Snow Day Every Day

As the sun began to set, and the cooler weather blew in bringing forth the end of another day, I had a pain in my heart.   One could suppose, in light of all of this winter weather (we measured just over 8 inches at our house), my pain could be the sign of a heart attack.   Fortunately, we don’t own a snow shovel, nor do we bother with shoveling snow.   We just stay home and take full advantage of our once a year snow heaven from God.

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Last night; however, for the first time ever, I was actually saddened by the thought of warmer weather.   I had an ache for a continuation of our weekend, easily one of the best we’ve had as a family in a while.   It’s not that we aren’t family focused.    The majority of what we do, my husband and I, revolves our family and what we can do together.   We hike, we bike, we do puzzles, watch movies, and read.

This past weekend, though, was a whole different scene.

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When I was a child, we were given one chance per day to play in the snow.   My mother was of the cleanliness variety and preferred to NOT clean up after her kids all the time.   I can recall begging to go out, and while she would let us, we knew that it was a one shot deal.   I had a wonderful childhood, so please don’t read into this as me complaining, but like every parent, I want my children to have more.

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Friday, my husband worked from home, which meant I needed to keep our boys away from him.   I did so by taking them out in the two inches of snow we had at that point.   Snow down South is a novelty.   It’s a once a year phenomenon that’s usually here today and gone tomorrow, so you have to take advantage of it when it’s here.   Even if that means, playing in the two inches while it is also sleeting.   Yep.   Did that.   Did my boys have fun?  You betcha they did.

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Saturday morning found us back outside after a night of over six inches of heavy snowfall.   It was a winter wonderland to say the least.    Two years ago, we received a few inches of snow.   Henry was a mere 2 months old, unable to really understand what was going on.   Davey was three and loved it.   Last year we had another snowfall with a few inches.   Once again Davey was in heaven.   Henry?  Not so much.   This year was a whole different story.

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My boys ran, they made snow angels, built a snowman, went sledding (even with mom here, who had never been sledding a day), made snow balls, and crawled around.   Speaking of crawling around, my dear sweet Henry seemed to fashion himself as a WWII Allied soldier, as he belly crawled through the snow covered Ardennes.   Seriously, he belly crawled a LOT.

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My husband came out with us, so daddy joined in on the fun.   We would spend a couple of hours outside, come in for hot chocolate and a snack, then go back out for another round.   Nothing much we could do other than sit inside and watch tv, and we could do that any old day of the week.   We can’t always enjoy this stuff and I guess that’s what makes me a bit sad.

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I’m sad that this little piece of paradise will be gone soon.   I’m sad that the boys won’t have it anymore.   I want them to soak it all in (and they’ve done that both literally and figuratively).   I loved seeing their faces, eyes wide with shock at the sight of all this white stuff.   I laughed along with them as they belly laughed while sledding down the hill.   I didn’t think about the next day or the day after (which I do a LOT since I’m a planner).   I didn’t think about what we were going to eat or how much longer we were going to be outside.   I couldn’t think about anything except that moment, each moment, when we were making memories.

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For me, there never seems to be enough hours in the day.   There is laundry to be done, a house to be cleaned, exercises, a dog, dishes, dinners to prepare, school work, you name it.   There is always something in a day that doesn’t get done because there’s not enough time, and a lot of times I let those trivial things interfere with our moments, but not this weekend.

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We’ll head back into reality tomorrow, as the boys must go back to school, but for right now I want them to relish this time.   I want to hear their laughs, watch their adventures (they are snow warriors), and I want to time stamp and remember these very moments.   I suppose that’s my pain I’m feeling.   I suppose it’s the realization that another day, or days in this case, is in the history books, that my boys are days older, that one day this snow won’t hold the same level of excitement for them as it did this weekend.  I’m hoping I still have a couple of years, but one never knows.

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As I write this blog, I’ve decided to take a break and let them play by themselves in the backyard.   They’ve piled up snow two feet high at the foot of their slide and are now sliding into it.   They laugh and I can’t help but laugh and literally there is nothing else more important for me than this moment.

So, yeah, I’ll take a snow day every day.   I’m probably one of the few stay at home moms who feels this way.

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Survival of the Fittest

It’s a motto used by athletes and intellectuals all across the board.  Celebrities use it, common folk use it, politicians use it.  Once upon a time, I even used it.   These days, I don’t know how much stock I actually put into the words.  I’m getting older, a lot less bolder, and I just want to make sure that I can survive the raising of my youngest child, regardless of who’s the fittest.

Davey has become a lot easier these days.  He sasses me more than I’d like, but he’s also settling down more and becoming a bit of an asset to me (if children can be considered that).   He helps out more, is able to watch a television show and even most of a movie, thereby allowing me some downtime or the much needed chance to get some chores done.   He understands his chores and because I’ve chosen them wisely, he actually enjoys doing them.

I can take him places, football games, museums, restaurants, and not be too terribly concerned about either not enjoying myself or management kicking us out.  It’s been a long ride to get us to this place, a lot of heart aches and head aches, but we’re there.   Looking back, I never thought it would happen.  So, I can say I have at least survived my oldest son’s terrible twos.  Whew!  Henry?  Well, he’s a different story.

I found myself feeling as if I were having a Mommy Dearest moment the other day.  I came downstairs to find the 1000 piece puzzle I’ve been working (yes, I work puzzles, they’re fun and relaxing, while also stimulating) demolished and on the floor.  I snapped.   I got so mad,  I wanted to punch a hole in the wall.   I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs.  I wanted to punish whoever did it.   I almost wanted to take a wire hanger to someone, but I didn’t.   I did stomp around, interrogate both of my boys (although I knew who was the culprit) and then I threatened to take away all of their toys.   I made them clean up and all the while I was seething inside, the pressure mounting and a pain began forming in my left chest and I felt like I couldn’t breathe.   Dear God, was I having a heart attack, or coming near to it, all over a puzzle?  Nah, I think it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Henry.  Yes, Henry is the one these days who’s bringing me to the brink of death.   Henry is devious, strong willed, independent, and doesn’t seem to consider any consequences with his actions.  I’m aware he’s not yet two, but he’s very smart for a two year old, much smarter than Davey at times, a feat I didn’t think possible.

Henry is entering his terrible twos, which if I remember correctly means I have at least another two years of this behavior.   TWO YEARS!  I don’t know if I’m fit, mentally or physically, to survive.   I genuinely believe he will take me down, he will destroy me piece by piece, eroding away my armor, until I’m completely naked and vulnerable, where he’ll then deliver the knife to the heart.   Maybe I’m a bit melodramatic, but I really think Henry will be the death of me.

He’s adventurous, has zero fear, doesn’t listen (likes to run towards the road, regardless of how many times I’ve said “no”) and believes anything his four year old brother can do, he can do it better.   I’m going to die.  I am literally going to go into an early grave with this child if I don’t learn how to relax.   My problem, though, is that I’m not thinking on the level of an almost two year old, or even a four year old for that matter.  I’m assuming, falsely I might add, that these boys are on my level.   I’m not coming down to theirs, and therein, my friends, lies the problem.   I find myself every night saying these words, “I just don’t understand.”

So what if the fence is colored with chalk, it’ll wash off.  So what if my puzzle is destroyed, it can be put back together.   So what if Henry threw my wallet in the trash can at the museum, it was recovered, albeit a half an hour later.   That third thing did happen, by the way.   So what if he’s not eating his food, throwing it across the room, he’s obviously not starving.   So what if he instigates half of the fights with his older brother, he’ll learn not to mess with a bull or that those horns will hook.   So what if he’s pulling poop out of his diaper and wiping on walls?  So what!  Those are the words I should be saying to myself every day.   He is only going to be this age for a while and then all new headaches will start.   Sigh.  I don’t think that thought is really helping my cause as I’m sitting here at 4 am on a Friday morning writing a blog.

The only thing that even remotely makes me smile about the idea of if Henry puts me into an early grave, is knowing that my husband will no longer have a buffer.  He’ll have to deal with these boys on his own.  He’ll have to suffer through my torture.  I’m not thinking nicely, shame on me. I wonder where Henry gets his devious nature?  Hmmm.

Happy Friday, y’all!

Oh, So You’re THAT Mom…

I didn’t hear those words last night, but I most certainly received the looks that conveyed that message.

Last night was Meet the Teacher at Davey’s School.   School is an exciting time for me.  I’m a nerd.  I love school.   I love to learn, and at times I love to teach my sons.   Unfortunately for me, and my sons, my personality has yet to equip me with the capacity to be a home school mom, which means I send them to a Christian school two days a week.

Davey will be four, one month from today, but he is starting into K3 thanks to the State of SC’s lovely cut off.  I have mixed emotions about this which I will address later.

So, Davey will be in a classroom with kids younger than him, some by almost a full year.   At this age, I shouldn’t be too terribly concerned about it, and that’s what I keep telling myself.

When meeting the teachers last night, I was thrilled to see that his TA (Teacher’s Assistant) will actually be the same one he had last year for K2.   It took a load off of me, allowing me to literally wipe the sweat that had started beading up on my forehead.   He loved Mrs. Whaling, and the fact that she knows him AND me, is making this process a little bit easier.   As for his new teacher, I need to warm up to her a bit.

She’s young.  She graduated college seven years after I did.   Her one advantage in my eyes is that she went to Bob Jones University here in Greenville.   It’s a great university, which instills a lot of love and faith in Christ in its students, something I know she’ll bring with her.   Even with that under her belt, her age still bothers me.   Yes, I’m discriminating.   I’m trying to stop, but as my husband says, she’s a little too bubbly for him, but maybe bubbly is what our kids need.

My biggest concern; however, was when I inquired as to what the curriculum would be like for K3.   When she explained it to me, my heart sank.  I nicely explained to her, with a compassionate smile, that Davey is already well ahead of the game.   He already writes his upper case letters.   He’s learning to write his lower case letters now.   He knows how to spell some words.  He can write his numbers, at least all the way up to 10, and he’s even started learning mathematics.   He knows sounds and has begun to sound out words.  He knows more than a lot of current K4 students know.

As I explained this to her, she looked at me and said, “well, I guess when Sue takes the kids to their centers, I could work one on one with Davey.”  That sentence rubbed me the wrong way.  I wanted to say, “you GUESS?”

I gave up my career four years ago.  I gave up a big portion of my dreams to be a stay at home mom.   I chose to stay at home so that I could be hands on with the boys, not so that I could have the cleanest house, or the prettiest yard, or more “me” time.   Those three things suffer A LOT, even with me being at home.   They are not my priorities.   My sons are my priorities.   Their continued growth, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, and physically, are my number one concern.   From my very first day of being home, I started working with Davey.   I took him to story time at the library, made flash cards with colors, bought puzzles, read him books, played music, all of this in an effort to make him better than me and his dad, to encourage him to be more, and at times I feel as if I’ve succeeded.

Five days a week, I find a way to incorporate a minimum of three hours a day of some sort of “schooling” for my boys.   I don’t follow a curriculum and it’s hard on all of us for me to try to create a school type atmosphere, but they learn.   They learn their manners, they learn about God and our creation, they learn their numbers and letters, they learn their shapes and colors.  They either build upon something they already knew or I add something new onto them.   So, maybe I am leading somewhat of a homeschool life after all.

As my husband and I climbed into bed last night, I told him that I had backtracked from my original statement earlier in the evening.   Today is student orientation and while Davey has that, I’m to attend a Sip and Sob with other parents.   My original intent during the Sip and Sob was to find a way to speak with the Headmaster of Davey’s school to convey my concerns about where he is academically and how he’s penalized because of his age.   By the time I’d gotten into bed; however,  I had changed my mind.

I’m going to let Davey go into K3.  I’m going to let him go back to school with some of his friends.   I’m going to let this play out.  If need be, I can have parent teacher conferences on a weekly basis (which I did last year).   I can, and will, continue to help Davey grow and learn every day.   My husband told me last night that truthfully the only reason either one of our boys are going to school right now is because I need a break from them.   He told me, I do more for them than any school could right now, but that their going was really just to give me a few hours a day, two days a week, to recharge.  I suppose he’s right.

So, this morning, I will drop Davey off for his student orientation.  I will begrudgingly sit in Sip and Sob with these other moms and play my role.  I will let him stay where he is because as my mother in law said to me, right now Davey is a big fish in a little pond.   Wouldn’t I rather like that for him than to be a little fish in a big pond?