Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Zoe vs. the Snow Day

Stroll with me, would you, down memory lane. Remember being a kid and waking up to find it had snowed the night before, then listening to the radio and hearing that your school was closed? Remember how you jumped around in the kind of joy usually only expressed by winners of the Showcase Showdown or death-row inmates getting that call from the governor?

For those who knew Heather, this was a jaded reaction.

Well, a snow day spent indoors with a three-year-old who's testing boundaries is a scosche different. 
So . . . last week the northeast was visited by another storm of the century of the month of the week to kick off the new year. Not that we were snowed under, but it was enough, especially combined with the cold, which the Weather Channel described as 10 degrees but with a "Real Feel" below zero. Since "real" is the prism through which I generally view my days, I had a decision to make. 
Take Zoe to daycare and go to work or stay home, all day, with a three-year-old who is testing boundaries.
I drew up lists for and against.
Work and daycare meant a) a long walk through freezing temperatures, b) a walk I couldn't speed up because of pushing a stroller over mounds of snow. Plus c) even if people had already shoveled their sidewalks, no one ever shoveled the corners, therefore: insurmountable mounds of snow.
Alternatively I could take the umbrella stroller and ride the train two stops to the daycare, but the smaller stroller meant no blanket or wind guard, so that was a no-go.
No matter what, however, I would still have to take the subway at some point, and the ride itself was a deterrent, being pressed against humanity in its plurality of smells and singularity of sullen dispositions. And then I'd have to do it all over again after work, but in the dark and cold-er (Real Feel: death).
The list against staying home consisted of one entry, namely, that I'd be trapped, all day, with a three-year-old, who, I may have mentioned, was testing boundaries. 
So it was a draw.
What decided me in favor of staying home was the fact that Zoe was getting over a cold.
"Getting over a cold" implies a finite process, but as Zoe's colds last all winter, either the same one or different ones in quick succession---think of the flu as Tarzan swinging from vine to vine---she's eternally getting one, has one, or is getting over one from September through April.
"I got snot!" was her constant refrain over the holidays, causing her to pause in the middle of playing and become very still, as if her mucus were acid about to stream down her face and not something she was all too recently fond of eating. 
So I knew what I was in for. Folks, viewed from the other side, the parents' perspective, snow days are just not the same. I'd reached the first word of the phrase older and wiser.

The author in more carefree days, when she
was young, unencumbered, and a completely
different person genetically.

For her part Zoe was thrilled it was a snow day, even though I don't think she can really understand the concept of a "free" day. From an adult standpoint all her days are free. So she doesn't go to school today. That means avoiding such arduous activities as playing, nap time, and singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Talk about dodging a plushy bullet.
As for her commute, it involves reclining in a padded seat, ensconced in a blanket, with a sippy cup of juice or water and a snack cup of Cheerios. The only hardship she faces is having to put her food or beverage down to point in the direction she demands to be taken. I don't know how she stands the stress.
Bot's belly screen hypnotizes young
children into learning math. Fringe
benefit is it helps them quit smoking.
It was a long day. I mean, I know it was. And yet I don't have any distinct memories of it. What I recollect is one long whine, punctuated at times by violent hugs that I was only able to extricate myself from via ample applications of children's programming. We watched so many animated shows, from the math-with-a-side-of-cocaine Team Umizoomi to the triptastic Yo Gabba Gabba to the perennially congested Peppa Pig, that I longed for the simpler days of Tom and Jerry, when cartoons rarely if ever broke the fourth wall. (Dora and Boots peering out from the screen to ask me my favorite part of that day's adventure creeps me out and tempts me to respond with something vulgar---especially because I also feel like she's testing whether or not I was paying attention. I wasn't.)

Muno. Of Gabbaland. (Tell me I'm
not the only one who sees it.)
It's hard to say if I would've expended more mental and physical energy venturing out that day than I did staying in, but I will say one thing positive, because if there's anything Yo Gabba Gabba taught me, besides not biting my friends, it's to fake being happy. All day indoors with a toddler also means those three little words adults everywhere long to hear, second only to swim-up bar:
All-day pajamas.

Zoe: 26; Universe: 0


  1. CRYING with laughter at this post!! OMG, you have so perfectly captured what being trapped at home with a 3 year-old is like. And sweet little baby Jesus that picture with the Umizoomi character made me BURST out laughing!!-Ashley

    1. Haha. Thanks! Bot creeps me out. I find him condescending!!

  2. All of the "arduous" activities she has to do on days that are not snow days...omg, laughing out loud!! I think I am the only mom in the world who loves snow days. The only time we have an excuse to drop our Type A mommy schedules and do NOTHING! Although "NOTHING" implies that we actually do nothing, when we know better. Snow days are filled with crafts, activities--and, if we're lucky, a really long movie!

    1. And I wasn't being sarcastic when I said "mommy schedules." Our schedules can be brutal, whether we work while raising our kids or stay home while rasing our kids--or a combo of both!

    2. No worries. I'm a type A as well. Most moms I know are but we all have different things that set us off! Crafts and activities? What are those? Haha. I keep dreaming of doing a craft. Maybe someday I'll get ambitious enough to do a paint-by-number set!

  3. Found your blog via cafe mom! Its's hilarious! Thank you for a good laugh!

  4. Lol, lady, you have outdone yourself. I am seriously laughing so hard right now, from "Real Feel: Death" to the toy that helps toddlers quit smoking. I need to share this immediately. I wish more people knew how funny you were!

    1. Thanks, Deb! And thanks for spreading the word!