Sunday, February 20, 2011

Winter, Redux

I ran outside on bare pavement twice last week, had the windows open for a bit when the temperatures hit the 50's, splashed in puddles with Jemma on our way to the grocery store on Thursday, and celebrated almost all of the snow melting from our yard.  The ice-jam disappeared and the leak in the kitchen stopped dripping.  The sun shone Friday morning on my way to yoga, and all seemed right with the world.  Spring was here!  We had plans to spend the weekend up north with family!  Yay!

Then we found out that my niece was sick and had to cancel our weekend plans.  And, a couple hours after that, Jemma threw up her lunch and has spent the weekend alternately lying limply in her bed, being rocked in a chair, having a fever, coughing, complaining of a sore throat and earache, and throwing up into a napkin that I held under her chin.  (Least favorite parenting job, hands down.)

Annie, who has been notably cooperative and helpful these last few days - soothing Jemma when she's sad, quick to laugh or tell a funny story at the dinner table, proud to help when asked - woke up this morning in a decidedly different mood, one where she screamed about being "starving" and demanded breakfast "NOW!" and, later, when asked to choose one chore from her chart to do, spent the entire time she was cleaning her room yelling, "You make me do everything!"

Also?  It started snowing huge, quarter-sized flakes at 1:00 p.m., and now there are about five new inches where just this morning there was bare cement and matted-down grass.

Clearly, it wasn't the weekend we thought it would be.  And as I was shoveling the heavy snow around our cars just before dinner, I was thinking about how having kids, in this situation - snow storm, cancelled weekend plans, sickness - made everything about winter worse.  Instead of being able to lie on the couch while the snow fell and watch The Food Network, we had to figure out how to entertain two stir-crazy kids.  Instead of sleeping last night, I sat up with Jemma and tried to keep her fever down and stop her coughing.  It seems like, when you have small children around, February = Sick Kids = Cancelled Fun.

But then I made myself stop, re-frame, and notice all the ways that having kids makes winter better, too.  For example, I get outside almost every day of the winter just to walk Annie to and from school, and now that I have the appropriate winter gear (long down North Face coat, you are one of the best things I have ever bought, and I do not care if it looks like I am shamelessly wearing a down comforter around town), it's a chance to get some fresh air and exercise.  Now that the girls are old enough to ski and ice-skate, I've been doing those things more than I otherwise would have, too.  And, if it wasn't for having little kids around, there's no way Jason and I would regularly hit a sledding hill on a Saturday afternoon and experience the little joy that is coming inside to drink hot cocoa after you've laughed out in the cold with your kids.  We'd probably be holed up on the couch, under a blanket, and we'd go to bed at night feeling bloated and restless.

So even though the high point of my weekend was, er, the brownies Annie and I made before I headed to the gym to catch up with some friends on the treadmill this afternoon, I am trying to look at the new snow coming down the way Annie looked at it this afternoon.  "Mom!" she said, "Let's go outside and play in it!"  We did.  Then we came in and ate more brownies.


  1. So I take it the brownies are delicious. Are these the ones in the recent Bon Apetit? It came, I drooled, I thought "I would eat the whole pan" and then didn't make them. But the magazine is still sitting on my nightstand...

  2. Yes! They are the cover recipe. I made them without the walnuts. Half the pan is gone.

  3. Sounds oh so familiar right now. How unfair, though, to have puke, fever, cough, sore throat, all at one time. What kind of nasty bug is that!!?? I'll be sending positive thoughts that Annie stays healthy.