We’ve been here at the house for a few days now. Snow day after day after day. I’ve managed to be pretty disciplined about getting my work finished despite all the background noise. We baked and played games and watched movies, had friends over, been to friends houses, and gone to the grocery for fun (sad but true). But we’re bored. My boys let out sounds of anguish when I told them school was closed again today.
I’m telling you all this so you will understand why I was sort of being a bitch last night. Tired of the monotony and mess that results from having five people live in a house 24/7, I was being sort of snippy with the kids as we cleared the dinner table. After hurling around some insults about how slow they were being and how their stuff was in my way, I backed off and admitted out loud, “I’m sorry. I hate that I sound like such an old hag.”
“Don’t worry Mom,” Henry piped right up, rubbing my back as he passed me on the way to the sink, “You’re not an old hag–you’re a YOUNG hag.” Ahhh, the joy of having children old enough to tease me out of a bad mood.
Later we all watched a movie together (It was called “The Way Way Back” and we decided that should be Cate’s nickname, because she sits in the way, way back in John’s new truck and basically embodies all that is way, way laid back) and then we went to bed, glad at least for another morning to sleep in. That got me thinking: remember when we had our kids at home 24/7 for real? Remember when they woke up at 6 am demanding a bottle, or when the only break from the monotony of toddlerhood was nap time?
As I lay there contemplating the earlier years, I concluded the kids are a lot more fun to have around now, even for six long days in a row. Let me cite some examples:
1. They are more useful: Instead of me chasing them around and picking up all the matchbox cars they left strewn about, I can now harness the power of 3 extra people and delegate tasks to them. I do infinitely less housework now then I have ever done, and my kids aren’t really even very helpful (unless threatened!) It only takes one trip to carry in the groceries now, and the snow is shoveled from our sidewalks in no time. And then there was that one day when they all helped haul the Christmas decorations back to the attic and I never even had to get up off the couch.
2. We have similar entertainment interests: I’m not saying I love watching Austin & Ally on Disney, but it’s infinitely preferable to all the episodes of Dragon Tales I was enduring five years ago. I like that I can snuggle up on the couch with Henry and Cate for some cheesy PG movie that actually keeps my attention (I was admittedly into that snowboarding movie Disney had on the other night). I like that Thomas and I are usually reading the same book, and I was so excited to take him with me to see Catching Fire the day it opened. I love that instead of making the blanket forts, I am now invited to tour the ones they have made for me, and instead of spending an hour dressing and undressing them to play in the snow, I can join them in a snowball fight (although I usually choose to watch from the window with a cup of tea.)
3. They think I’m really funny: I’m not saying I’m a stand up comedian, but I do tend to say pretty much whatever comes to mind, and sometimes it makes people laugh (or cry; depends on the person). My kids are finally starting to get my jokes and sarcasm and on occasion they even give it right back (mainly Henry, but the other two have their moments). One of my favorite things is hearing from the other room, “We need one more player for this game…go get Mom!” (Then I hide, because let’s face it, too many board games is boring.) But I love that my kids are at that perfect age where they are old enough to appreciate all my antics, but young enough to not be ashamed of me…yet.
Until then, it looks like my nickname is sticking. After Henry dubbed me the “young hag” last night, we were deciding which movie to download on the tv and Thomas quipped to John, “just download the one that the Young Hag wants to watch and get it over with.” Then he gives me his secret little sideways smile that he reserves for when he’s not sure if I will laugh or knock his head off for a remark.
I laughed. Because life is short. The amount of time I have left with the kids wanting to watch movies with me is short. And hopefully the rest of this snow day is short, too.