Tag Archives: parenting advice

How to play with your kids in the snow

There are some people in this world who will tell you that there is no “right” way to play with your children in the snow. These people are wrong. And probably serve their children fruit as “dessert.” 

There is a right way. Oh sure, a few details might vary and there is some accounting for individual family quirks, but on the whole, no matter how good of a parent you are, snow days follow an almost scientific formula. At least according to the data I have collected over the last seven years. 

First, any proper snow day begins by the children waking up at dawn, looking outside their window and then immediately running into your room, where they jump on your face and loudly ask if they can go play in the snow. They will then repeat this question every five minutes and whine “but you PROMISED!” over and over and over again until you finally roar “FINE!” at the top of your lungs and they scamper away squealing with delight like the relentless, adorable gaslighters they are. 

Then begins the thankless task of gathering all the outerwear, which were scattered to the distant four corners of your house the last time your children played in the snow. In between muttering obscenities about missing gloves and yelling about how in the world can all the snow boots only consist of the left snow boot, you remind everyone to go potty. Because once all these layers are on you are NOT taking them all off again. 

The next half hour is a blur of stuffing tiny humans into snowpants and socks and sweaters and hoodies and hats and one glove while still looking for the other stupid glove and sunglasses for the kid who can’t go anywhere without sunglasses and scarves and ya’ll peed, right, because I’m not taking all this off again and ah-HA! there is that other stupid glove and what do you mean you lost the first glove, it was literally on your hand, and coats with stuck zippers and I told you the other snowboots were probably by the door and push harder, when did your feet grow, why are you growing all the time, and HEY, I found the glove, it was in mommy and daddy’s room, I told you stay out of our room.

Finally everyone is ready. 

Everyone has to pee. 

Repeat. Repeat it ALL. 

Now if you have a big backyard and can simply open the door and release these loud toddling bundles into the wintry wild, stop reading here. Go contentedly sigh and enjoy a glass of wine in your dumb peaceful house or something.

For those of you who are like me and have small children in a city and thus need to “go somewhere” such as a park to play in the snow, the worst is yet to come. 

Once you finally “get somewhere” (which, regardless of how you get there, will include many complaints and gritted teeth threats) there will be approximately ten minutes of pure, unadulterated joy. This is the brief moment in time where you remember why you decided to have children in the first place and why you love them and your family and your life and how did you possibly get so lucky as to be able to share a life with these people? 

Then, just like the cheap plastic sled they sit upon, it all swiftly goes downhill. 

Soon, someone will run over someone else with their sled because the kid on the sled didn’t listen and the kid climbing back up the hill didn’t listen. Everyone is crying. 

They need a distraction. LET’S BUILD A SNOWMAN! Is there any activity that is more wholesome? Nope. At least for the next three minutes, after which you realize that you are the only one actually building the snowman and you can no longer feel your fingers. 

Luckily, someone will always, inevitably, suggest a snowball fight. What could go wrong? 

No aiming for the face, you yell over and over again. Surprisingly the kids abide. Eventually, however, you will hit one of the children in the face. By “accident” of course and not some subconscious urge. They will cry. You will feel awful (mostly). You will offer cookies and hot chocolate as consolation when you go back home. They will accept and immediately pop up like nothing happened. 

You stay until both feet are completely numb and you’re pretty sure you’ve already lost three fingers to frostbite. When you finally can’t take it anymore, you give a five minute warning. May as well have been announcing you murdered Memaw AND Grandma AND Daniel Tiger. The wailing. The keening. The dramatic protestations that if you really loved them you would let them play for just a little longer. 

Through sheer force of will (and some light dragging), you eventually wrangle them home and inside. Everyone violently disrobes, snow and ice and boots and gloves and hats flying, everything wet and gross and dirty. You are too tired to gather them all up even though you know you will later regret this. 

It’s over. You survived. 

Only a thousand more days until spring. 

Shut up, I’m tired (& other wise parental sayings)

I remember it like it was yesterday. But really it was this morning. I think. It’s hard telling. When you’re the parent of small children, roughly one thousand things happen between now and 30 minutes ago. Most of them involving bodily fluids. So, time is fluid, to say the least. (Shut up, I’m writing this on two hours sleep).

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Awful puns aside, the other day I was playing with my kids at the park when a pair of elderly ladies passed by us. While I was innocently watching my children put things in their mouth that did NOT belong, these ladies oh-so-rudely interrupted our private stick-gnawin’ good time with the unsolicited demand that I “enjoy this, it goes by so fast.” To which I replied “UGH, I’M TRYING!” but the women were already gone because I was too busy pulling the aforementioned sticks out of both kids’ mouths before I could respond. I would have been irritated by the whole thing too, except I then had to immediately teach my toddler to “discreetly” go potty behind a tree and wrassle a squirrel away from the baby (who, despite my best efforts, has turned completely feral).

Is there any phrase we busy moms hate to hear more than “enjoy it, it goes by so fast”? Yes. “Uh-oh, Mommy, I pooped my pants” is pretty high up there. But the former is in at least the Top Five.

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If there is a refrain to the melody that is modern parenting, that’s it. Enjoy it! It goes by so fast! *intense pots and pans drum solo* Repeat 1,000 times. Win a Grammy. (Grammy, in this case, means a grandmother, who you call crying hysterically, demanding they come visit immediately if they want to continue having grandchildren).

I don’t know if it has always been this way, since technically I only became a mom three years ago when a gigantic red-headed Viking baby exited my body, but there does seem to be immense pressure put on parents today to enjoy every single little moment. We are told this by strangers we pass on the street, by our own parents, by friends whose children are now awful, moody teenagers. I was even told to “enjoy it, it goes by so fast” by another mom whose daughter was only 6 months older than my toddler.

So, let me put this in no uncertain terms. I do enjoy spending time with my children. I enjoy the crap out of it.

NOW GET OFF MY BACK.

I put my phone down when they are playing at the playground, lest I miss one glorious minute of them going down the slide and/or eating old cigarettes butts from the ground.

On the flip side, if they even DARE touch my phone to play some annoying game while I am busy staring deep into their beautiful eyes, I throw the phone out the window. What’s the cost of a new phone compared to the possibility I might miss one of their adorable blinks?

I hold them. All the time. At this point, my body is like one of those foam memory mattresses, molded to the exact shape of my kids’ bony-ass bodies.

I once thought about getting a babysitter to go get a haircut and maybe a glass of wine but decided against it at the last minute. What if while I was gone I missed a major milestone? Like my baby saying her 17th word or my toddler discovering that all breakfast foods are not, in fact, icky? I may have stringy witch hair that hangs to my waist and look like an Amish cautionary tale, but I WAS THERE THE DAY MY SON ATE HIS FIRST POPTART, DAMMIT.

And while, and please don’t judge me, I let them watch (gasp) TV, I make sure to record them watching these shows, which I will rewatch while lying in bed instead of going to sleep because EVERY BREATH THEY TAKE IS PRECIOUS.

Ok? Ok? OK!?! IT ALL GOES BY SO FAST. I AM WELL AWARE OF THIS. And even me reassuring you that I am doing my best not to miss a single moment is making me miss a moment. A moment I will never get back! I haven’t even peed since they’ve been born! Too much time away from them! And yet, there you are, making me miss precious seconds with them so I can let you know I don’t want to miss a single second with them!

So, no need to remind me that it’s more important to play with them on the floor than to clean the floor. My floor is super gross. So is my kitchen. So is my entire house. Not an episode of “Hoarders” gross but it definitely is “my kids have wicked strong immune systems” gross.

And now all I want is to sit back and relax and enjoy the fact that I’m enjoying everything. Which I will do. As soon as I finish negotiating with my son how many chicken nuggets lawfully equal a popsicle for dessert and pull my baby out from under the couch where she is currently hiding with the squirrel she stole from the park.