As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my family and I are spending a lot of our time far away from home this year due to my husband’s job. We went from the Texas Gulf Coast, where winters can range from 40 degrees and chilly to 80 degrees and sticky, and are now in Northern Kentucky (practically in Cincinnati, OH) where winters are, well, cold. For the first time in my 34 years I am experiencing an actual winter that includes some single digit temps and a good bit of snow. Our heater has been on for the entire 2.5 months we’ve been here, there are no ceiling fans in the bedrooms and schools have quite a few “snow days” during winter months when weather and driving conditions get more severe. You should’ve heard me when I first talked with the preschool director. I said things like, “Well, I know y’all must still function when it snows, but I’m not really sure how that works” and “I assume there are professionals that know how to prep the roads when it snows…”. I must have sounded like some sort of alien to her. This may be my first rodeo, but it certainly isn’t the locals’. I’ve learned that leaving the house during very cold temperatures, especially with young children in tow, is cumbersome, inconvenient and sometimes painful (don’t scrape ice off your windshield when it’s 5 degrees out with no gloves on, ok?). I’ve also learned that while snow is absolutely beautiful much of the time, it sometimes turns to a grey-ish color after it’s been sitting near the road for a while, which isn’t pretty at all. It also causes poor driving conditions sometimes which will make a Houston gal real nervous real fast. But on a positive note, it’s kinda cool to hear the snow crunch under your boots and to see your 3-year-old having a blast outside building a snowman. And I can’t leave out the awesome winter clothes we all got to sport.
It’s now March 9th and finally not freezing (literally) outside. I might even be able to turn our heater off soon. I turned on the one ceiling fan we have this morning. My 3-year-old looked at it, smiled and said, “round and round”, while my baby girl stared at it mesmerized for 5 minutes. Although those sweet babies come from the land of “tropical weather without the tropical view” (an original nick name written by yours truly, thank you), they have fared well this winter in the almost-Midwest. It’s their parents that were in the most shock. Isn’t that always how it goes?
I’m lucky that I get to spend so much time with my kiddos. I really am. And as much as I, or any other parent, may joke about them wearing me out and stressing me out, the bottom line is that time with our babies is priceless. (Side note: I officially sound like one of those cheesy mommies that I rolled my eyes at once upon a time. We’ll talk about non-parents being annoyed by parents on another post though.) But one thing that I have always wondered is, how much time should I spend actually playing with and/or entertaining them? Now, my babies are just 10-months-old and 3.5-years-old, so they’re not old enough to be real independent yet. Maybe when they’re older they won’t even want to play with me, right? Oh, geez. Okay, that’s a whole other story. Anyway, if you’ve ever spent some days home with your kiddos, you know that there is always plenty to do, not counting any play time. There’s prepping and cooking meals, cleaning up after meals, changing diapers, washing, drying, folding and putting away laundry, personal business like bills, errands and phone calls, and for me, actually doing my work from home. Some days, it seems that there isn’t even much time to do any playing, but once you get a good groove and organize all of your tasks, finding time to play with the babies is easier. So when I’m faced with a moment where I could play with them and just put off other tasks, should I? And if so, should I do that every time? Am I being too hard on myself? Am I catering to them a little too much? Or am I selfish for wanting to get some work done instead of play with them? And don’t even get me started on when I do something fun for myself instead of playing with them – guilty city, baby. Some of you may think I sound like a crazy person, but plenty of you probably have these exact same thoughts. So, what’s the answer? I imagine that an expert would tell us that we should find balance by playing with them some and also encouraging some independent play. And although that obviously sounds like the logical answer, I hope I’m able to convince myself of that and not feel guilty if I’m not constantly playing with and entertaining my babies. Mommy guilt – another term the old me probably would have rolled my eyes at – but it’s real, it exists, and it exists within me. Okay, that’s enough writing for now. I’ve gotta go play with my kids.
I have loved The Wizard of Oz since I was a young child. I was Dorothy twice for Halloween, and even as an adult I have continued to love it, although I obviously don’t watch it as much…until lately. You see, my little boy, Rowdy, wanted to watch the movie a few weeks back when he saw The Tin Man on the cover (he’s currently obsessed with robots and The Tin Man looks like a robot to him). Since then he has watched the movie many times and even watched this morning dressed as The Tin Man (in a box – see pic above). He was so into the character that he had me oil him about 9 times throughout the duration of the movie and wore that damn box the entire time. That’s commitment. As parents we all have or will find ourselves hoping our children will love some of the things we love. It helps us connect with them and establishes a sense of tradition. Yes, sometimes parents take it too far and live vicariously through their kiddos in a not-so-healthy way, but for the most part I think we have good intentions. We try and try to introduce them to things we’re familiar with in hopes they will love it like us, but you just never know when they’ll catch you by surprise and do it on their own. That’s what Rowdy did. And now, if even for just a small moment in time, I have my very own Tin Man.