All good things must come to an end, it seems, as demonstrated by last week’s abrupt departure from balmy (bearable!) winter to ‘keep your limbs under wraps or they’ll fall off’ winter. One day it was in the forties (Fahrenheit, despite my boys begging me to report the temperature in Celsius). The next it was in the twenties. And a few days after that…-18. The coldest temperature I’ve encountered in at least ten years.
All this to say, it was a rather long week of staying inside the house every minute of every day save necessary outings: like dropping the boys off at school. That, my friends, makes for a lot of togetherness! [Which is why I was practically salivating at weather reports predicting we’d be back in ‘positive’ land by Saturday.]
Just how do you keep yourself sane when it’s so cold you want to curse and you’re trapped in the house for six.days.straight?
I’ve ‘pinned’ all these adorable images that I’ve found in random places on the internet for just such hibernating occasions. So, what I like to do, is allow the artist (usually the Hen, occasionally the Gort) to select an image. Then I do my best to replicate it or create something similar. This often takes anywhere from fifteen to forty-five minutes. And then I hand it to the artist who basically ruins it in less than five minutes.
For example, I recreated a lovely alphabet poster that I’d seen on the Land of Nod website. I actually spent over an hour sketching the letters and the corresponding images. I gave it to the Hen and minutes later, my semi-decent sketches had been turned into blobs of paint. A few of the letters were vaguely reminiscent of the Roman alphabet, but everything else had been turned into colored blobs.
Can you say ‘wow, I’m glad I spent so much time trying to get that Gorilla and Lion just right?’
Occasionally, I like to be ‘fun mom’ who recognizes her boys need to expend some energy. So one night after dinner, I ransacked the house looking for suitable objects to create an ‘obstacle’ course in the basement. I returned downstairs with empty yogurt containers (to turn into cones), a pink yoga mat, an ottoman, and a toddler bed gate (i.e. the thing you attach to a ‘big’ bed to keep a newly un-cribbed person from falling on the floor.)
Ta-da: obstacle course.
No one was injured, energy was expended and all three ended up running around without shirts. In other words: huge success.
The Gort had expressed a desire to have a play date, so I dispatched an email and arranged said play date. It was pretty much a bust, if I do say so myself. Not only because I had no idea how to connect the Wii when the boys asked, but also because the two younger boys – who are 4 and 2 – attacked our guest. I’m not entirely certain of the details, but it seems the Gort and his guest were running around playing some made-up game with the Toppletree pieces and then our oldest boy wonder told his younger siblings to ‘protect him’. Which, to the younger boys, meant: jump on the person you don’t even know.
For reasons I cannot comprehend, my boy-children insist on reserving their sweet, loving sides for family. Only.The hugging, the reading to each other on the couch, the playing nicely together, the sharing, the offering of sympathies? Unless you’re related to me, you won’t see any of it.
We picked the professor up after work and relayed the details of this highly anticipated play date. The Gort did his morose best to explain to his father what had happened. ‘So your brothers attacked because they were trying to protect you?’ the professor clarified, pride evident in his voice at the display of brotherly ‘love’. I looked at the professor and said ‘I need you to think this was a bad thing.’
For some reason it drives the professor crazy that the boys dismember their Lego men. They remove arms and heads and torsos and legs, and discard them in the Lego bucket as though they were bricks. So, on Tuesday night, my better half sat in the basement for the better part of an hour, sifting through the hundreds of colored plastic pieces looking for body parts. He painstakingly assembled ‘the guys’ and arranged them ‘just so’ on top of a bookcase.
Several days later, as I poured myself a bowl of pumpkin seed bran flakes, a red-coated Lego soldier tumbled into my bowl. Along with a white Star Wars ‘hat’ and a few other accessories. Hours later, still shaking my head in disbelief over the Lego in my cereal, I vaguely recalled the professor yelling something in the early morning about Lego and cereal.
After picking up the Gort from school and reliving the day’s events, I relayed the story of the Lego in the cereal. They thought this was hilarious, all three of them cackling like hens in the back. Especially Percy, who never knows what’s really going on – but if his brothers laugh, he laughs too. And loudly.
‘I put the Lego guys in the cereal,’ our Hen confessed.
Finally, Saturday came, with temperatures in the (positive) twenties. With considerable weeping and gnashing of teeth, we five managed to climb into the van and drive the five minutes towards the river. The professor sporting a look of pain, as though he’d been volunteered to give a lecture in Syria. With Rick Perry.
For exactly twenty eight minutes, we walked along the river, the boys doing their best to dig up (frozen) rocks so they could throw them in the (frozen) river. It wasn’t quite the same as, say, November, but I’ll admit to having a smile on my face as I breathed in fresh-ish air and looked at something other than the walls inside the house.