Snow Days

Well. It snowed like mad last week, making it increasingly difficult to squeeze productivity out of my being. Temps hovered around -14 for a few days and the whole town shut down. When it snows to such a degree, I often feel like God is giving me a white blanket to cover up with, handing me a fluffy quilted duvet and a pat on the head, rushing me back to bed to sleep for a few more hours.

And then he’s like, “Just kidding! You have a baby,” and Bee yells for me to come get her from her crib, ripping the duvet to shreds and leaving me cold and sleep-deprived, quite literally. It does not help that the rest of my immediate friend circle have jobs that fall under the category of “Normalcy,” so they are handed what is called a “Snow Day,” and I am handed what is called “Work from Your Locked Bedroom Day.”

On Friday, I attempted to write no less than four articles – locked in my bedroom – while Bee screamed in sheer terror outside in the hallway because the shirt she was wearing contained zero pockets. Naturally. (Bee’s affinity for pockets cannot be matched; it is absolutely the deepest obsession I’ve come across in our days together, and there have been many deep obsessions, ranging from a stuffed cactus to a random piece of tin foil to the left wheel of a train caboose.)

So, needless to say. It’s been trying. An entire week locked in the house with a toddler is a twisted form of something I can’t yet describe. It’s a blissful torture – the kind where you die from laughing and crying at the same time. Or just crying.

Let’s be clear: I am not the kind of mother who orchestrates extravagant activities for her children involving salt and dough and vinegar and look – it’s a volcano! As much as I love crafts, the rage I feel when I spend 30 minutes setting up a mess-free finger painting “station” to have Bee lose interest in 22.4 seconds is enough to fuel a small army. So, in the interest of keeping (my) peace, I just let her open every cabinet and drawer and chest until she orchestrates her own fun, which is usually of the messiest variety possible. This goes on for nearly an hour and then I can handle no more of the destruction so I let her watch Cailou for the rest of the afternoon while the guilty pit in my stomach says, “Turn off the TV! Her brain is rotting!” but the frazzled part of my brain says, “Turn on the TV! Your brain is rotting!”

It’s the great battle of will: Child entertainment vs. Mom sanity. I’m not yet convinced who’s winning.

Anyway, we’re all back into a bit of a groove this week, and it feels good. I’m back at the coffee shop, typing away for hours until it’s time to head home around noon to put on my Mom hat. In the mean time, here are a few snapshots of our entrance to 2014 (thank you, Instagram), loosely titled “Snow Day (Week) Survival Guide for The Loechner Family”:

(When the town closes, the pond opens for ice skating. Call us Norman Loechwell.)

(The secret to snow day chili is to add chocolate. Trust me on this one.)

(Thank you, Magnadoodle, for creating a writing surface the dog cannot eat.)

(Ken, the jolliest man I know, built a sled for Bee and the pair took it for a spin on one of the “warmer” days. They very nearly melted the snow with their cuteness.)

(A rare and quiet crafternoon. Turns out painting keeps her busy for 4 minutes, but eating an apple has a TET (Toddler Entertainment Timeline) of 30 minutes. And yes I did buy 20 apples this morning.)

Wishing you happy days (and toddlers) – warm or cold, wherever you are.

  • Dear Loechwells….so happy to see the sled! What a picture of pure joy on the part of both participants! It will get easier as Bee gets older, but be prepared for the “Ma, there’s nothing to do”…as opposed to the sheer enthusiasm you are enjoying now! P.S. How much chocolate in the chili?

    • Oh, I’m preparing myself for this now. ;) And you’ll have to ask Ken about the chocolate ratio! He adapted your chili recipe so all the ingredients were fresh/organic, and it turns out the Skyline recipe contains chocolate and a slew of other spices. He’s got it down to a science now! :) Of course, it tastes better when your own mom makes it. :)

  • Waaw, that looks great (although very inconvenient also snow, I get that).
    Here no snow yet this winter.
    Personally I think letting her do her own thing in the kitchen and finding her own entertainment does a lot more for her creativity then preparing al sorts of craft activities. And both make a mess, there’se no escaping that I’m afraid. TET, ha! Funny.

  • so right about the apple vs. painting TET! my son spent exactly 45 minutes with an apple the other day, while i did the dishes and then spent half an hour just sitting next to him expecting him to throw the apple on the floor any minute. ha! he got me. “i’ll entertain myself for hours mom, but only if you don’t get to do anything productive”.

  • Oh Erin, I wasn’t locked in a house for a week with mine but believe you me, I had a few days off around Christmas and I made sure as much daycare as possible was still going to happen so I could have a few blissful hours to: take a shower with the door closed and not yelling close the cupboard door! Where’s your car? Vroom-vroom! What are you doing?!; time to clean house at my leisure and without sharing the broom, vacuum, duster, or telling him to keep his mitts off the dishwasher full of knives, forks and dirty stuff; errands in the car with total silence and no on in the back seat yelling NOOOOO because I tried to hand back the water instead of the cracker… I feel ya, girl. Love the kid to pieces but I also have spent an entire afternoon with baby TV so I could regain my sanity. = )

  • There’s an internet meme out there with Mom looking down at her child lovingly and scrawled across the top it says “You’re making it very difficult for me to be the parent I always wanted to be.” I think this is so incredibly true! No child conforms to our ideals. Darn them for their independent thinking! :) Plus I think there’s something inherently “special” about the toddler stage. Liam has definitely transformed, seemingly overnight once he turned 1 a month ago. Although my teenager isn’t much better some days…
    I think that’s why museums charge so much. You’re so desperate, not only to say you did something educational, but to get out of the house you’re willing to pay anything at that point. Child entertainment: 1. Mom sanity: 0.5

    • HA! That is hilarious, Jennifer – and sooooooo true. ;) Oh I wish we had a slew of museums our way! Right now we’re relying pretty heavily on playdates. ;)

  • Yes I don’t know what it is with toddlers and pockets!! And so hard to work with the little ones around us- I feel guilty too for resorting to Dora:)- thx for posting this:)!!

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