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Indoor Madness: Easing Cabin Fever

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3. HUNKER DOWN

Before you had kids, shut-in days could have a cozy sort of appeal, as you curled up with a book and enjoyed the feeling of being safe and warm in your own little place. You can still have these sorts of days, but you'll need to adjust your expectations a little.

PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORIES

You will have no better audience for your photo albums, high school yearbook, and old family movies than your children. In fact, they may be the only real reason for saving all this stuff. Even kids too young to walk enjoy looking at photographs of people, and if you put extra photos or doubles in a sturdy photo book with plastic pages, it may become your baby's favorite treasure.

I often worked on photo albums when my daughter was still in her infant seat, holding up pictures for her as I went along and talking about the people in each photo. It gave me something to talk about, and the changing views and conversation kept her from being fussy for long stretches of time.

JOURNAL KEEPING

This exercise isn't just recreational  -- it can teach your child the connection between words and writing as well as give you the record you want of your child's firsts.

My daughter and I started her journal during the dark days of January when she was 2. I'd ask about her day and she'd tell me bits and pieces, watching carefully as I wrote down the fragments, sentences, and disconnected words. Soon we were taping Polaroid photos, as well as cutout scraps of artwork, into the journal or drawing the outlines of our hands and feet on the pages. These days Anna "writes" in her journal herself, and lets me write down what she tells me she has inscribed below it.

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