Tuesday, February 11, 2014

5 stages of snow day grief or: how i learned to stop worrying and love the snow

it's not the kids. that's not the grief issue. snow days are great and terrible. they are great because you eat your weight in junk food. one of my snow days preparations is to have cream cheese, eggs, sugar, chocolate chips, graham crackers, pudding and cake mix on hand. it's terrible because you eat your weight in junk food. i have the cucumber sliced and ready to go, but it easily pales next to my lemon squares and my 2 layer brookies(brownie layer and chocolate chip cookie layer). it's terrible because the fact IS that snow isn't very fun if you don't have proper snow attire and i make it my business to make sure WE WILL NEVER HAVE PROPER SNOW ATTIRE. we live in south carolina for a reason. we are heat oriented people. snow days are great because you don't have to go anywhere but terrible because you can't go ANYWHERE. (go ahead and DON'T tell me how you have "real snow" where you live and our 3-8 inches is a light dusting. it rained yesterday before the snow so our road are slick!)

the 5 stages of snow day grief
1. denial.  i never tell my kids until the morning of that school is  cancelled so that i won't be cajoled into extending bedtimes and by some miracle they will sleep in if i don't get them up for school.
2. anger. a. because i have a vehicle that is used to heat and humidity and when it drops below 20 degrees, my driver's side door likes to unlatch. b. and while i really do love having my kids home, i've got stuff to DO.
3. bargaining. because schoolwork still has to be done. we're anticipating at least 2 days off from school this week so it doesn't have to be done NOW, but it still looms in the air like a fart in an elevator.
4. depression. because it's cold. and practical shoes are ugly. so ugly. 
5. acceptance. it's cold. the messes are out of hand. so you bake cookies until you are out of flour and call it good.(some people "play" in the snow. i just like to stare out the window and watch it fall.)

we had our first snow day last week. they let school out early at noon and reagan ran around the yard until it finally snowed.

scarlett's version of "playing" in the snow is "posing" in the snow. 

 i was safely ensconced inside.

there had been much talk about power outages and school cancellations with the next round of ice storms predicted for this week, so yesterday i took myself to walmart at 1030am to get some additional necessities. we could potentially be out of school from tuesday to friday and the prospect of taking all three kids to the store in the snow makes me sympathetic to the cannibal-like tendencies of the donner party. i squeezed in my trip to walmart after i did an extra hard workout since i didn't know when i would make it back to the gym this week. i smelled BAD. everyone and their dog was at walmart too, making the experience especially unbearable and noteworthy(2 different people with BIG FACE TATTOOS! how do you not stare at that?)

(cutest baby in the check out line.)

(CHECK OUT THESE LINES!!! and that lady's face who is photobombing! we chatted it up and became fast friends. you will always make friends in the check out line at walmart in the South. southerners are chatty and we can't help ourselves. i also met a lady who had moved here from texas and a lady who was from rochester, ny and was caring for her 90 year old mother and her 92 year old mother-in-law.)

 at noon, after much navigating and strategy and 20 minutes in the check out line, i reached into my bag for my wallet to pay for my goods. my wallet was not there. 90 sweaty, grueling minutes at walmart for naught. i will admit that i fled to my car and CRIED! sobbing, heaving, gasping tears. i drove home through a veil of tears, ate a GIANT brownie that i was saving for the kids to split after school and i drove back to walmart. they had my cart at customer service with some extra stuff from other people thrown on top. i had to sort through my cart, get in line at customer service only to find out that the cashier had not left me a receipt to recall my transaction, then had to get back in a regular check out line, wait for 25 minutes this time and finally recheck all my items, pay my dang money and run out of the store at 115pm like a woman who had been there since 1030am. because i HAD been there since 1030am. then i went home and showered and picked up the kids from school.  and now i'm ready for the snow day(week).

and today's snow:

lovely from the inside!

Sunday, February 02, 2014

the haps with the craps

alternate title: helping my kids figure out who they are and being thrilled about it anyway. 

there is a pretty long list of things that worry me about my kids: testimony, illness, education, peer acceptance, being a spineless sheep, pornography, quick sand, coyotes living in the woods by our house, my kid's fears. there are few things i'm NOT worried about. worries are an encyclopedia brittanica. non-worries are a leaflet flyer. 

one thing that has been rolling around in my head on a constant loop for a while now is figuring out how to help my children figure out who they are and be completely happy with it.

scarlett is so like me in so many ways. i revel in that knowledge and fear for her at the same time. my public school years were difficult for me because i knew i wasn't "cool" and that i didn't wear the "right" clothes(and i didn't really want to) and while i liked myself, i wasn't confident in myself. i was SHY! and scarlett is SHY! and i hate that because i don't want her to miss out on things because she's shy. i STILL hate thinking about how nervous i would get before going to birthday parties or playdates when i wouldn't know everyone or anyone. everything worked out fine because now at 33, i probably like myself too much and should probably dial my personality back a bit in mixed company, simply so that i don't overwhelm other children. i fear those same years will be hard for scarlett because she's delightfully weird and imaginative and quirky and we live in a society of trendy followers who claim to celebrate diversity, but only if you are "diverse" like everyone else.
 what's the trick navigating to your children's anxieties but avoiding giving them the impression that they can do no wrong? i don't know! i don't know ANYTHING! 3+4=9. see what i mean! 

 this morning was great moment for me though. we were running out the door to church(ACTUALLY ON TIME, but that's not the climax of this story) and as we were loading up, scarlett grabbed this floral belt from one of her other dresses and tied it on her head. my gut/boring/mom reaction was to tell her to take it off, the other part of me who is not afraid of harmless self-expression loved it and  i tightened it up for her. 
and now she really can do no wrong!

reagan's idiosyncrasies are even more interesting for me to decipher. because he's not a communicative, i find it's harder to figure out who he is. the good thing is that he is pretty solid in liking himself and doesn't care about what others think. a great thing to achieve at an early age.

reagan's latest obsession is of the gravity-defying, equine variety

rainbow dash
he's pretty keen on her. as evidenced by the above picture, rainbow dash has seen a lot of action.

we've never done anything to promote anything being specifically "boy" oriented or "girl" oriented. we simply don't care. kids like what they like. reagan and scarlett are close enough in age that they've shared almost all their toys. the really interesting thing about reagan is he's formed some of his own opinions about what gender can use what. reagan won't even eat off a pink plate and vehemently exclaims that the pink princess barbie cup is for "girls only". so, the constant presence of rainbow dash in our lives does surprise me, as my little pony was first something scarlett liked and involves a LOT of pink and has predominantly female ponies. upon further research, reagan is not alone. apparently there is an entire movement of "bronies"(a portmanteau of "bro" and "pony")who appreciate My Little Pony for it's "strong characters, cross-generational appeal, cultural references, the show's expressive Flash-based animation, and the ability for the showrunners to communicate and reciprocate with the fandom, such as including fan-derived elements within the show.[Hasbro was initially caught off-guard by this surprise demographic but have since come to embrace it, leveraging licensing deals to market clothes, media, and other merchandise beyond toys to the older audience.[".
any show that encourages kids to be themselves, enjoy reading(which reagan deplores) and has a nearly spot on episode inspired by Top Gun, i'm a fan of too.

is that not Viper from Top Gun in my little pony form?

I'll admit that this hasn't been my favorite thing for him to like because i do worry that other kids will think it's too girly and bully him about it. i don't want to see my kid picked on because i'm afraid my reaction will be ugly and borderline criminal. but, if reagan's not bothered, i won't be either. i'll just find something else on the list to worry about. like the national debt and whether disability benefits will be available to him. see, there's the cloud to the silver lining!

and then sweet little blythe who likes to disrobe in any store we go to with clothing on display. a bit of an exhibitionist. always up for a strip down. this is one thing i'd like her to grow out of, just for propriety's sake. she looks like she auditioning for disney channel.

the end.