Nina had no school last week due to ice and snow. We weathered it without incident — snuggling, reading, and roasting marshmallows the first few days. By Thursday cabin fever had set in and we seemed to have a primal squaring off —bickering with one another and stooping to cheating at board games. The week’s mix of sweet and sour days brought flashbacks of our first two snow days together, in 2010. Nina was three and in preschool.
Early December, 2010 — Snow Day #1
Today was Nina’s first experience with “no school because of snow.” We had such a sweet and magical day — marveling at the peaceful beauty of winter and the good fortune to be together each second. We baked cookies, and decorated the Christmas tree while singing carols. I laughed when Nina put on her goofy sunglasses because she thought the strands of lights were so bright. We snuggled on the couch with the napping cats and talked about how silent snowfall was.
I love snow days. I love being a mother. I’m going to savor and document every minute of it.
Snow Day #2.
Nina just demanded that I take photos of her, snarling, “Like you did yesterday! Do it!”
Yesterday had a Norman Rockwellish glow. I gazed upon my child adoringly, we savored life. I patiently read the same book 12 or 22 times (once backwards). I generously gave cookies, and we sipped hot chocolate after making snow angels in the crystal-white whopping two-inches of snow.
Snow day #2 carries a different reality…
After falling asleep way too late last night, Nina woke equally way too early — before the sun came up (which I suggested should really be a pretty easy guide to follow … No bright thing in sky, no getting out of bed.) She also woke with a bossy attitude way beyond her age allotment.
She insisted all the stamps on the Christmas cards I’ve been trying to finish for five freaking days now were stickers that she really, really needed, and I was the meanest mommy ever for not letting her continue to rip them off and tear open the envelopes.
The house is a disaster. Nina spilled the tray of open paints that I’d set up at an idealistic “Christmas project craft station” in the kitchen. Before I could get the spreading blobs cleaned up the cats chased one another through the mess, leaving a trail of red and green paw prints on the white carpet in the sunroom. Nina then screamed and kicked on the floor when I told her she could not follow suit with handprints.
The cats have been banished to the basement while they lick their paws and think about their assumption that the Christmas tree was their new scratching post to climb and topple, and that the lights on the tree were … well, whatever it is that idiot cats think glow and are therefore necessary to chew.
The day drug on with the same grit. Nina, naturally, refused to nap and by late afternoon we were both exhausted. By then the roads had cleared and, craving a reprieve, I bundled her up and we headed to the gym for a regularly scheduled yoga class.
“No class today,” the perky young girl at the front desk sang out, swinging her bouncy ponytail and smiling like she was ready to break into a cheer. I stared at her blankly, then asked to sign in for childcare so I could at least walk on the treadmill.
“Whoopsie! No childcare either!” she chirped, “It’s because the schools are closed today. Sorr-eeee!”
Huh? What childless genius decided not to at least have childcare at a place of wellness on snow day #2?!
On the way home, I made a quick stop at Target, where Nina immediately threw a fit because apparently I sat her in the wrong cart.
I persevered. And so did she, making peace with our perfectly-normal cart by suddenly pretending it was a bucking bull and she was the rider in this rodeo. She grabbed a tube of wrapping paper from the cart and swung it, nearly swiping an elderly lady who spun around and scampered away from us, looking back once with wide-eyed horror.
“Give me that!” I hissed, snatching the tube from Nina’s grip and mumbling, “Now it’s squished.”
I decided to ditch the rest of the shopping list, and made a dash for checkout to pay for the crumpled tube of wrapping paper.
As we left the store — marveling that the other customers were refraining from applause — Nina calmly asked, “Mommy, are kids hard to squish?”
Here’s my question.
Does it make me a bad mom if — rather than rushing to assure her that “Oh no, darling! Children are nothing like wrapping paper!” — I had to stop myself from saying, “Only one way to find out.”
— by Amy Rawe