R woke up puking this morning. Suddenly my whole day was mapped out crystal clear — it would be a long one.
It was. The poor thing couldn’t keep anything down, slept more than he has since he was a toddler, requested snuggles all the while he was awake, basically clung to me like a swimsuit. His spirits lifted somewhat when V came home from school, but they both missed dad who’s been away and doesn’t get back until Thursday, so the long day led to a sullen evening. To top it all, R couldn’t make it to the bathroom in time and his last oral offering for the day lay all over my floor stinking something terrible.
Gagging my intestines out at clean-up, the third shower of the day (his and mine) and an unscheduled load of laundry later, the kids are in bed and all I can do is look up and sigh in a PG Wodehouse sort of way, “Well?!”
Time has hung heavy in this house the last few days. Today is the kids’ fifth straight day off school, and the tension in the air is palpable by early evening. Days off being snowed in are very different from vacation time, when everyone is prepared to get on each other’s nerves. A sudden day off throws everyone into chaos — wake up early or not? lavish breakfast or routine? TV time as usual or holiday hours?
By the fifth day nothing holds allure any more. Family time becomes mildly intolerable; we’ve after all played countless games of monopoly, read together, pondered life’s pertinent questions (“Mama, when I was in your tummy did you ever feel as full as I am right now? This after a particularly hearty meal.), danced to wild music, baked, made snowmen long melted, watched movies (oh, hours of them!). What else is there left to do now except step on each other’s toes? Imaginary play now quickly deteriorates into “Moooommm! I’m Spiderman but he won’t listen to me!! <whack>”. There is INCESSANT whining about those cookies we baked (see above). The hubby rather quickly (and gladly!) left the house early this morning uncaring of the snow-clogged driveway or icy roads. (I grumbled, but don’t blame him; reversed, I’d have done the exact same thing.)
Before my kids were school-aged, I used to actually pity those “poor, wretched kids” whose parents couldn’t wait for fall so the kids could go back to school. To my righteous, baby-oriented mind it was unthinkable that someone wouldn’t love their little ones enough to want to protect them from the big, bad world out there, and thus want to spend all their days with their kids. It didn’t occur to me that once your kids are school-going, having them home unscheduled is like having a stranger turn up at your door unannounced and insist on sipping tea from your cup. It’s bewildering. It’s confusing. It’s not amusing. It throws your life temporarily off balance.
I’m not being selfish. My poor kids are worse off. The last two nights they have included “I hope there’s school tomorrow” in their bedtime prayers. They miss their friends, the rhythm of the school day, the break from their (possibly overbearing) mother, their place in a world outside of the home. Let’s hope their wish comes true tomorrow and we can all get on with our lives.