Now that I have kids of my own--one who is school aged--I wonder how my working parents felt about those snow days. Once we reached a certain age, Pamela and I stayed home alone when school was closed, but I imagine that they had to stay home in the early days. Did they cheer the fact they had a day off of work or cry at the thought of being home with two rambunctious kids for a whole day.
I wonder about these things because this winter has been brutal for parents with school-aged children. After being sucked into an arctic vortex (read: below-freezing temperatures for days) we've been hit with heavy snowfall several times. As a result, Monkey has had multiple snow days and we only just started February. I love being home with my kids and, if I can be spared the long walk to school through slush and traffic, I'm usually excited. But after having so many school days cut short and cancelled, days with both kids home are starting to drive me batty.
There is something about snow days that, without the bookends of drop-off and pick-up, make the days feel endless. Even if I maximize the morning snuggle time and slowly make snow-day-waffles, the day starts to seem long by 10am. By then my kids have been up for more than three hours and the entire day stretches in front of us.
My kids and I have baked cookies and chocolate truffle cupcakes, glazed carrots and shredded vegetables for green pancakes. I've had Monkey practice writing his numbers and alphabetize the letter cards. We've painted on paper, drawn on coloring books and decorated cookies. We've even brought out the scissors and Elmer's glue, which are huge risks with a liability named, "Munchkin" walking around.
But after so many days off, no matter how Martha Stewart-y I am in the kitchen or how crafty I am in the living room, the kids start fighting and it drives me crazy. At ages two and four, how much could the kids fight about ? It turns out that there is a lot to argue about. My two fight about who had the red car first and which plate of blueberries is theirs. One of them starts crying because the other won't take turns with the broom. Monkey builds elaborate train tracks and Munchkin wrecks them. Munchkin wants to play the helicopter but Monkey says it's his so she's not allowed. On and on it goes about the most mundane things.
On the frigid cold days, the kids couldn't even go outside to break up the monotony or the fighting. Theonly way to change the scenery was to let the kids go down to the lobby for a few minutes while praying that fights about pressing elevator buttons wouldn't escalate to tantrums or let them play in the hallway, while I prayed no crabby neighbor would emerge to complain. Either that or risk being judged by every adult in the street thinking, "That mom brought her children out in this weather! What was she thinking?"
I did take the kids out yesterday in the heavy snow and I'll tell you what I was thinking. I thought, "Either I get out of the house and tire these children out, or we are all going to have a miserable day." Yesterday--which was when I meant to write this blog before school got cancelled--ended up being pleasant largely because we had playdates. No comment on the number of times I had to carry Munchkin in her stroller over gigantic stretches of unshoveled sidewalks, but at least we made it out.
As for that unwritten blog post, being trapped indoors means I have very limited opportunities to get any writing done or even have a few minutes of peace to myself. Any hopes of being productive on the computer are dashed after the tenth time Monkey asks me to play with him or Munchkin repeatedly pushes the keyboard buttons. On the bright side, since the kids have had so much time at home, they have finally mastered setting and clearing the table and have learned to wash dishes and load the dishwasher. Now if they could just do all my chores when school is cancelled--in between drawing, painting, baking and playing--we'd be on our way to a more harmonious snow day. That is until the kids start fighting about who gets to turn the dishwasher on.