Friday, January 21, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the Suburban Mom: Winter Edition

Kate and I have written about the Domestic Enemies of the Suburban Mom before but felt that the dead of Winter called for a new discussion of the battles we fight every day.

For the first two weeks of January, my children entertain me with sounds of sniffing, snuffling and snorting. Oh, and wiping the stuff that actually escapes their respective noses on their respective if the sound isn't gross enough. By week three, I have had enough, and I break down and buy Kleenex. The big size for the bathroom and the kitchen, and the little individual packs for their schoolbags so they will stop torturing their teachers with all that snotty cacophony. And, just like that, all three of them turn into small, undignified, American versions of Queen Elizabeth, waving hankies around like they're greeting the masses. And using them instead of toilet paper. And using 17 for one nose blow. And missing the trash can. And leaving little wispy, snotty hidden surprises on my desk, in my car, and in the pocket. of. my. coat. Whuck?! As if that isn't bad enough, Happy is only four and still hasn't outgrown the thrill of pulling one out of the box and watching another one POP! up. And then doing it again. And again. Andagainandagainandagainandagain. And then the box is empty, and the snotty chorus begins again.

On the upside, I've taught them the art of keeping a clean one tucked up in their sleeve, just in case they come across a tearful sort while we're at Target. It's been known to happen.

I did an inventory this morning. We have 27 (twenty-SEVEN) gloves and mittens in varying kid sizes. Eight of them have mates. The others must belong to the guy that killed Harrison Ford's wife in that movie. One pair -- haha, it's not a pair any more -- still has the itchy plastic-y thing that holds the price tag on it. The price tag holder is still there, but the matching glove isn't? How is that even possible? I bought them Saturday. I think my house is the epicenter of the Mitten Cage Match of Death. Two go in, but only one comes out. And now my kids are going to school looking like 80's pop music icons with questionable fashion taste. 

The Television
I hate my TV but I can't seem to turn it off.  During the dark months of winter, if my stupid TV is actually turned off, its for one of three reasons. (1) We're not home. (2) We're all sleeping. (3) The TV is broken. I have no idea why the damn thing is on all the time. My entire family has watched so much of it since late December that there's nothing left to watch. I turn it off, I leave the room - it magically turns itself back on. I ask the kids: "Why did you do that? You don't even like this show." They can't respond because they're in a coma of Disney-tween-programming. All I get is grunts and vacant expressions. So I turn it off again and force them to do something productive and they glare at me with a fury reserved for ancient blood feuds and Spanish soap operas.  But I'm not any better. After 9pm every night you will find me slack-jawed and mono-syllabic in the comfy chair watching things like American Idol and Top Chef, getting dumber every second. 

Post-Christmas Flabbiness of Ass and Mind
This segues nicely into the feeling that despite (sort of) keeping up with my New Year's resolutions, I am both dumber and fatter than I was a month ago.  Is it that it gets dark earlier?  Doesn't that cause Seasonal Ass-flabby Disorder or something? I want to either be sleeping or curled up with my kids and a blanket pretty much all the time.  Is it that the cold weather makes me want to eat lots of warm comfort food? Or drink a size XXL glass of red wine every night? Or read books that make me even more idiotic? In either case, I am in need of an extra shot of espresso and Jillian Michaels to come to my house to kick me in the face.  Starting tomorrow.

Cold and Flu Season
This should be called by its more accurate name: "The Season of at Least Once Person Will Be Sick For Three Consecutive Months".  If you're lucky - you're just dealing with colds and the flu and maybe one of the stupid viruses that gives you a nasty fever but no other symptoms.  Kate's family recently had The Beast.  Yes, friends - the stomach flu ran through every single person in her house - sometimes twice.  There is nothing worse than being struck down buy the sickness that leaves you squirting out of both ends.

Snow Storms
The excitement and anticipation that your children experience when a snow storm is coming is somewhat dampened by the reality that it will all turn into an enormous pain in your ass.  It starts with a massive amount of frenetic flapping around at the grocery store and Target as if the food supply is going to run out due to 3 inches of snow that might not actually fall

It leads into the bizarro anticipatory behavior of our children, hopping around the house waiting for the first flakes to fall as if actual ants were in their actual pants. It's quickly followed by wanting to play outside (see next topic).  Then cabin fever arrives with the realization that you're all trapped in the house together for an unspecified period of time.  This is accompanied by excessive whining and abrupt bursts of energy and screaming.  Mommies, in this situation it is perfectly acceptable to start drinking before Oprah is over.

My Children
Also called "Go Play Outside! Oh that's right you can't for the next two months." And it goes a little something like this:
Step One: Dress children in snow pants, coats, hats, gloves, scarves. (20 minutes)
Step Two: Go outside and play. Wait for smallest child to say "I haffa go potty!" (10 minutes)
Step Three: Take small child back inside. Undress. Take to the potty. Simultaneously monitor activities of other children that are still outside smashing each other in the face with snow and shrieking. Redress small child who now insists on doing it all by themselves. (30 minutes)
Step Four: Return outside. Listen to your children complain that they are cold and want to go inside. Use deep breathing techniques to maintain temper and not lose your schmidt as you are in the front yard and the neighbors might hear. (14 minutes) 
Step Five: Return inside, undress children in foyer to minimize snow and ice being tracked through otherwise tidy house.  You are left with half-naked children leaping through the hallway as if lack pants has turned them into gazelles or rabbits.  You are also left with a pile of soaking wet snowpants, coats, hats, gloves, scarves and socks so largethat it is now impossible to open your front door. (10 minutes)
Step Six: After meeting demands for hot cocoa and getting children settled on sofa and enjoying first moment of quiet, you unknowingly step on a large piece of snow that has somehow found it's way into your family room and scream "SONOFA! That's COLD AS HELL!" at which point your children laugh uproariously at your expense and repeat your exact words over and over as if practicing to tell their father what you've taught them in his absence. (15 minutes) 
Step Seven: Declare that no child shall play outside until after April 1. Understand that this will be impossible to enforce as your children's bad behavior will literally have you flinging them outside rather than listen to one more argument over Super Mario Bros or Just Dance 2. (1 minute)
Total elapsed time: Who the hell cares?  It was all a stupid cluster as usual.  Thanks, Winter.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. I have a three year old and a one year old and it takes us a solid 15 minutes EVERY BLOODY TIME WE HAVE TO GO TO THE CAR PARKED 10 FEET FROM THE BACK DOOR just to locate and put on the required assortment of shoes/boots, hats, coats,scarves, mittens.... and then the shoes again, because the baby will have undoubtedly managed to get hers off already. Winter most definitely sucks ass when you're the mommy.

  2. I am SO glad my kids are now 7 and 5 so they can (mostly) put on all that GEAR by themselves. But I hear you on the MOUNTAIN of wet stuff when they come in. O.M.G. And just yesterday my daughter gets in the van saying, "I can't find my mittens". And just think...we still have 3 months of winter here in upper MI. I'm investing in T-boxes. Literally.

  3. I don't know how you managed to peek in my house, but I agree with EVERY statement as it truly represents my life this winter. We're in ATL and last week was torture, especially for those from northern states where they have snow handling items at every level (snowplows down to real snow gloves, not the stretchy things!).

  4. This was too funny. I am also dumber and fatter than I was before December. I know I am not going to work to change this during the warmer months, so if the trend continues, by 2014 small objects will be orbiting me.

  5. Jolie, I am a native Atlantan and last week was the longest the kids have ever had off school in my 36 years. I think we might have missed 3 days when I was little. Our snow week was made even better by a sick husband. We knew he had strep (I gave it to him after I picked it up from the petrie dish, er, pediatrician's office. kids never got it) but we couldn't get out of the neighborhood to see a dr. That totally sucked. I'll take two sick kids over one sick husband

  6. And to make matters worse, I just got my first order form for... GIRL SCOUT COOKIES! Those evil little boxes of deliciousness that I can not say no to no matter how hard I try, ulgh I feel the size of my ass growing as I write this!

  7. Love the last one about the kids! It is right on. I take some sick solace in the fact someone else goes through the same insanity that we do!

  8. The 2yo has been walking from the house to the garage through the snow recently. Yesterday I'm driving and I turn around and I see she is licking the bottom of her boot! She says, "Mommy, I wicking da bottom ob my boot". Great. NOW STOP IT!

  9. Oh lord. Yes.

    But who here has done the "well, you're all in snowpants and mittens/gloves/scarves/earmuffs/boots. And I'm in the black slip-on dress shoes I found under the couch, no socks, no coat or gloves, and maybe a Mickey Mouse scarf tossed around my head" and then you go out and Freeze your flippin' ass off but STILL don't complain as much as the 5-inch-thickly swaddled infidels we call children?
    I will likely have frostbite on my ankles before the winter is over. And yet I still don't ever seem to remember socks. In Michigan. In January.
    --kate in michigan

  10. I heart Kate...or I am scared of Kate...when you wrote "My Children" were you watching me with my kids last week? I think that you changed the middle kid to the youngest kid to protect the guilty! You left out the obligatory hot chocolate because they happened to breath an ounce of cold air...

  11. The MITTENS! They are out to destroy meeee!

  12. We go through periods of time each year when we're a TV-free family. (Mostly summer...go figure.) But now that we're stuck inside, we're watching more and more TV because it keeps the 4yo and 2yo entertained while the twins are napping. That AM nap is crucial to the rest of the day, soooooo do you let them watch and have happy babies? Or let them fight over toys again and have unhappy everyone?

    Spring can come anytime.

  13. OK, I have moved far enough south from DC that the evening news films every snowflake, but I remember one winter (2003?) where I. had. had. enough. So I stretched a shower curtain on my nice wood floors, and then beach towels on top of that, and got a huge rubbermaid tub (or, once, the baby pool) and brought the snow inside. Then all the polly pockets went skiing and all the trucks had a job to do. I was within reach of the wine, and I avoided the whole 2-hours-to-get-ready-for-10-minutes-outside and what-is-it-about-putting-on-snowsuits-and-boots-that-makes-you-need-a-potty sort of event. And I could just hang out and talk on the phone to my Kate/Lydia.

    judy in south carolina

  14. "The Television" and "My Children": totally me. Love Thursdays when I can watch the prev. night's Top Chef and see what the hell dumb-ass Jamie is up to. And how do people in the way freaking north handle stupid snow clothes and boots all winter long?? Makes. Me. CRAZY.
    You, on the other hand, make me smile :-)

  15. You just made my day. I'm an Urban mom, but the domestic enemies are still just as snotty, slow, dumb and single-mittened for me.

  16. That is way too funny. I have one and I know I do plenty of complaining about the extra clothes...she's six months and it takes FOREVER to put her pants on.

  17. You go outside with them?! You're a good mom. I watch them from the window and pretend I can't understand their requests… just smile and wave back.

  18. Dudes, I live in C.A.N.A.D.A. This is seriously my life from October until MAY! That's right, May. Sometimes we get snow in June. Sometimes we get snow in September (that stays). Why do we live here again? ;)

  19. Last week's Snowcation in Atlanta started on Monday with a Sledding and Wine Festival at my house. We started early. We don't wait on Oprah.

  20. Ok, the mitten thing I can see, when you have several children. Why, then, when I have ONE (1) 9-year-old who is supposed to be responsible for her own winter gear (ha!) do I have the Mitten Apocalypse going on in the font hall? We have gloves and mittens that I do not remember buying, and never more than two that match at any given time. I think all the mittens that lose in the Cage Match of Death are sent to my house...

  21. Living in Arizona, where our "winter" has highs often in the high 60s-low 70s, we don't have to deal with all of the snow issues. (Sorry, didn't mean to brag. Okay, maybe I did. But just a little. Feel free to retaliate in July...)

    BUT, your Kleenex maladies had me giggling out loud. Mostly because I'm already in the throes of the tissue experience - with my 21-month old son. I didn't think it would start so early! His favorite "game" is to pull a tissue out of the box. (He is also a big fan of watching the next one "POP!" up.) Then he "blows" his nose, and puts the dirty tissue back. in. the. box! Ummm, ew. The harder I try to break that disgusting little habit, the funnier he thinks it is. Damn Kleenex and their unintentional (?) hilarity.

  22. I just laughed so hard that my husband had to call in from the other room to see if I was ok. You have *perfectly* described my experience with playing outside in the winter. Thank you for being born so funny.

  23. YES YES YES!!! Thank you. Now that I have two kids and the young one still naps in the morning and is afraid of snow, AND I don't have a baby monitor and my backyard is too "public" for me to let the 3 year old go out alone, we just don't play outside. It's sad. Here's hoping for a short winter this year in Ontario.

  24. The above snow scenario is why I horribly miss my house in Montana, with its "mud room" built on the back...which collected all things snow-covered, and was handily situated RIGHT BESIDE the washer and dryer...which of course meant that EVERYTHING got piled ON TOP of said washer and dryer, and nothing made it inside until all were desperate for the motley assortment of mittens, gloves, hats, scarves and coats abandoned last time they made it in the door.

  25. Just when I start to forget why I live in Florida, you guys do a great job of reminding me!

    And Judy from South Carolina, YOU are a genius.

    Signed, Headmistress Yca

  26. SNOWMAGEDDON!!!! Interrupting my grown-up tv time to tell me it is snowing when my tv is hung NEXT TO A WINDOW is mucho annoying. Dudes, it is winter. Just give me a heads-up on how much to expect to shovel the next day and let me get back to watching Modern Family. Thank you.

    I think we all have snow on the brain. I just posted about how Mother Nature tortures me so.

    How many days til Spring?? I think it's March 20th or so. Must start the countdown before I start eating paint chips to pass time during yet another frigging snow day.

  27. omg, I just peed myself. Good thing there was a wadded up crusty nasty tissue underneath my ass to absorb it. Eh, who cares. I have been in the same clothes for days. Only one of the four kids is sick, but kid 2 proclaimed as I tucked her in "Emily shaaaaaaaaared. Now IIIIIIIII have a sore throat too" AAAAAAAAUGH. Tomorrow is Monday. It is back to school day. Don't you understand that, especially when you just had a snow day on Friday and will probably have another one this week. God help me. Save me, please!!!

  28. Kid: I don't feel good, Mommy.
    Mom: Yes you do.
    Kid: I'm gonna barf.
    Mom: Don't puke. You hear me? Get on that bus. You can be sick on a snow day.

    mom of the year. 5 snow days and another storm coming wednesday. aaaahhhhggggg!

  29. I currently live in Sydney, Australia where it's still warm enough in winter to go to the park everyday and we never have to worry about below-freezing temperatures. Hubby and I have been recently tossing up whether we should move back to Kentucky where I'm from... this post reminds me of a BIG reason I don't want to move back home!!! That, and crazy allergies/hayfever in the summer.

    LOVE your blog!

  30. Re: snowfall – although my LTSs are not yet school-age, my husband is……….a teacher. So that entire ants-in-the-pants-cabin-fever-whining paragraph is sooooooooo applicable to my almost 39-year-hubs.

    God help me when the kiddos ARE in school, and I have to deal with all three of them during snow season.




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