Monday, February 22, 2010

A Winter Memory

Found this in my documents - an essay I'd written in January 2001, before blogging, even THEN I was talking.

We have a snow day. Six to nine inches of snow is predicted. It’s likely freezing rain will come on it's heels and compact the snow back into the rock-hard, dangerous mass of immovable frustration that it was until just yesterday. Yesterday my trusty ice chopper and I finally removed the last stubborn strip of the stuff from the driveway and porch. It's become my hobby. If there were a USA Olympic Driveway Ice Removal team, I would be the captain and be on a Wheaties box.

The local radio station announced at 6:30am that school was called off. In what can only be described as a complete lapse of mental functioning, I thought "won't that be fun to have the kids home for a snow day!" I bounded happily into their room to tell them. They leaped joyously out of their beds, hugged me, hugged each other, hugged the baby, hugged the dog. We don’t have a dog, which demonstrates their level of elation. I cheerfully skipped downstairs to make a yummy breakfast of eggs, toast, and bacon while popping some pumpkin bread in the oven.

Then everything went straight downhill.

While making eggs & pumpkin bread I thought "I'll bet our toddler would enjoy squeezing all these egg shells". She enjoyed it immensely. I soon discovered that just enough egg white remains on the shell, sticks to the floor, and makes it impervious to a broom. It also causes every little tiny piece of shell to adhere to feet so they can travel to multiple other parts of the house. Did I mention a lapse in mental functioning?

The older children wasted no time and began fighting, slapping, and whining and cooked up a heady argument by 8am. I sent them outside. The toddler followed me around the house with her snow pants in hand whining to go out. "We can go outside just as soon as that pumpkin bread is done" was my lame response. Do you know how long pumpkin bread takes to cook when a crying, frustrated toddler is waiting?


Meanwhile, the older ones came back inside and begged me to play cards with them, play chutes & ladders (I hate that game), put in a movie, start the computer, get out the watercolor paints, make a cake, invite a friend over, take us to the Minnesota Zoo, go to the video store, take us to the bakery, how many days until we go to the Wisconsin Dells?, sharpen these colored pencils, How come I have to use scratch paper? Why can't I use paper from your printer?, How come you never take us anywhere?, put in my pigtails, watch this! watch this! no, wait, that wasn't right, Ok, NOW watch!, make her quit touching me, get me some ice water, can I cut the pumpkin bread?, make new play-dough, fix the hole in my jeans, Sister said she was going to stab me with a colored pencil, Why can't I cut the pumpkin bread?, play this card game I invented, teach me to sew, Sister was gonna stab me so I poked her in the eye, etc.

Twelve hours later when the pumpkin bread was done, I spent another 25 minutes dressing the toddler to go outside. She took a long hard look at the snowdrifts and started wailing "inside! inside!" The older ones took her in hand and I started up the snow thrower. No matter which way I pointed the chute, most of the stuff flew back in my face. My neighbor has one that throws the snow to South Dakota, mine manages a modest 6 inches or so. So every pass takes longer & longer because the snow you just plowed is now piled heavily in the next row.

The toddler cried to go in the backyard, so I started a path, and told her to follow. The protesting was amazing. Turns out she wanted me to carry her. Maybe I'm a bad mother but I refuse to carry a twenty-six-pound toddler wrapped like the Michelin Man through waist-high drifts just for amusement. Perhaps to make it back to the dugout after feeding the livestock in an 1890 blizzard, but not for mere fun. I finally persuaded her to go out the back door of the garage. There she found a wonderful puddle of thick lint from the dryer vent to stomp in. I was so happy to see her occupied.

Later the toddler fell into a blissful nap, and the older kids set off to play in the neighbors yard. I hope some other Mom volunteers to do hot chocolate duty. What I should have done this morning was immediately taken two extra-strength Tylenol and added Kahlua to my coffee. I'll have to remember that on our next snow day.

8 comments:

Churlita said...

Ha ha. That was great. I remember those days, and sometimes I miss them, but usually I don't.

Shan said...

As the mom in pretty much that phase, I loved this and laughed my head off. Amazingly, WE HAVE THE SAME ARGUMENTS HERE ABOUT SCRATCH PAPER VS. PRINTER PAPER! Thank you so much for publishing this! Loved it.

Mommy Lisa said...

That was fun to read.

Liberality said...

Aren't those kids lucky to have such a great mom! Hope winter is letting up in your part of the woods. Today we were melting and it was good to see the ground for a change.

Mauigirl said...

Great essay! So cute. I'm sure it brought back some memories for you to have found it!

Fran said...

I love this! Hah!! Glad you found and then posted it, your inner writer is amazing!!

Anita said...

I love this post! I can remember those day with little ones, they wore me out!!!!

kirelimel said...

You and I were doing such similar things at that time- although, I was without the older children. What a lovely memory - somewhere I know I have a notebook with daily missives on my oldest's infancy. Wonder where I put it.
lovely post.