Most of my stay-at-home-mom friends love snow days. They consider it a gift to be able to spend a day with their children unplanned, usually enjoying making snowmen, having snowball fights and drinking hot chocolate. Me? I hate them.
They always start with a sobbing. “My bus comin’? I want bus.” It goes on and on. He won’t eat breakfast. He won’t change his clothes. If I try to trick him into thinking there is school just to get his clothes on and his breakfast eaten, he will literally throw himself at the door over and over and over after he realizes what I’ve done. It is better to have the sad sobfest than the angry bulldozer. Trust me. A missed meal is better than a split lip. But holding him in a bear hug while he wails out his distress is no less exhausting than trying to use myself as a cushion to soften his blows against the front door.
And then there is the fact that his older brother and sister want to go out and play. So he insists that I put on his coat and hat and gloves and boots. And we open the front door and the big kids go running into the snow and N freezes. Like a deer in the headlights. “Momma, it windy!” (which is his way of saying I don’t like how it feels- rain, snow, wind, even sun get the same complaint) And then he curls against my leg and cries. “Hold me, Momma.” So I pick him up and move to shut the door. But he grabs it and wails, trying to force it open. Hoping in his three year old mind that somehow the act of me holding him will magically make the cold go away. It never works.
So after that meltdown has passed, we sit inside the front window and wave to Bubby and Sissy as they play. We don’t take off the hat and gloves, though. When the older ones come inside, dripping with melting snow and grinning ear to ear, N begs again to go outside. And again, he freezes in the doorway, craving a solution that I don’t have.
And then the big kids lure him into the kitchen with promises of hot chocolate. He doesn’t realize it is a drink. He never remembers that. He thinks they are promising him a Hershey bar. When they pull the steaming mug from the microwave, he starts crying again. “I no like it hot” so I quickly promise him some nice, lukewarm chocolate milk. (Because he doesn’t like it cold, either). Disaster averted. They are all sitting around the table drinking. I take a moment to let out the breath I hadn’t realized I had been holding all morning. My shoulders ache with the tension. And then, “Momma, I pay no” (play snow).
I clench my jaw. My eyes water. Not again. The cycle repeats. Every time.
And then one day, I tried something new. I sent Sissy into the yard with a tupperware bin and asked her to fill it with snow. We carried it into the kitchen, and laid out cookie sheets on the tiled floor. Nicholas put on his coat and hat and gloves and boots, and then we made snowmen. Little ones. Nicholas still didn’t touch the snow, even with his gloves on, but he watched. And he didn’t cry. And I finally realized that I don’t hate snow days quite so much anymore.
But I’d still rather live in Florida, I think.