Ah, Christmas vacation, that wondrous break in the middle of the school year full of Santa, candy and childhood fun! It’s also a time fraught with cabin fever, sniping and almost immediate ennui of toys that don’t require parental involvement.
This year, winter break has been particularly strenuous. My six year old spent the better part of November and December creating artistic masterpieces to gift to anyone and everyone she’s ever met (and has yet to meet). My lovely child is so full of goodwill and affection that I want to encourage this behavior. She wraps every work of art in the largest box she can find with enough tape to circle the moon. Then she stores these parcels all over the house until some unsuspecting delivery person/ neighbor/ Moonie shows up at the door to receive them. And even though Christmas and Hanukkah are past, the mountain of gifts remains and I swear, appears to be growing.
My four year old has decided she only wants to eat soft foods. She has developed an aversion to chewing and swallowing. At first I dismissed this as an impending sore throat. Alas, her throat is neither red nor irritated looking and she has not developed a fever of any kind. She also won’t eat more than a few bites of the foods she requests. It has become so alarming that I’m hauling her to the doctor today (despite the icy snow day conditions) to rule out some bazaar condition that only web MD could conjure.
Have I mentioned our trip to the Polar Express? Here in Oregon, the Mt. Hood Railway simulates the great Polar Express train journey to the North Pole (in one magical hour!). Our children are the perfect ages for this adventure so we planned a 32-hour getaway right before Christmas. The children loved every overstimulating, fun-filled moment. And my complete devotion to them was enough to get me on the train. As a claustrophobic, misophonic, car sick middle-aged woman, it was nothing short of a miracle that I survived.
With a plethora of childhood funk going around, we limited the number of excursions we went on in hopes of keeping the kids healthy enough to return to school in a timely manner. Whenever one of them sniffled, coughed or complained of stomach pains, I filled them with enough Vitamin C and homemade chicken soup to heal the navy.
Then came yesterday, the day before their return to education. They’d had enough of break and quite frankly, I’d had enough of them. So we dressed them in triple layers and dragged them off on a hike by the river. Yes, in the midst of icy rain and a winter weather advisory. Our six year worried we might meet our end. “You know,” she informed, “people die during hikes. I sure hope we don’t die. We’re only 4 and 6.”
Our four year old added, “I hope we don’t fall off a mountain.”
I assured them we were hiking between the golf course and the river. We would not be climbing mountains and the chances of death were pretty slim. They packed a survival bag anyway. How 2 apples, four oranges, paper, crayons and toilet paper would have saved them, I don’t know.
We tucked them into bed early last night and miracle of miracles they fell asleep in a timely manner. Only to wake up to a snow day. I’m sure the houses three streets over heard my scream of agony when the news appeared on my Facebook feed. So here we are, iced in with no hope of external entertainment. Dear God, I cannot look at one more booger under the microscope. I have played enough charades to qualify me for a bachelor’s degree in miming. I am on the edge of sanity and I’m full of holiday cheese. I want my life back! No. More. Snow days.