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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 05/14/2009

For Parents, Weekend Rain is One Big Pain

By Dan Stillman

* Full Forecast: T-Storms Today? | Photos: A Sunny Mom's Day *

Sorry moms and dads. That nasty four-letter word is in the weekend forecast: R-A-I-N.

I've never been a big fan of weekend rain. Sure, there was a time when I didn't see it as the worst thing in the world, and could even appreciate an occasionally soggy Saturday or Sunday morning as a perfect excuse to sleep in. But those days are long gone now that I'm a parent of a toddler -- my disdain for weekend rain has reached an entirely new level.

Don't get me wrong; I realize that rain on the weekend is a big-time bummer for almost everyone except those trying to get out of mowing the lawn, especially when it ruins your morning softball game, afternoon barbecue or the like. But only parents of young kids know the true curse of a rainy Saturday or Sunday.

Keep reading for more on why rain is such a pain for parents...

When the weather's nice, the sky's the limit on what you can do with your kid. Bring on the rain and the choices are suddenly slim to none.

The backyard? Nope. The playground at the park? Nope. A stroll through the neighborhood? Nope. A trip to the zoo? Nope. A visit to the museum?... just as soon as my boy develops anything resembling an attention span.

Cabin fever? Yep!

Listen, I like Dora the Explorer as much as the next guy who's seen it enough times that he can't stop whistling the theme song. But four episodes in two hours equals Dora overload, no matter how cute and educational she is.

The mall is always an option. But when the play-area population quadruples on a rainy day, I swear that if you squint your eyes you can actually see the germs spreading from child to child (to parent) to child. And of course there's always the one or two tykes sneezing or coughing their brains out -- please, parents, take your precious sickies home, or at least quarantine them together in a corner.

At least most malls have a garage. Let me tell you, dodging raindrops while getting in and out of the car with a diaper bag and whatever toys will keep the little one occupied while you shop for groceries is a daunting task, made no easier when your 18-month-old thinks he can do a better job holding the umbrella than you. (Strangely, I'm always the one who gets soaked.)

God willing -- many, many years from now -- the day will come that I can sleep in again. Maybe then I'll re-discover how soothing the pitter-patter of raindrops can be on a lazy weekend morning. Until then, as long as we're getting enough weekday rain to please the farmers and flowers, I'd prefer Saturday and Sunday be all about the sun.

By Dan Stillman  | May 14, 2009; 10:45 AM ET
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My kids love the rain park at Powhatan Springs Park in Arlington. We don raincoats, boots and pack a change of clothes in the car.

Posted by: mmcgowen | May 14, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

First, let me say welcome to parenthood! You are in for quite the ride.

Out here in the Portland Metro area we get more than our fair share of rain. ;) I used to take my toddlers to -
1. the McDonalds' that have the covered play areas
2. our children's museum (you must have something similar in D.C.)
3. OMSI - they have a children's section. The kids and I still go there.
4. my personal favorite, the movies. It can be difficult to find, but there is usually at least one theater in every community that devotes at least a portion of their time to kids movies.
5. the kid's favorite, Grandma's house. She is a retired science teacher who is also quite the artist. Never a dull moment when Omi is around.

Now that you are a parent, have you started to see the world through a more critical eye? Do you bemoan the amount of profanity in music and television? I used to be able to turn on Country music, be even that isn't safe any more. Have you started to notice just how much crap of a sexual nature has permeated our entire culture? Print, billboards, music, tv, movies, and even the news!

I tell everyone that you don't really mature as a man until you do three things -
1. get a job and pay taxes
2. get married
3. have children

Those three things force a man to stop acting juvenile, stop thinking about himself only, and start taking responsibility for not only others but society as a whole.

Welcome aboard.

And if you really want to open your eyes to things that you never thought about and see things with a new perspective, join the military and fight for your Country.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | May 14, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

From my experience, once you make it through raising children there are fantastic rewards to look forward to - grand kids!! They are all the enjoyment of kids with little, if any, of the financial, psychic, and physical drains. As I've seen on a bumper sticker, "If I'd known grand kids were so much fun, I would have them first.

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | May 14, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

As I posted earlier, it varies for dancers. With a light dance schedule, I can sit out the rain. With a heavy schedule it becomes a nuisance; hence this weekend [2 dances] is easier than next [5 dances, including Memorial Day].

Posted by: Bombo47jea | May 14, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Dan, I'm not sure where in the region you live, but the Dulles Town Center mall not only has a playground for tots, it also has an indoor merry-go-round. You'll get sick of going in circles, but I'll bet she'll love it!

Posted by: CarefulNervousMotherDriving | May 14, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

You make it sound like rain is toxic. Wait! Is it toxic here?

You need to get over your aversion to wetness. Ask anybody from Seattle. Do you think rain keeps them indoors? They are among the most outdoorsy people in the country.

I'll go kayaking rain or shine. The boat is wet on the bottom. It can get wet on the top too.

P.S. Most children love to get wet. Find them some puddles to splash in.

Posted by: GaryJean | May 14, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Great comments and suggestions. Keep the rainy-day advice comin'. Parents may need some good ideas depending on how rainy this weekend turns out to be.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | May 14, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm with GaryJean - unless the sparks are flying, there is no reason to stay inside just cause it is raining. One of my pet peeves with this area is the endless cancellations of sporting events ( primarily soccer) just cause it is raining or the field is wet.

Posted by: MDScot | May 14, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Could go to an indoor pool.

Posted by: jimward21 | May 14, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

My mother used to say: "Do you know why grandparents and grandkids get along so well? Common enemy!!"

You two need to get out there and play in the mud and the puddles--that's why they invented bathtubs. Just strip down in the garage before you come in...(or some other place where the neighbors can't see you). Extra bonus points if YOU do the laundry afterwards.

Posted by: FallsChurch4 | May 14, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Weekend rain may be bad for parents, but weekDAY rain is murder on teachers. last week we had indoor recess almost all week. if you think one toddler is bad, try 23 kindergarteners! :-)

As for the "play in the rain" suggestions, I love it! I wish we were allowed to do it school.

Posted by: dinermail | May 14, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

It figures; the Nationals are trying to play two games on Saturday, the earlier game of the day/night doubleheader a make-up game for a rainout last month. And there's a game on Sunday as well.

You make it sound like another soggy weekend that could leave them needing to find open spots on the schedule to play three games.

Posted by: greggwiggins | May 14, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Go FISHING! I catch my biggest fish when it rains. They don't seem to mind, they are already wet. Rain causes a rejuvenation of life, celebrate it.

Posted by: DIMMY | May 14, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

A nurse at the OB gave us this hint...pull the cars out of the garage and let them play in there while it rains.

Posted by: jrfath1 | May 14, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

It won't help your quest for a late sleep-in, but grandparents can help, play areas at the mall (too many germs?) and never too young to appreciate trains, planes and spaceships. Try the A&S Museum.

Posted by: shemtof | May 14, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

There are tons of things to do with kids when it rains! A few of my personal favorites are:

* A local children's theater.
* Your local nature center.
* Go roller or indoor ice-skating.

Check out, a FREE local guide where you'll find a wealth of resources available in the DC Metro area. Disclaimer: I own Our Kids...

Enjoy the weekend.

Posted by: lovetoscrap | May 14, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

While I don't agree that you can't go for walks in the neighborhood or visit a park when it's raining, here are a couple of suggestions besides "the mall"

1. National Airport (I just can't bring myself to call is by it's "new" name). It's one of the few airports where you can still see the airplanes taxi, take off and land...and get a little food, too. Word to the wise, there are NO changing tables at this airport, even in the "family" restroom, so be prepared to do a change on the chair or floor.

2. Go for a ride on public transportation....even if you make a loop out of the journey, kids love going on buses and metro trains.

3. Hooray for Books in Old Town....they almost always have a Saturday morning story hour that is FUN!!!

4. National Portrait Gallery...The atrium is a great place to run, run, run.

5. The Zoo...there are lots of indoor exhibits and hardly anyone there during a rainy day.

6. Stay home and do something you've never done...make the entire house an obstacle course, have your kids fingerpaint naked, decorate cookies with your kids or just give them a big cardboard box and stand back to watch what happens....

Whatever you do, turn off the dare TV and do SOMETHING!!! It's just a little water, afterall....

Posted by: rkichic | May 14, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

One of the greatest things about DC: our museums are free.

Posted by: mediajunky | May 15, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

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