Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snowzilla + Learning

Two feet of snow fell here for the first time in years.  Drifts slope in our window frames like in story books and the floor of our house is covered with snow pants and mittens.

Right now Ben is upstairs tucking in Silas; I can hear their voices but not their words.  Maeve is sound asleep after pawing through snow, dressing to the chin and peeling off the layers, over and over; and Eden is coughing from her bed.  I am eating brownies and can hear the football game playing alone in the basement.  The Pats just lost and the other half of the Super Bowl is being determined as I type.

Right before Snowzilla hit, lice hit.  Again.  I'm trying to think of it as hitting for the first time -- the first time this school year.  In a school of 700 students, it just takes a few kids to keep them circulating (ugh).  So we are combing and poisoning and throwing sheets -- and coats, and hats, and scarves, and sweaters -- in the dryer as we go.  I read an article this week in The Huffington Post that called Lice the other 4 letter word.  It is.  There was a day this week I wanted to burn the house down, scream curse words, and shave everyone's head to the skin.  Ben was traveling and the lice re-emerged, sabotaging my plans for a perfectly planned snowed-in-sleepover with my brother's family.  Lice-fury!

BUT we pushed through, rallied with the neighbors, baked with a lot of chocolate.  Now I'm ok with keeping the house.

But so help me if the lice are still alive on Wednesday, post-poisoning cycle.

One of my New Year's resolutions for this year is to take a few parenting classes.  There's a place here that offers workshops constantly (but unfortunately not one on lice-coping strategies), so the first week of January I registered for nine of them over the next several months!  I went to the first one and gulped it down.

I hadn't realized how starving I was for good words about parenting.  I needed to hear that the morning craze is normal (and somewhat avoidable), that there are options in the reactions that fly from my mouth.  I was relieved to joke about the guilt that I shove at myself day and night for not doing/being/giving "enough" and hear it echoed around the room.  My fears felt lighter, and I could see some options.

I also, over the last four years, forgot about three year olds.  They are the worst!!
And the very best.
Surely the rhyme "there was a little girl with a little curl..." is about a three year old.
I am constantly mesmerized with M's imagination, constant singing, how she draws "creatures" with many legs and big eyes, rainbows, grass, and "minivans" with my big face at a steering wheel.
And I am exhausted by the shrill "NO!"'s, the refusal to walk because she's "a baby," and her diet of only cereal. It turns out --shocking, I know -- other people have these three year olds, too.

For the first time in ages, I'm reading parenting books, one about the mysteries of the seven year old's harbored inner world, the need to draw them out intentionally and tread softly.  I'm letting my nine year old take morning jogs and lean into his competence and independence more.  I'm trying to expect the three year old to throw herself down when I won't give her a steak knife to cut an apple herself.

Though they are loud sometimes, and complain a lot, these kids are good teachers, the best, really.

This morning, after saying Can you put your phone down, Mama?  Can you put it down now?  Can you come dwaw with me wight now? Maeve looked at my face and said, it's love day, Mama!  Then she slung her arm around my neck, bent my head close to the paper where she was drawing heart balloons, and made it true.

The snow's done the same thing, in a way.  It's stopped us in our tracks, made us stand at the window and watch the old-man trees creak and sway in the wind as the snow's whipped and whirled.  It's been too incessant and consuming to ignore.  And beautiful.  This morning I woke and my room was too bright even with the curtains drawn.  Groggily I got up and pulled them back to find a golden sun, just risen, beaming through the tree trunks, streaking shadows and sunlight across the snow, magnifying the brightness.

Sometimes we need to be stopped so we can see.

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