Winter and snow days have consumed the family Facebook feeds – especially the pages of families with children under 10.
First it was the winter birthdays. The newly-minted seven-year-old in Missouri knew exactly how she wanted to spend her birthday money. She wanted make-up. She bought, she tried and her mom took pictures of a cutie with blue streaks of eye shadow drawing lines under her eyes and down her face.
“Well, my zombie is ready for school. Yes, you grandparents who sent her birthday money, she happily bought makeup with it. So, thanks?”
The two then had a lesson about make-up and a talk about the appropriateness of first graders wearing makeup to school.
The two-year-old took his birthday in stride. Cake, toys, time with mom and dad. Anything else is hard to schedule with the snow clouds hovereing over his day for the second year in a row.
Of course, the cold weather comes with the sniffles.
The four-year-old told his mom, “My throat hurts. That’s why my face is sad.”
She gave him a cough drop.
Ten minutes later he announced, “My throat is all healed, Mom.”
At his age his concerns include solving Superman’s problems. He held a plastic toy light saber and quite seriously asked, “Mom, how do you send toys into the television? Superman might need this.”
During this time of Lent, his serious thoughts included this comment, “Mom, Jesus dying on the cross is kind of sad. It’s kind of happy and kind of sad.”
This Missouri grandson wasn’t sad or happy, just confused when he heard that he shared a snow day with his Arkansas cousins. His wrote, “The kids were so confused that we couldn’t just come over and play since you’re obviously having a snow day like us.”
Snow days in Arkansas meant time for the little girls to do all the six large cardboard puzzles. The grandchildren proudly displayed their completed accomplishments as the five-year-old proudly announced, “Grandpa couldn’t even figure out this frog puzzle, Mom!” but she and her little sister had assembled it.
Snow days meant time to carefully, patiently try a new skill. When Momma pulled out fresh strawberries to make shortcake, the three-year-old, who has been practicing cutting with a butter knife, asked to use a real knife to cut the strawberries for shortcake. She promised her mother she would “be careful and not get bleeding.”
She neatly cut the strawberries and there was no bleeding.
By the third day of no school, Momma decided it was time to direct all that kid energy into cleaning the bedrooms. Shortly into the task, they began discovering lost toys and books.
“There is this crazy thing that happens when kids clean their rooms: They find things they’ve been missing. Amazing! Who would have guessed?” their mom posted.
The three-year-old had exclaimed, “Praise God, Mom! I couldn’t find that in forever!”
Her seven-year-old said, “Mom! I was reading that book and couldn’t find it!”
And the five-year-old was startled to realize, “Oh, we have three of these?”
A friend responded, “I cannot believe your house is getting clean. Mine is just getting dirtier by the minute. It still looks like winter vomited in my entry way: The boots. The gloves. The jackets. The grass, etc. And then the salty dog footprints everywhere; it goes on and on.”
My daughter assured her, “We have that, too. We just did the kids’ rooms. I had a crazy moment and then bribery. Plus once they started to find some things, that helped. I was helping them, too. It never works if I tell them to clean their rooms and I walk away!”
The snows of winter finally melted and life returned to normal, including some time at the bouncey house for the three-year-old who suffered a fluke accident. She snagged her tooth on a rope. That pulled it out roots and all.
She cried for about five minutes. Her five-year-old sister cried for about an hour; not in empathy for her sister but out of pure jealousy because everyone has lost a tooth but her. She wants to have lost a tooth. Her mother said that nothing would console the fierce jealousy and longing to have the same experience.
The jealousy factor flipped a couple of days later when all three children had to go in for eye exams. The three-year-old’s eyes are just fine. She does not need glasses.
“But she REALLY wants glasses like her sister, brother and mom,” her mom wrote. She was just as inconsolable as her sister had been about the lost tooth.
And that’s life in this winter in the mommy world of single-digit-aged children.
(Joan Hershberger is a staff writer for the News-Times. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)