Sometimes raising children is like walking through the desert, half-delusional with thirst. You certainly think that's a shady tree and a nice cool pond of water just over there in the distance, and if you can just keep going, you might reach it. But then you find yourself thirstily shoveling sand into your mouth.
Today we decided to go and play in the snow. No school + tons of snow=fun, right? I was at least smart enough to tuck Norah into her crib for her morning nap before venturing into the land of gloves, snow pants, and other miscellaneous snow items. With her safely dreaming away, I grabbed all the snow stuff from the back of the van (because what better place to store your snow clothes?) and began assigning boots, coats, gloves, hats, scarves, snow pants, and other miscellaneous items.
Kenzie, the seven-year-old-almost-eight, was pretty good at getting her own stuff on. So she went at it, while Hannah (5) was able to put on her snow pants and coat but was waiting (somewhat impatiently) for me to help her find a sock. (Since I have yet to purchase my 270 pairs of socks to make my life easier.) Ellie (2) is still hopeless at dressing herself. So I tried very patiently to stuff her in her snow pants, put on her scarf, push on her hat, pull on her gloves, and maneuver her boots into a walking position. Then, since we got the girls gaiters for Christmas, I had to put on her gaiters. They are quite nice for keeping out the snow, but take some time to put on. Kenzie began bugging me to help her get her gaiters on. I gave Ellie a small lecture about her hands falling off if she took her gloves off and then turned to Kenzie.
I was already sweating, but managed to not speak crossly as I finished stuffing Kenzie's oversized snow pants into her gaiters, wrestled the velcro shut, and then ran upstairs to find a sock for Hannah.
I was trying to preserve my mood because this was going to be FUN! We were going to build snowmen! Walk in our snowshoes! Lay in the snow! Pull each other in the sled! FUN! FUN! FUN!
Next Hannah. Her boots were bugging her, so I pulled them off and readjusted the liner.
Kenzie was ready so she started trying to open the door. With her mittens on, this was impossible.
"Mom. Can I go out now? Can I go out now? Can I go out now?"
"Yes." I said smiling. Fun mom. Fun mom. "You and Ellie can go out if you keep an eye on her. Ellie don't take your gloves off! It will hurt really bad. Badly. Whatever. Don't take them off." I interrupted fixing Hannah's boots to open the door. I glanced at the clock and noticed that it had taken 20 minutes already to get ready for this adventure.
I put Hannah's boot back on. "It's bugging me! It's bugging me!"
Five sock and boot/snow pants adjustments later I began to be cross. Just as I pulled on Hannah's last glove and patted her on the head to send her out the door, Ellie pushed the door open, the door handle hitting into my back as I was trying to pull up my snow pants.
"I'm all done. I come in now."
"Oh no you're not!" I retorted, shutting the door on my sweet two-year-old. "I want to come outside and I'm almost ready."
"I cold! I come in!"
"No!" I said desperately, my vision of fun in the snow evaporating in the face of the reality of the attention span of a toddler. I glanced at the clock. She'd been out for 10 minutes-- half the time it took to get her ready.
I use my prowess at bargaining to try to win at least a few minutes of my child-mommy-snow-love-fest vision: "I'll bring out some fruit snacks!"
I throw on the rest of my snow gear and run upstairs for fruit snacks. I grab a water bottle for good measure and run outside. I am ready for FUN! EXCITEMENT! JOY! GOOD MOM-NESS!
"M-om! My gloves are falling off," claims a frustrated Hannah.
"Will you put these snow shoes on me?" says Kenzie.
"Fruit snack! Fruit snack! I want a fruit snack!" says Ellie.
I snap. "I just want to play in the snow! Just give me a minute! You guys are asking too much of me! Here's your dang fruit snacks! Can we just play in the snow for one minute without anyone asking me for something?"
"But M-om, you said. . ."
"I'm cooooooold. I want to go inside."
"It's bugging me!"
"THAT'S IT! I'M GOING INSIDE!"
Everyone starts crying. Good Mom-ness abounds.
Eventually I apologize to my children for my little fit, I send Ellie inside to watch Sesame Street, and Hannah and Kenzie and I make tracks with their snowshoes, fall in the snow, and build a small snow fort.
It wasn't exactly the oasis I was dreaming of, but it was better than a mouth full of sand.