Growing up we always prayed for snow days. I mean, what could be better than a lazy day to sleep in, play in the snow, and drink hot chocolate?
Then I became a teacher. And I prayed for snow days. I mean, what could be better than a lazy day to sleep in, linger over my morning coffee, and pickle my brain with daytime TV?
Then I became a parent. And I prayed for snow days. After all, what could be better than an entire day spent with my precious offspring …
That was the sound of the record player grinding to a halt.
See, what I failed to consider was that my precious offspring are accustomed to spending seven hours a day in a stimulating environment. A day to do nothing sounds enticing, but it’s only fun for about two hours. Around 10 a.m. the bickering and complaints of boredom ensue. That’s when I make them turn off all electronic devices and mosey on outside.
But they can only play in the snow for about an hour before they succumb to the elements. At that point, my front door is flung wide as a pack of kids (usually including a few neighborhood boys and, as yesterday would have it, the two daughters of a good friend who I agreed to watch for the day) tromp in, leaving a trail of soggy winter gear in their wake while simultaneously demanding hot chocolate.
If you’ve done the math, you realize that it’s not even lunchtime at this point.
I really want to be one of those moms—you know the ones that have the homes that all the kids gravitate to because they are warm and welcoming and laid-back and fun? I try, but it doesn’t come naturally. I want kids to feel welcome here, and I want them around so I can supervise their activities (and language) so I welcome them in with open arms and offer hot chocolate and homemade cookies, but after about an hour of noise and chaos I’m ready to kick them out.
Instead, I grit my teeth and start to offer a menu of options—Monopoly, Boochie, ping pong, arts and crafts, play-doh. But have you ever tried to get a group of kids to agree on the same activity?
Finally I resort to the ultimatums. Find something to play in the next two minutes or everyone is going home. That usually gets the response I’m looking for, albeit temporarily. There must be a universal law somewhere that states that children can only get along playing a single activity for thirty minutes before fighting breaks out—at least in my house, anyway.
When I absolutely can take no more, I tell everyone with an artificial smile that I think it’s time to go to his or her respective homes. Then they spend the next ten minutes alternately chasing each other around the house and gathering their belongings while I remind them two to twenty times to get their shoes and coats on and skedaddle. Finally I manage to hustle them out the door, look at the clock, see that it’s 4 p.m., and decide it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.
A two-hour delay will do quite nicely next time, thank you very much.
Photo courtesy of Musings of a Housewife