Here is what a snow day appears to mean to the children: I have no responsibilities and unfettered access to both my parents. Though we will go nowhere, I will change my clothes multiple times and insist on bulking up on baked goods at random points throughout the day. Here is what it appears to mean to my husband: unlike a regular weekend when I nap once, on snow days I will nap twice. Snow days are apparently the Passover of other days to Phil: on this day, he dips twice. Here is what it means to me: I transform into some sort of crazed short order cook/camp counselor who cooks, dances, plays soldiers, cuts valentines, does whatever needs to be done for nearly 14 hours straight.The day started somewhere around 6:30AM with the children asking why we were still asleep. By 7:45AM, Dylan and Phil were playing Life at the kitchen table. By 8AM, Dylan and Ruby were having their first fight of the day over where they should sit at the kitchen table. I was cooking egg sandwiches. By 9AM, I was literally panic-stricken that it was only 9AM and forced Phil to make a minute-by minute schedule of how the rest of the day would go. It included things that I imagined happened in the pretend version of my family that exists only in my head when there is a snow day, like “family storytime by the fireplace.”
At 11AM, Dylan still wasn’t dressed. Ruby, however, was on her 4th outfit. At noon, Dylan proudly proclaimed that he “tricked” me by not wearing underwear all morning. We all ate blizzard babka (which is babka you eat when you are stuck in a blizzard). I put on a movie and Phil took his first nap. During the movie which only one child watched, Ruby assumed an alternate personality named Lee-fa and I was supposed to become someone named Chloe. We lived in Shake it Up land. When it was over, I spent 25 minutes getting everyone in their snow gear so that they could experience history making weather. Ruby lasted 2 minutes. Dylan lasted 4. They both cried that their hands were freezing while I futilely tried to explain that this is what happens when you fill your mittens with snow.When they were done, I begged Phil to bring them back inside while I tried to hastily shovel an escape route. When I’d tunneled my way mostly to the street but realized there was still nowhere to go, I reluctantly headed back inside. Phil napped again and I moved on to the cooking portion of the show. As we’ve been on a bit of a dairy-free kick and sort of gluten-free kick here, we made dairy-free gluten free muffins. Strangely, they were awesome. So awesome that when I told Ruby she couldn’t have a second one at 4:30PM, she cried so hard that she literally passed out from exhaustion at 5pm, sitting up on the couch. And for anyone with a toddler, you might understand just how terrifying it is to realize your 3 year old is asleep at 5pm. For those of you who don’t, find a toddler and give it a red bull somewhere around 5 o’clock. Then try to put it to bed at 7pm as it swings from the chandeliers and sings and dances and plays in a manic way. Picture Alex Keaton from that Family Ties episode when he pounds the No Doz before the big test. This is your three year old on a 5pm nap.
It is finally night time and I am back upstairs for tucking in. I look at sweet Ruby under the covers. Still having no idea what any of it means, I say “goodnight Lee-fa.” She answers back sweetly, “goodnight Chloe.” I suspect this is parenthood in a nutshell, right? Not knowing what any of it means but most of the time blindly following their lead, knowing that if it comes from a good place, it has to lead somewhere good. As I head downstairs for some blizzard babka, I ponder my new alternate personality and the potential 14 hours of unscripted home-based programming that awaits us tomorrow. This time there will be no schedule. It will be random but probably fun and also probably involve jazz hands, chocolate and super heroes. I will follow their lead.