Winter with little kids is hard. It is easier to be here, in a house, than it was to be cooped up in our apartment in Brooklyn. Here, at least, we have various areas to be cooped up in--we can be cooped up in the living room or play area; we can be cooped up in the kitchen; we can be cooped up in the basement playroom. Still, we are cooped up. It has been snowy and frigid, so there has been no opportunity whatsoever for going outside, and until this morning our car was snowed in. And so the past few days have been long, long, long.
Tuesdays are always tough for me, since there's no preschool and no babysitter, and this Tuesday was made even harder by an early Greta wakeup, an early departure of Andrew for work, a long freezing day, and Andrew's post-work drinks, which meant he missed bedtime. (He actually skipped the drinks because of the snow, but then had a ridiculous two-hour commute; but I digress.) The day did not start promisingly: the girls' scream-laughing chase around the downstairs took a turn for the squabbly, and, feeling desperate, I turned on Sesame Street. I always feel guilty when I turn the TV on during the day; but since I was at the very beginning of a 14-hour day, I thought there was probably little harm in it.
While they were watching, I rustled up the components of a light table, which I've been wanting to make for a while now (thank you, Pinterest): a plastic bin, tissue paper, a lamp, and lots of transparent colored plastic items (bingo chips, jewelry links, glass stones, pirate jewels, baby food jars, Play-Doh lids). It took about five minutes to make, and it was a huge hit with both girls. Greta moved on to other things after a while, but Lucia was completely enraptured--arranging things, sorting them into jars, and so on. We built a cave out of the many plastic storage bins I bought on clearance last week, and there was our day. It was a nice day, but I was happy when the girls were finally in bed, and I was very much looking forward to an easier Wednesday.
When preschool was cancelled and I accepted the reality of having to cancel the sitter Wednesday morning, it felt like a cruel joke. I felt way more dread than a snow day seemed to warrant, but I'd just gotten through Tuesday, and now I had....another Tuesday. And Andrew had to once again leave early for work. And it was once again freezing beyond freezing outside. At least both girls slept till a decent hour (more than decent, with Lucia--nearly 9am). Lucia immediately asked to play with the light table, so we went to the basement and played there for the morning. In the afternoon, I brought out a small plastic bin full of buttons I've been accumulating from yard sales, along with two empty egg cartons, and that got us through till dinner.
Today was much better--Lucia had preschool and stayed for lunch and soccer; Greta and I went to speech therapy and then Target--and then, after nap and quiet time, Lucia asked to play with the felt board. I surprised them with a whole mess of felt shapes of princesses, coaches, animals, and other random stuff that I bought last summer (at a yard sale, of course) and have been saving for a winter day.
We survived these cooped-up days thanks to the girls being in a mellow, cooperative mood; lots of coloring and toys; the light table; the buttons; and--I have to say--the immense collection of things I've saved and salvaged and yard-saled and have kept at the ready since last summer for just such days. A random bag of bingo chips, and Play-Doh lids I held over the trash can a while back before deciding to save? A hit! A jar of buttons? A winter day miracle! Felt shapes so random, so seemingly un-play-with-able, that the yard-sale seller seemed reluctant to even accept the $1 I offered her--another hour of our day, occupied! We're heavy into winter now, and I'll have to dig deep in my stash to get through the next few months. Between my yard-saling and the inspirational wonder that is Pinterest, we should be well-entertained.
Andrew may turn pale when he ventures into our attic and sees the vast stores of things I've hoarded there. But better a cluttered attic than a crazytown mama driven nuts by at-loose-ends girls cooped up for days on end, I say.