I slowly pushed and contorted my way out of the car, minding the door against a bank of snow, eyeing the slick of ice under my left foot. I was very much feeling all my forty-six-and-a-half years as I gingerly walked towards the pale, blue house. The sitter had agreed to keep Jon for a couple of hours while I attempted to eke out a bit of work and restock our depleted pantry.
The worst of the storm was past, and with it the worry that we’d lose power. Yet as we were midway through what would eventually be a full week without school, new stresses were putting my stomach through its paces. A full week (plus the weekend before it) of no school meant lots and lots of hours spent indoors, or at most, on our unplowed block.
I knew it was coming, and did find comfort that we kept the lights and heat (and TV and Internet), but that barely made the challenges any less so. My aspirations were grand — to bake, to craft, to LEGO — but were slowly and monotonously eclipsed by my desire to keep the peace and my wits.
They don’t call this the dead of winter for nothing. Bitter cold. No sunshine. Cooped-up kids tearing the house apart as you slowly tear out your hair. No new episodes of The Walking Dead for nearly a month.
And the sickness – the never ending cycle of sickness.
Mid-winter is always rough for families with kids, and this year has been particularly infectious. Aside from getting a flu shot, the most effective way to prevent illness is to wash your hands. Every doctor, childcare professional, teacher, parent, and educational Muppet has been drilling this into your kids’ heads since birth. And yet, based on personal experience of how regularly my child practices responsible (unassisted) hygiene, it’s a wonder we’re not in the midst of a full-blown toddler zombie apocalypse. Here are five reasons why…
During the two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, Papa and I had both been away at conferences, overlapping by only a few hours at home, tagging in to take the next multi-day shift of solo parenting. A few days later Papa had to leave again for a business trip, during which time yet another snow storm dumped all over the East Coast, leaving him stranded in Chicago and me and JJ stranded indoors at home. Luckily we never lost power, though the snow was certainly deep enough and the wind windy enough. We did our best to entertain ourselves with movies, dinosaur puzzles, epic Ninja Turtle battles and cupcake-making. Yet a couple of times I felt cabin fever taking hold—so when the all clear came for the boy to go back to school, there was great rejoicing and sighing with relief.
As spring is finally starting to creep in, I thought I’d share these few (and rare, non-Instagram) photos of JJ watching Papa shovel snow from a couple weeks ago.
I’m not sure why I think posting photos on my blog is filler — I could look at these all day…
Here’s my (hopefully) last retroactive Advent doodle, inspired by another of the songs I performed with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington last weekend at our annual holiday concert.
Our big finale was a medley called Winter Party, which consisted of the following:
1. The full chorus singing “Winter Nights,” composed by one of our own choristers;
2. “White Christmas” was sung while another member performed a ballet (pas de un?) I admit I’m not a ballet aficionado, but this guy was lovely to watch;
3. “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, complete with a gaggle dancers in shiny booty shorts, one emerging from a furry, white egg;
4. and concluding with “Winter Wonderland,” which served to serenade a parade of increasingly over-the-top, glittery, feathery, snowy showboys. It was a sight to behold.
While I readily admit not every song or show we perform is my cup of tea (I still don’t get the “Born This Way” connection to Christmas*) I’m always amazed the quality, variety and originality of our performances.
And what makes GMCW great is illustrated in today’s doodle… While we share a love of music (oh yeah, and the gay thing) we are as disparate as any community you’ll find, each their own distinct little snowflake. But when all 250+ of us come together, it’s quite the singular sensation…
*I still think we should have had a dancing Baby Jesus emerge from the snowy Gaga egg, since the song is called “Born This Way.” But that’s just the rebellious preacher’s kid in me stirring up trouble.
String mittens used to evoke a warm, nostalgic feeling in me. Thoughts of childhood, simpler times, cute toddlers in puffy snowsuits, a la A Christmas Story. But that was before I had a cute, puffy toddler of my own.
Form my limited experience with these mitteny marvels, I’ve learned three valuable lessons:
1. Make sure you put the correct mittens through the correct arm holes. Because once you’ve got your little one bundled, wrapped and zipped up tights, there’s no going back. And you thought putting them on their chubby, little hands the right way was difficult…
2. If when the mittens fall off while your child is walking around, they will most likely be too long, get stepped on, and send your kiddo tumbling into the mud. Before you head out, check to see how long they dangle when un-handed, then tie the slack up in a loop behind your child’s neck.
3. Maybe you’re in a rush, you’ve popped said toddler into the stroller for a ride through the local park or neighborhood to see the Christmas lights. You realize how freaking cold it is and put the mittens on after-the-fact, string out. Do not do this. By the time you’re done with your stroll and you’re unbuckling your tyke to put him or her into the car, they will (if they’re like JJ) want to slide down and out under the bar of the stroller, leaving you with a tangled, twisted nest of mitten string, stroller straps, and chubby toddler limbs. All of which you are trying to unravel in the cold, in the dark, and in the busy parking lot with annoying Holiday revelers impatiently stalking your parking space.
Has anyone had luck with those clip-on mittens? Or invented opera gloves for babies, perhaps?
I know JJ will at some point go through a phase of demanding round-the-clock, über-annoying kiddie music. So I figured I should inundate him with as much real music as possible while I still have some say over what goes into his little ears.
This week we’ve been jamming to The Beach Boys, specifically Sounds of Summer – The Very Best of The Beach Boys. It’s been a great way to stave off the cold, dreary weather. And while there’s some cheesy later-years filler (cover of “Rock & Roll Music”, “Getcha Back”) the CD offers a good mix of upbeat songs and mellower, getting-ready-for-bed music. There’s just nothing cuter than seeing JJ bouncing up and down in his crib to surf rock. Fun, Fun, Fun, indeed.
What “adult” music did you foist on your kids when they were little?
Owls are all the rage, further evidenced by this super cool (warm) hat from Turtle Fur. They also offer wolf, polar bear, pig and unicorn hats, but this one really made me hoot! Fits kids ages 1-7, and also on sale at Zulily.com for a limited time.