Ya know what?
I do NOT want to hear about what a mild winter this has been. Don’t want to hear about how little snow there’s been, or how easy we’ve had it here in New England.
From where I sit, any winter is a rough winter. Any winter is way the hell too long.
Today, a mere two weeks before the vernal equinox, I found myself getting desperate.
First of all, we have more snow on the ground right now than we’ve had all winter. That snow is dry, brittle, and piled on top of a boatload of ice. Second, it was 18 degrees at noon.
Finally, the kids and I have been sick for three weeks. Colds, coughs, fevers, strep, drooling, gooping, snots…….you get it. And the kids are on antibiotics, which means lots of diarrhea and not much appetite.
When the kids asked to watch yet another episode of “My Little Pony” this morning, I realized that I was on my very last nerve.
I had to make it stop. I had to shut off the infernal idiot machine (its amazing how seductive Netflix can be when everyone is sick and its snowing outside.). I had to find a way to distract the kids.
“Want to bake some cookies?” I chirped.
“Want to make some pretty egg carton flowers? We can paint and use glitter glue and……”
“No. No. No.”
I was desperate. I looked out the window, watching the wind blow drifts of freezing snow across the yard. No shoving kids into snowsuits, wresting mittens onto hands, zipping jackets and then playing outside for twelve seconds before everyone freezes.
What could I do?
At the time, the thought that went through my head seemed like pure genius. Pure. Freakin’. Nonni. Gold.
“Hey!” I called to the two kids. It took a couple of shouts to get their attention, since they were busy trying to push each other off the mini-tramp in the living room.
“Since we can’t go outside, how about if I bring in some snow?”
Four big brown eyes lit up with pleasure. Two little bodies hopped up and raced to the window.
“I’ll go outside,” I told them, “And I’ll bring in a big pan of nice clean snow!!!”
“Bring in two pans,” said Ellie, more astute than her grandmother. “Then Johnny won’t have to try to share.”
So out I went. I easily scooped a big pile of clean white snow into a pan and brought it inside. I divided it into two smaller pans, handed out spoons, bowls and paper towels.
“Genius!” I thought to myself. Look up “self-satisfied old lady” in the dictionary, and you’ll see a picture of me.
I made myself a cup of coffee while the kids played at the dining room table.
I lifted my head, smiling at Ellie’s excited voice.
“Let’s use our food coloring on the snow!!!!!”
Before I go on, let me explain.
I’m tired. My back hurts. I think I gritted my teeth too much last night, because my jaw is really aching.
I’m old. My tummy hurts from my anti-biotic. And from the 10 pounds of incredibly delicious German chocolate that my friends from Berlin sent me for my birthday.
And Ellie has been wicked, wicked cranky for the past few days.
So I did something stupid and inexplicable.
I said, “Sure!”
Then I handed out an entire brand new package of food coloring to two toddlers with a pile of snow on my dining room table.
Let me just say that the kids had a lot of fun. They loved watching the colors mix into the ice crystals. We even had some high quality science conversation. Ellie figured out that both warmth and “pressing” can cause snow to melt into water.
Johnny seems to have learned the colors blue, green and red. Way ahead of schedule. Brilliant boy!
Of course, by the time all was said and done, my dining room table, my floor, two chairs, two toddler shirts and pairs of pants, five sponges and my entire kitchen sink were all dyed a glorious shade of….blackish purply greenish gray.
I spent a LOT of time and way too many paper towels getting it all cleaned up, but you know what?
It was actually worth it.
The kids learned a lot. They shared and talked and learned some new and exciting concepts.
Way more importantly, though, Nonni had an entire cup of hot coffee and two pieces of toast without a single interruption or shared bite.
So I guess it was a win.
But if spring doesn’t get here soon, I have no idea how I’m going to beat today’s adventure.