Some of you may have heard that we’ve had record breaking snow amounts in Vermont lately. You can tell it was record breaking because they actually closed schools and government offices; that never happens. So today I had my first real snow day with my 20 month old. Alone. This event has compelled me to offer some advice for others who might be trapped in a similar situation. (As a bonus, a good proportion of this might also apply if you fell into the polar bear’s pit at the zoo.)
1. Play dead.
While I brought Addy into bed with me this morning at 6 AM, having persuaded her it was still night-night at 5 and 5:45, I did not interact with her at all. Instead, I handed her my iPod. Thanks to that annoying talking Tom and Gina Giraffe, I got an entire extra hour of dozing. Sure, I know, I shouldn’t be introducing Addy to video games yet, and I do pay for it later when she tries to wrest the iPod from my pocket, but an entire day trapped indoors does merit some rule bending. I’m promising you survival here, not a parenting award.
2. S-L-O-W D-O-W-N.
Of course you should slow down on a snow day and do your best to enjoy this time with your kids. Duh. What I’m recommending you also do is to slow down doing things for your kids. Today I let Addy climb every dang step on her own. I was in no hurry to get her anywhere or to do anything, so we just took our sweet time doing everything. I even refused to rush her diaper changes. If she refused to lie still while I was changing her, I told her, “Let me know when you want me to change you.” Then I’d go sit in a chair and ignore her. Sure, I could only play it this cool after I’d wiped the poop off her bum, and sure, it meant I had to wipe pee off the floor once today. It was really easier on me though to just let her run around naked for 10 minutes while I played solitaire (oh, blessed iPod), and for her to learn that if she wanted my attention she had to first let me take care of her.
3. Break your toe.
Okay, I don’t really recommend you do this. I just wanted to get some sympathy for having a broken toe and a toddler who is inexplicably drawn to stepping on it. Repeatedly. Turns out it’s a bitch to play on the floor with your near spastic toddler with a broken toe. I would recommend that you avoid playing it up for sympathy with your child, since s/he will try- again and again- to kiss it and make it better. This, of course, results in you wincing and smiling and thanking your child for causing you more pain.
4. Stock up.
Do I really need to tell you to make sure, if you know snow is coming, to have enough chocolate, wine, and coffee on hand to get you through? Make sure it’s the good stuff too, or you will regret it. In an emergency situation you can, and should, offer some, or all, to your child.
5. Do some chores.
All my friends, who are better parents than I am, spent the day posting to Facebook their friendly tips on indoor activities to do with your kid. They included links to mommy craft blogs, ideas for creating an indorr obstacle course, and cookies to bake. I opted to put Addy to work scrubbing my bathtub and doing dishes; she was thrilled. The trick is to clean with baking soda and vinegar, I’ve found, because Addy still loves to taste everything that passes within 50 feet of her mouth. She was perfectly content to scrub alongside me with a toothbrush covered in baking soda for a good 30 minutes this morning, and I have a very shiny tub that I’m considering taking my own bath in now. With one of those glasses of wine. My friends, by contrast, are now busy cleaning up from all their craft projects.
6. Call in reinforcements.
My husband, on spring break in Colorado with our firstborn, has not called to see how his wife and baby are fairing in the BIGGEST SNOWSTORM of the season. Thank god for my neighbor who came to my rescue this morning. Passing me her own young daughter through the crack we managed to make in the door, she gamely set to shoveling me out of the house. In all honesty, I only left the house for 5 minutes later that afternoon to make sure our heating vent was clear so we wouldn’t die of carbon monoxide poisoning, but it was nice to know I could open the front door if I needed to thanks to D. D’s real heroism, I have to say, was for trekking across our neighborhood to keep me company in the BIGGEST SNOWSTORM since 2007. It was just very nice to sit on my couch and remark how kooky my child was with her to listen.
I’m hopeful that we’ll all be plowed out tomorrow and that life and work can resume as normal. If not though… will someone send me a link to one of those mommy craft blogs or cookie recipes to bake with your toddler? It’s gonna be a long day…
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