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February 12, 2008

Where are the Children?

Snowman_2They're inside. Why? I don't know. Maybe you can figure it out...

Last week, we had a "Chicago" snow day. Ah, the glorious snow day. Lucky for us, our school district has implemented a new automated alert system that calls every phone in the house at 5:45am to tell us that school is cancelled. Everybody up! You can sleep in. Not much luck getting a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old back to sleep, so I made pancakes and bacon.

By about 9:00, I was ready to go outside. "Let's build a snowman!" I shouted. "We've lived here 7 years and we've never built a snowman! I think today's the day. Who's with me?"

My 10-year-old: "Do I have to go outside?"
My 4-year-old: "I don't want to build a snowman."
My 2-year-old: "Dips." (This is what he calls his boots; I interpreted this as raging agreement with my snowman idea).

I answered yes, too bad, and here they are. I stuffed everyone into their snowsuits and and shoved them out the door. By the time I'd gotten my stuff on, they'd built a small snow wall and gone down the slide a couple of times. The two oldest ones asked if they could come in. WHAT? No. NO. You cannot come in. Go out to the front yard and start rolling snow.

They trudged down the driveway like I'd just dropped them off at quilting class. Within minutes, they were sitting in a pile of snow muttering about being cold. It didn't matter, though, because I was not listening. I declared that no one was going inside until the snowman was done. The 2-year-old was doing his level best to help me, but the snow came up to his thighs and he was having trouble getting around. The other two were useless. I asked them if they could go to the garage and find some things for a hat, eyes, a nose, and a mouth. They came back and said they couldn't find anything. Perfect. My 10-year-old, who is supposedly at the apex of giftedness in his elementary school, couldn't find anything. At this point I was rolling the third snowball and I triumphantly lifted it on to the top. "There!" I announced. "Our first snowman." They all looked at it. The 2-year-old said, "Snowman!" The other two followed immediately with, "Can we go in now?" Bloody hell. Fine. Go in. I went in after them and got some strawberries for the mouth, some empty Play-Doh eggs for the eyes and nose, and a sand bucket for the hat. I went back out by myself and put the finishing touches on my snowman. No one was there to see it. I took a picture. No one was there to be in it.

Honestly, I don't get it. When there's a foot of snow on the ground and you don't have to go to school, how can you NOT want to build a snowman? I file this in my bulging folder entitled "Evidence That I Understand Very Little About My Children." And what did they race in the house to do? Finger paint, for crying out loud. Like you can't do this any day of the week. Amusingly, however, when Paul came home that evening they said, "Hey Dad, look at our snowman." Excuse me? And whenever we pulled in or out of the driveway for a week, the boys waved to the snowman and said, "Hi, Mr. Snowman! Bye Mr. Snowman." Whatever. I can't begin to make sense of it. I guess at the end of the day, there's one small silver lining to this story...I had the 2-year-old. He was pretty much with me the whole time, and he's going to be the last one to move out of the house.


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