So, we've had some weather up here in the Cincy tri-state area. Not the kind of snow that would impress anyone from, say, Buffalo or St. Paul. but enough to send everyone to the grocery stores and cancel school for three days.
By the end of this, the first full week in January, I've already experienced all three of the types of snow days we get here in a semi-rural school district. I got the surprise call on Tuesday, one of those calls where you go to bed thinking you're just getting flurries and wake up to a call that school is cancelled. I looked out the window and immediately understood why--the flurries miraculously accumulated into about an inch (3 inches in some places) and the road crews were taken off guard, leaving suburban streets a skating rink until late in the morning. Then there was the two-hour-delay-becomes-a-closing call when a really impressive clipper moved through Thursday morning. And finally, the one where you get the call after suppertime and know that it's no longer a school night. I love all three. I'm just sad to have gotten them so early and in one big clump.
Leave it to the kid's Catholic school to kill the buzz, though. The last couple of years they have been following my district's lead in snow days, which is great. In kindergarten, under a less snow-fearful principal, I was hauling her to school on most of the days we were off. I like having my house to myself every so often, but mommy guilt never let me enjoy dropping her off at school in my pajamas very much.
Since most people who have lived in my school district a year or more could have predicted Thursday's snow day, Ainsley's teacher included, Ainsley came home with a backpack full of snow-day work to do in the event school was cancelled. I've never seen that before. I thought most adults appreciated that on snow days a kid's job is to get bundled up like Randy in A Christmas Story and go sledding, throw snow around, and make the very Catholic-school-approved snow angels.
But nooooo. Ainsley spent a couple of hours yesterday doing work and book-learning. Way to go, Mrs. Buzzkill.
Little did she know that any time Ainsley and I are snowed in together there's a lot of learning that takes place. Over the past week, Ains and I have learned a lot about this big ol' world and each other. For instance...
1. Nature shows might be real interesting and educational, but they also just might make sensitive children turn pale and puke.
We like to watch Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and TLC in our house. We're geeks that way. One afternoon we had a show on about Africa's deadliest animals. They were focusing on venemous creatures, and Ains seemed interested in the snake they were profiling, But then they switched gears and started talking about this teeny tiny jellyfish that you won't even feel stinging you or see in the water but which, apparently, can cause a slow and painful death before you can even make it to the lifeguard station. Or so the graphic dramatization of a teen surfer suffering cardiac arrest while still in the water would have you believe.
I happened to look over at Ainsley, who had stopped eating her lunch. Her lips were so pale that they looked blue, and her eyes were glazed over.
Crap. I thought. Stomach virus.
"No. This show is making me feel sick." And she burst into tears. We had to turn the TV off, pour her a little Coke (the Cranky family cure for many ills) and get a cold cloth on her forehead.
We should have known this would come; she had a similar reaction a couple of years ago during an episode of Mythbusters when they showed what would happen if you microwaved a jawbreaker and tried to bite in to it. Curse you, Discovery Channel. The price of learning about the effects of jellyfish venom on the central nervous system and about the physics of overheated sugars trapped inside a hard candy shell is a high price, indeed.
2. Snuggies might look ridiculous, but when it's 15 degrees outside and your heat pump is working harder than it's had to in years just to make your house a balmy 69 degrees, they are the greatest invention this decade. I can raise my arms above my head while napping and they stay warm! Genius!
3. Our cable's On Demand network features a free selection of a dozen or so KidzBop videos. Score!
4. African dwarf frogs are really fun to watch, and so far as aquatic pets go, they beat the heck out of goldfish.
We finally got these little guys (don't let their girly names "Candace" and "Vanessa" fool you; they're boys) after debating for a while whether or not we wanted to continue to tend Ainsley's aquarium following Ila's demise. So far, they are very entertaining, low-maintenance, and even educational. And so frickin' cute you just can't believe it.
5. Good deeds, done even in cold weather, warm the heart.
The snow we got this week was super-light and powdery. So much so that Ainsley and the ten-year-old girl up the street were capable of shovelling some of it. While many of the street's adult inhabitants were out shovelling yesterday afternoon, Ainsley and her friend decided to shovel our young neighbors' driveway. The are new parents and understandably hadn't made it out yet. The two girls did if for them, and Ainsley grinned from ear to ear and was so proud of herself for doing something so adult and so helpful. Which made me pretty happy, too.
See, Buzzkill, we didn't need all that work to have a productive break. We just needed each other. And our TV. Of course.