockdown in winter as we grown-ups.
First, I checked in with my own kids. I asked them what their favourite thing to do in lockdown is. My 2-year-old replied, “If I get in a cage I will be sad.” Oops, sorry honey, we’re already in lockdown and nobody is putting you in a cage. But yes, thanks for expressing how we’ve been feeling for the last ten months: caged and sad! Once I helped to clarify my question, however, she added that her favourite things to do are to “play tea parties with my toys and drink hot chocolate with chocolate chips”. Yes, she and more than thirty other kids from Arnprior to Westport pitched in to give me their thoughts on how best to find joy in lockdown. And it all really boiled down to embracing the snow and ice, getting cozy, letting out those bad feelings, and getting back to play!
Embrace the Snow & Ice
Although grownups are missing sun vacations and wishing the winter away, the kids of the Valley come alive this time of year. After all, we’re Canadian, eh?! My 8-year-old neighbour Hunter summed it up well. “My favorite things to do,” he says, “are to go skating on our outdoor rink and practice my stick handling and take shots on the hockey net!” Rory (10) and Egan (8) both agreed that playing on the outdoor rink is their top choice while Abby (7) and Isabelle (5) added that skating with family is the best way to spend winter in lockdown. Now of course we don’t all have access to an outdoor rink. But for the rest of us, there’s always the snow. Which was by far the most popular of the lockdown activities.
Trystan (6) and Gabriel (8) told their mom that any kind of snow fun is their favourite. Noah (9) and Jack (7) like to “hit the jumps we made in our yard on our skis.” Charlotte (10) made two small sledding hills in her yard and little Patrick (17 months) likes to go for rides on the doo doo… (I think that’s toddler for skidoo). Ana (5) made maple taffy on snow with her family, and then, of course, there are the snow forts.
Evan (8) says his favourite thing is “making a snow fort in the backyard”. Alice (6) and Harriet (8) took this to the next level and built a snow fort with thirty recycled Christmas trees! “My favorite thing is building snow forts and having snow fights,” said Joseph (4), while his little brother Lochlan (3) added that “I love Joseph frowing snowballs at me”. Wyatt (2) just moved here from sunny South Africa but decided that “making snowmen and reading” are the best quarantine activities. And creative Orlaith (5) suggests that when you make snow forts, you can add “snow carriages so you can play king and queen outside… and use food colouring ice cubes to be jewels… but also, pillow forts!”
Get Your Cozy On!
Ah yes, the infamous pillow fort. I spend my days returning cushions to their rightful homes just to turn around and be greeted by a guard or a queen at yet another cushy creation. However, I have to confess that getting your cozy on is one of my personal favourite lockdown activities, and thankfully my daughter Hannah said snuggling is one of her top choices too. “Me and my mommy had a sleepover in lockdown.” Yes, we need to work on her grammar, but her hospitality is off the hook… “I got all my cozy blankets and stuffies and then we snuggled together and watched a movie in our basement and I planned all our favourite snacks.” Nora (7) has figured out that “staying in pyjamas all day” is a great way to cozy in. And of course, in lockdown, we need our books! Little Ayla (2) said reading books is her top activity. Quite impressive for a two-year-old. But if you want to take getting cozy to the next level, both Wyatt (4) and Ruby (3) say that playing with their dogs is the best part of lockdown. The snuggle is real as they say, so don’t worry if all these ideas don’t beat the blues for you, the kids have got you.
It’s okay to feel blue!
I have to say the best little nugget of advice came from Llewyn (2) who said we should just “throw balls or punch a pillow if you get mad”. Now, I have the pleasure of knowing this little guy, and he’s SO mellow. This was the last thing I would expect him to say, really, but he reminded me that it’s okay to feel sad, mad or disappointed during this time — you can just punch a pillow or something to process those feelings and move on. I personally always over-complicate it and judge my negative feelings. So thanks for the counseling little buddy, the cheque’s in the mail.
Eat & Play
When punching pillows or snuggling them doesn’t work, there’s always treats and good old-fashioned play. Piper (4) has it down! She says, “My favorite things are to eat, play with toys, play with mommy and when I’m good watch a show.” Yaas, girl. Her brother Sawyer (6) adds that card games are a personal favorite. Avery (6) says playing with dinosaurs are fun, while Arclan (6) says “action-figure hunting” is awesome. Just get someone to hide your action figures around the house or in the yard and you have to rescue them. Costumes and props welcome. Otis (6) likes to work on his art, and he was just featured on CTV Ottawa! John (8) likes to play LEGO, do crafts and read books, and Sam (6) likes those things as well as dinner with his family. He says, “I don’t mind lockdown”.
The moral of this story? Turns out I know a lot of 6-year-olds! Just kidding. That’s not it. Instead of getting too blue, let’s just forget our expectations for a normal winter, grab some action figures and hide them in the yard. Make hot chocolate with chocolate chips and then snuggle in our pillow forts. Let’s allow ourselves to feel our feelings but then grab a treat and go play in the snow. Just do it! The spring will be here before we know it and we’ll look back nostalgically on that “winter in lockdown” when we had too, I mean, soo much family time. Leona (4) said “spending time with family” is the absolute best part of lockdown anyway. Thanks for reminding us adults of the important stuff, kids.
Kaija Savinainen —A Brush with a Gifted Environmental Activist - theHumm February 2021
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
When theHumm first featured oil painter Kaija Savinainen Mountain (her married name) in 2007, she responded to my inevitable question as to why she created her art with this statement: “I have a terrible need to create. It chases me.” She has continued her race to the top of her creative powers, but she has raised the bar on her ambitions. Today her answer is: “Nature needs our respect and care more than ever these days, and I challenge us all to be mindful of......
Interested in Writing? Check Out Winterwords Online Events! - theHumm February 2021
In the December issue of theHumm we issued an “invitation to write” by the name of Winterwords — asking readers to contribute up to 1000 words on the theme of “Back to Better in the Valley” and to contact us if they were interested in facilitating a writing workshop of some kind. The response has been warm and wonderful, and we are delighted to launch the 2021 Winterwords schedule of online events. All are free (or by donation to facilitators), and there is room for additional workshops should mo......
Artistic Excellence in our Area - theHumm February 2021
By Miss Cellaneous
Mary Pfaff: Companions
From February 17 to March 26, Sivarulrasa Gallery in Almonte is pleased to present Mary Pfaff: Companions, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Almonte-based artist Mary Pfaff. The Gallery is thrilled that this exhibition will include, in addition to new smaller works, four new 60-inch canvasses entitled Beyond, Home, Uncertainty, and Conversing with the Trees.
Mary Pfaff earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts (with distinction) fro......
Build a Birdhouse! - theHumm February 2021
By Glenda Jones
The birdhouse auction in support of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists is only three months away, and crafters are scouring their treasures for the makings of a unique creation to tempt bidders. While a classic wooden house will suffice, a dwelling that once was a watering can or a toy could up the interest. Turn children loose with a box of odds and ends, and their imaginations are limitless. An old key will become a perch; an assortment of bottle caps will become shingles; a milk carton will......
Happy Hiking: an Interview with Vickie Walsh - theHumm February 2021
By Kris Riendeau
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The Last Generation: to Act on Climate Change - theHumm February 2021
By Emily Pearlman
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Sultana-McGarry, a graduate in Cro......
Hedgerow (where the domestic and the wild mix and mingle) - theHumm February 2021
By Susie Osler
I ride a friend’s beautiful big black horse Izzy out into the fields on a farm east of Perth. It is a gloriously eerie afternoon in late November. A wet snow has fallen on not-yet-frozen ground and now a thick, vaporous veil of fog has gathered over the land.
Izzy is a game companion and I anticipate the adventure we have ahead of us. When the curtain of fog closes around us, separating us from buildings and barns, suddenly I am transported into the pages of childhood books — a girl on a pony, ve......
Finding Joy in Lockdown - theHumm February 2021
By Sarah Kerr
I had a bit of the “blue Monday” feels as I sat down to write this month’s Little Humm column. But the whole point of this column is to add some joy and encouragement to all my parenting peeps in the Valley. So in an effort to find inspiration for February, which is currently forecasting a continued lockdown and possibly a polar vortex, I decided to survey the kids of the Ottawa Valley to see how they think we should handle this situation. And it turns out, they’re not as upset about lockdown in wint......
Back to Better in the Valley - theHumm February 2021
By Jeanne d’Arc Labelle
Jeanne d’Arc Labelle sent in this thoughtful note and hopeful poem in response to our Winterwords invitation to write. She says: “I see the turbulence of the pandemic posturing on the unknown, all the while… its isolation being spun into hope, and gratefulness; and in small and big ways, all around me. I wondered, could such a context be captured in ‘Tritina Poetry’? Tritina poetry is choosing three words (1,2,3), to be used in rotation, at the end of three sentences, using ......
Dear Little One - theHumm February 2021
By Jaaron Hamilton
Jaaron Hamilton sent in this letter to her young son (as well as the photo) as her contribution to theHumm’s Winterwords invitation to write:
By the time that you’ll be reading this, all of this will be a distant memory. Maybe you’ll be reading about it in your history textbook, or watching a documentary about it on Netflix. In any case, there is one thing that is absolutely certain: this was not the year that we imagined. I don’t know what we expected, but this definitely wasn’t it.......
Homesteading. Homeschooling. Homebodying. - theHumm February 2021
By Nick McCabe
Nick McCabe sent in this gently insightful contribution to theHumm’s Winterwords invitation to write. Artist Catherine Orfald allowed us to use her painting Ontario Farm Remains to accompany it.
This past summer, while tying up our tomatoes in the garden for what felt like the 100th time, my wife noticed our son Theo, in flight, speeding past the garden with a rusted-old-broken-thingamajig in hand toward the woodshed. She, boldly, remarked as to whether he had gotten around to co......
We and Covid - theHumm February 2021
By Frank Hirst
Frank Hirst is the author of A View from the Forest — a non-fiction collection of stories about his life. Born in England in 1939, Frank came to the Ottawa Valley in 1948. He taught for two years each in Ottawa, Northern Ontario and Dawson City, spent four years at Queen’s and retired from high school teaching in 1990, returning to his farm. Frank lived off the land for the most part in the Ottawa Valley, in a log cabin he built in the bush with his wife and kids. Frank’s adventures, captur......
Winter Haiku - theHumm February 2021
By Barbara Bolte
Barbara Bolte sent in this evocative Winter Haiku in response to theHumm’s Winterwords invitation to write:
Do not touch me with
your icy fingers —
I cannot give you my warmth.
The Return of the Almonte Lectures - theHumm February 2021
The Almonte Lecture Series promised to return, and they are — via Zoom! They have fascinating lectures lined up for the last Friday evening in February and March, and welcome everyone to attend v......
Public Libraries During Tough Times (Like Lockdowns!) - theHumm February 2021
By Jill McCubbin
It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. Or as my son said: “We are blessed to live in these times and we are cursed to live in these times.”
And so, in these times, libraries have ......
C.R.A.V.E. Raffle for Interval House - theHumm February 2021
Lanark County Interval House and Community Support is offering the chance to win $100,000 with their C.R.A.V.E electronic raffle! LCIHCS has had to cancel all in-person fundraising events and act......
Reading and Writing in the Time of Covid - theHumm February 2021
By Jaaron Hamilton
The pandemic has caused a significant number of difficulties for many industries and communities, but one vibrant community is finding new ways to foster creativity during a challenging time.
…and Now for Something Completely Different - theHumm February 2021
By Glenda Jones
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By David Hinks
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Community Blossoms Flower Share Program - theHumm February 2021
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Cat vs. Therapist - theHumm February 2021
By John Pigeau
Last week my therapist said something to me that struck me as exceedingly important. We were talking on the phone and I have a famously poor memory, so I said, “Whoa. Can you hold on a second? I ......
Winter Play Challenge - theHumm February 2021
Lockdowns and Covid restrictions driving you stir-crazy? The folks at Unposed Photography have come up with something fun to help out over the next couple of months. This is a not-for-profit......
MERA’s Speaker Series - theHumm February 2021
Brighten up your winter on Thursday evenings with an exciting series of talks presented by MERA. They will be shown on Zoom, so no danger of Covid or driving on icy roads. The topics include worl......
The Cat’s Meow Our Area’s Certified Feline Master Groomer - theHumm February 2021
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Jun 2 Blackburn Brothers
Jun 3 - 4 Red Trillium Studio Tour
Jun 9 Book Signing: C.C. Humphries
Jun 10 AGH Run/Walk for Women's Health
Jun 10 Angelique Francis
Jun 16 - 18 Art in the Garden
Jun 17 Dandyfest
Jun 17 Bee Gees Now tribute
Jun 23 Brighter Days
Jun 24 Almonte House & Garden Tour