Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snow Days

My kids have had two days of school cancelled and two delayed days in the last week because of snow. Blah. I really do not like snow days. This is not because I dislike my children and don’t want them to stay home. All these “canceled” days get tacked on at the end of June; and a day of canceled school in January (where we are all trapped in the house because of the miserable weather) is nothing like a summer vacation day.

Here's all the snow at our house.

Here are my two daughters "helping shovel" (notice the shovels in their hands) on a snow day last week.

On these snow days, I often get an overabundance of emails from other people who are also stranded at home. Their emails often begin “Since you’re stuck at home with some extra time, maybe you could…” Let me provide a little rundown of my “extra time” on Tuesday.

The day started at 6 a.m. when the phone rang with a prerecorded message from the school letting us know they had canceled school. (Is it really necessary to wake me in order to tell me: don’t worry, your kids don’t have school so you can sleep in?)

By 8:30 a.m., George had left for work (at 7:15 by catching the bus because the roads were too bad to drive), the kids had eaten breakfast, and then immediately Taylor (age 8) had thrown up. Great.

I was determined to do my little aerobic video like I would on any other day, so I optimistically put on my exercise clothes. I wore them around the house for the next hour while I fixed hair, set out clothes, gave Christian (age 15 months) a bath, started laundry, and cleaned up the graham crackers Christian had dumped out and then stepped on. Finally at 9:30 I started my video. I use a system called (don’t laugh) the Firm which involves a two-tiered step. After ten minutes, Christian had discovered (as he does many mornings) how fun it is to climb up and down the step while I try to not step on him. After ten more minutes, he was tired of being ignored and had attached himself to my leg and begun shrieking. I asked Rachel (age 10) if she could play with him for a few minutes. This worked for approximately 90 seconds. Twenty minutes of exercise is good for something, right?

At 10:30 I put Christian down for a nap. The kids had rented a video and so I thought this was the perfect time to work. I turned on my computer. At 10:55, Sarah Ann (age 5) came to tell me she wasn’t feeling well either. Could I take her temperature? Taylor was cold. Could I get him a blanket? I finally sat down again and (no joke) the cat walked across my keyboard and somehow turned it off.

At 12:30 I made a gourmet lunch of pancakes, eggs, and strawberries. Christian (awake again) ate all the strawberries and threw every piece of pancake on the floor. Sarah Ann looked at her food, then went and lay back down. Taylor ate a pancake, then went and threw up.

I was worried if we didn’t shovel before the freezing rain came, we’d be in trouble. So, Rachel and I went outside with shovels while the others stayed inside. I shoveled while Rachel ate snow off the top of the car. After 45 minutes (with me checking on the kids every five minutes), we were about half-way done. Sarah Ann opened the door and yelled “Taylor is throwing up and Christian is calling someone in China.” That was the end of shoveling.

In the afternoon, I helped Taylor with spelling homework, Sarah Ann with coloring homework (in theory kindergarten homework has some higher purpose, but I can’t really tell what it is), and helped Rachel read rules on eighteenth-century etiquette for a social studies project. (She got the idea from an article I published in American Spirit Magazine called Mind Your Manners.) This was followed by laundry folding, dinner cooking, dish washing, floor sweeping, etc. George was home by now and he gave Rachel a trombone lesson (I will refrain from commenting on this). I read Sarah Ann a chapter of “Ramona the Brave” and Taylor and I looked at my favorite book, Lonely Planet’s “The Travel Book” with pictures from every country in the world. Taylor told me his number one travel destination is “a country in Africa with the most animals.”

Bedtime was 8 p.m. I opened my computer again and began going through the emails with tasks for me to do during my extra time. Does answering emails count as work? (Or does blogging about snow days?)


  1. Oh yes. I know those people...the ones who think a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom has "extra time."

    My last bit of "extra time" was in 2005.

  2. Oh no, you got it!! Hope it goes quickly and you & George are able to avoid catching it. So sorry!

  3. I remember those days! Snow days now mean my daughter moves back home to the 'burbs so she can get to work. The city never plows her small side street while our subdivision is swept clean.

  4. I firmly believe mothers of small children don't get sick days, personal days, snow days, vacations, or time off for good behavior. No wonder we're all tired.

    I agree with your observation regarding homework in kindergarten.

    Thanks for the post!