Category Archives: Life with Kids

Peter and the Wolf

When my mom was a little girl, she stole something from the store.  Her mother found out, and instead of scolding or punishing or dragging her back to the store by her ear, my grandmother picked up my mom and held in her in her lap and told her she loved her.

I don’t think this was the way my grandmother usually parented and yet, in that moment, I think my grandmother did some of her finest parenting.

The other day I read a post about a parent whose six year old child is not being his most lovable endearing self around the parents.  One of the commenters referred to a technique called “love bombing“.  I googled it and read it and thought it was a bit goofy, but also thought there was something to it.  The idea was that you re-set your child’s emotional thermostat by spending a couple specially chosen days just loving and listening and following your child’s lead.   By doting on your child during this scheduled event (such as a weekend away from home), you somehow let them know that you are really there for them and that in turn, allows them to reconnect with you.  It makes sense in the same way that my grandmother’s hug made sense.

I’ve learned, as an educator and just as a person, that sometimes the people that are the most exasperating are the ones that need the most love.  And, once you give them that love and attention and authentic relationship, they sometimes become the ones you love the most.  So, as much as I want to respond to kids with consistency and high expectations, I also think sometimes they (me too) just need whatever it takes to feel loved and cared for – and with that in place, then they are able to pull themselves up and continue forth.

All this goes through my head as I grapple with my little boy.

He’s three.  He’s got some good language skills.  He’s pretty sensitive and amazingly aware of big concepts.  He has grieved the passing of the seasons and asked us about death.  He makes connections between real life and the books we’ve read.  He’s imaginative and often thoroughly immersed in a world of pretend play.

For a while now, we’ve noticed that he incorporates any scary element from books into his play.  At first I was concerned.  My boy was playing the part of the huntsmen after reading Snow White.  Why couldn’t he be a different character.  He was trekking through the house preparing to cut open the wolf’s stomach to rescue then grandmother.  Then, my boy was the wolf.  I want my boy to be the good guy.  I want my boy to be the hero – not somebody greedy and selfish and mean and violent.

I googled the reasons kids play the parts of bad guys and came back with a lot of things that validated my feeling that it probably was okay to play the bad guy.  It’s play!  It’s how kids learn about the world and process the characters.  It’s how they can feel big and strong and in control.  And heck – it’s fun.  I love pretending to be a monster so I can eat up my kids or chase them and hang them upside down while they scream in glee.

Later that week I also had the added realization that when my boy takes on the antagonist and I scream or cry in mock fear as he comes to eat me or cut open my stomach, he gets to see that I’m not REALLY afraid and that things really are okay.  It validates that this is a world of pretend and that everything must be okay because, I, his parent am not flustered a bit.  I actually think that this is where he does the most shedding of his fears.

Overall, I’m amazed at the amount of self-regulation my boy has to develop to go through these scenarios.  Not only is he processing the fearful parts from the story and acting them out and interacting with others, but he is doing so without crossing the line from pretend acting to real-life behaviors.  We have talked about how it is okay to wield a pretend axe, but not to really hit someone.  It must be very hard to be totally immersed in pretend world, but to hold back enough to not actually do any damage.  He pulls it off.

But now my little boy has started something new.  He’s helpless.  It began after a two week trip.  Last year after we traveled, he stuttered for a couple weeks.  It was his way of working through his anxiety suggested a speech pathologist.  We did not respond to the stuttering and it went away.  I expected some type of post trip reaction this time too because I knew my little guy was so “on” while we traveled.

He was aware and curious and concerned about our plans.  He took an active role in remembering what we had done and what we were planning on doing.  He was a blast to travel with and I expected he would have to decompress a bit.

When we got back home I had a wonderful time with his post-trip decompressing behaviors.  It included a delightful giddy whole face smile and leap into my arms when he woke up in the morning – just like he used to run to me when he was 14 months old.  Ahhh – it was so sweet to embrace him and cuddle after such a wonderful greeting.  This went on for almost two weeks.

But along with that utter joy to see that I was there was also a request for more help doing things he is more than capable of doing.  This included laying his clothes out so he could get dressed, requests to fill his water cup, reminders to do things he has been remembering on his own for a year.

We didn’t pander to him, but we did provide the extra little supports.  We avoided power struggles by pro-actively helping with clothes, bringing in more water and just being a little busier and cheerier.  But the helplessness has been continuing and it has been three weeks and we wonder if it’s getting a bit worse.  This morning he wanted us to get him his toothbrush and he spent about 20 minutes trying to make that happen.  We had already said we wouldn’t do that and, to our credit, we stick to our words, but still we wondered what this new helplessness is all about and if we should stick to our guns and insist he do what he’s capable of or humor him a bit longer.

Then, this afternoon we received a book order in the mail.  In it was Peter and the Wolf with the accompanying music.  I began reading the book and soon realized that this was perhaps not okay.  My boy gets scared reading Ferdinand and The Three Bears. Everything that has any conflict is stressful these days.  He’s fascinated by the books and he returns to them again and again and he incorporates them into his play (always as the bad guy), but none of them have the same scary real life feel as Peter and the Wolf.

The wolf chases after the duck and the duck does not get away.  My son, standing up and backing away, horrified and about to break into tears said, “Maybe the duck will come back”.  I didn’t think this would be the case so I tried to say matter of factly that wolves do eat ducks and ducks eat other things and this is how it is.  He said he didn’t like wolves and wanted me to confirm none live near us.  “They do,” I said, “But they won’t bother us or our dog.  They’re just out hunting for their food like rabbits and ducks.”

We continued on with the book and as we did, I wondered if what I was doing would be too traumatic for him, but thankfully this version has a kinder ending than the original and the wolf is taken back to the woods and the duck escapes from his stomach after squawking and flapping and causing stomach distress.  All’s well that end’s well, but the book was still pretty stressful.

And then I put on the CD, the real reason I bought the book – I wanted to introduce my boy to the stories of classical music.  I expected him to get scared while he paged through the book along with the CD, so I sat close watching him, but he didn’t.  He inhaled and tensed up a bit, but overall he stayed calm as he looked at the pictures and listened to the story.

And then the second time through the CD, he began to act it out – dancing and running about.  His sister said she was the cat.  My son said I was Peter.  And then my son announced that he was the wolf.  The wolf!  Just like that.  The one animal he told me he did not like at all and now this is the animal he has become.

And that brings me back to his helplessness.

I think my kiddo is doing a supercharged learning curve in the world of emotions and self-regulation and imagination and pretend and real life possibilities.  I think he is grappling with so much cognitively that he needs to be reminded that he is still our little baby boy and we are right here to take care of him and keep him safe.

So with that, I will continue to lay out his clothes when he asks and provide extra help getting dressed and extra long snuggles in the morning (that’s never an issue) and just attend to the little boy who is still a little boy while at the same time a big boy grappling with very big boy stuff.  It’s kinda like the hug my grandmother gave my mom.  When the world is alright, then we can move forward and be okay.

 

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Poopy Cake!

A month or so back, we suggested having a celebration (who doesn’t love a good excuse for a celebration) when little boy did his first poop in the potty.  He was quite taken with the idea and told us all about it many times.

Yet, as much as he was taken with the idea, he didn’t really make any efforts to do anything to make it happen.

Until this week.

This last week on a cold gray June 3rd tired day, husband and I put a movie in the computer, turned up the heat and sat on the sofa while our kids entertained themselves in the living room.   And as we watched The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, our naked-boy son made his way over to the potty….

And pooped!

So we did the yay-yay potty dance, hugged him, kissed him, smiled as he showed his sister and hoorayed some more.

And then we went back to our movie and guess what!?

About a half hour later, he pooped again!

He was quite proud of himself and the fact that he had pooped not once, but twice all on his own.

So the next morning, we made our poopy cakes and that evening we had a celebration.

(Sister pooped in the potty a week or so earlier, but hers was more accidental and less meaningful.  Nonetheless, big brother knew that she needed a poopy cake as well.)

I wish I’d recorded my little boy looking at his poopy cake because this is pretty much what he said in a very sweet happy voice, “I love my poopy cake.  I love my nose.  And I love my eyes.  And I love my smile. And I love my barrette.  And I love my hair.”  (His hair had light waves, whereas sister’s was straight.)  It was a very good day.

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Barefoot at the Beach in Alaska

Ahhhh – Finally the weather is warming up!   Of course, it might not stay warmed up.  The last couple summers have been unpleasantly gray and chilly with temperatures in the 40’s, but in the Right Now, things are wonderfully fantastic and we live in a phenomenal place.

This morning I took the kids down to the beach to play with a friend.  Our kiddos have never really been to the beach.  I mean, they HAVE, but not as Big kids which they are now at 33 months and 20 months.  The sun was out.  The wind was non-existent.  Small pieces of sea ice floated lazily in the tide.  What could be better!

At first they didn’t really know what to do which makes sense, but after checking out some rocks and having a little snack, they relaxed right into the morning.  Little boy took some time out from his conversation with the other kids to talk on his rock cell phone.  It makes me smile and laugh at how all important the cell phone is in their lives.  Everything becomes a phone and the funny thing is that we don’t really role model that.  Something about phones is just Very Grown Up and Fun – even at the beach.

Little girl did lots of digging, first with a trowel her friend brought, and then with the end of the dog leash.  She was caught up in the sweet world of just being in the moment.

A gloriously nice morning, followed by a lunch out with friends, a nap in a cool quiet bedroom and more time outdoors.  It was a good day.

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Camping in Alaska (With Kids)

My memories of camping take me back to the Virginia woods which were dark and damp.  The tents would be covered in daddy-longlegs spiders and the girls in my girl scout group would be awed by their sheer numbers and size but were not daunted by their spiderness.  What did daunt us was The Latrine (an outhouse). We would go there ALWAYS with a partner and we would shine our flashlights all around the inside including the toilet seat and just beneath the toilet seat to check for the non daddy-longlegs variety of spiders and/or dead bodies or dead body parts.

This was an activity of great drama and tension and fear and exhilaration – all the best of modern tv in our own real lives.

We performed this activity with squeals and screams and giggles and also outrage when our partner closed the door on us or turned off the flashlight.  Camping in Virginia was nothing like camping in Alaska.

In Alaska, you don’t need a flashlight at all during the summer.  When you leave your tent in the middle of the night, you can clearly see if there are spiders or bears or rattlesnakes or other scary creatures.  Even better, there aren’t very many spiders (up where we live) and there are no snakes that I know of.   There are, however, a lot of mosquitoes and there is the true chance of an encounter with a non-friendly bear, but somehow, in the light, things aren’t so ominous as those dark summer woods of my youth.

Except that now I have kids.

We took them camping this weekend for the first time.  We expected it to be an “Intro to Camping” kind of thing, and along with our newly realized awareness that we need to Adjust the Expectations, we went into the outdoors feeling pretty much like we could embrace any and all glitches.

We forgot about the light.

Our kids did great hauling stuff from the car.  They did great helping to set up the tent and unroll their sleeping bag.  They ate their dinner, explored the area and we went on an evening walk.  The weather was phenomenal and the mosquitoes were few and soon it was 9:00 and very much our kids’ bed time.  We got them into their pj’s and read them books and tucked them into the sleeping bags and all was good.

They lay in their bags and looked quietly at books.

But they didn’t nod off.

We double curtain their windows at home to make a semi-dark bedroom at night.  The tent doesn’t have that ability.  Nine thirty it might have been, but inside that tent, it was as good as five.  Our kids did not fall asleep.  And the longer they did not fall asleep, the tireder they became and the more difficult it became for them to fall asleep.  It was a nasty little spiral of a catch-22 and little boy’s eyes became wider and wider in their frantic wide-awake-exhaustion of not being able to relax.

Of course, it was not just the light that was the problem.  Sleeping in a tent in a new sleeping bag is exciting stuff and also very new stuff – definitely not the cozy warm routine of home, but boy, last night, I remember looking at the tent walls and just wishing they would darken up some and help out this process.  (The birds did not help out either.  I don’t think they every even considered going to sleep.)

Around midnight both kids finally did fall asleep and all was relatively good until 4 am when (still light outside) little boy woke up and nothing felt right.  He was oh-so-tired and oh-so-distressed and I was thankful there were no other people camping nearby.  Nobody was camping nearby because it’s still FREEZING (literally) out at night and while little boy was not freezing himself, he was not toasty roasty warm and everything just felt wrong.

But finally, after almost an hour of trying songs and stories and cuddling, he climbed into my mummy bag and asked to sleep on top of my tummy.  So he did, just like when he was a baby and it was sweet and we both warmed right up, but let me tell you – sleeping on my back with my little big boy on my stomach and chest does not make for a comfortable sleep!

Eventually we rolled to the side and he slept in till nine.  We did too.  It was a successful night.

And the next best part was that as we dressed and stretched and felt the warmth of the new day, our friends opened up their back door (for we were on their property out of town) and said that coffee was ready.   We all smiled and went inside for a great breakfast of pancakes with tundra blueberries from last season and plenty of Kona coffee brewed in a French Press.

And after that, we went back to our tent, dressed in our rain pants and boots and trekked down to the river before picnicking on salami and cheese and attempting naps.

Little girl fell right asleep in the now-very-warm tent.

Little boy fell asleep TWO hours later.

It was a long two hours trying to get him to relax and fall asleep.  He had trouble falling asleep as a baby and we got to re-witness that again.  But we knew that if he did take a nap, he’d have an easier time doing it again in the future so we stuck to our guns and just kept hanging out.

And now we are home with pizza for dinner and a very proud little boy and little girl who think they did a marvelous job camping and seem to be open to going out again next weekend if the weather allows.

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Adjusting the Expectations For Success

We live in Alaska, and this year we experienced a record cold snap.  I took the kids outside almost every day, but usually it was bundled up in jackets and snow pants in the stroller to go run errands or play at the gym.   A while back I read a post that referenced the idea that kids should be playing an hour a day outside.  That thought gnawed at me.

It gnawed at me because I agree with it.  I loved playing outside as a kid.  Of course, I think our kids were getting lots of great play time inside and were not deprived of opportunities to climb, move things, dance, flop, jump and explore.  But there is something special about being outside and learning to turn pine cones into people or build trails for ants or….

However, when we took our kids outside, it was always a disappointment.

Last year on a beautiful winter day we took our kids sledding.  Sledding.  Very fun outdoor activity.  The baby girl put up with it.  The toddler boy (then one and a half) liked it for about one sled ride and then was Done.  His hands were cold.  The wind was cold.  He wanted no more of it.   That was fine because we knew that learning to love the outdoors would take lots of positive experiences over time.  We packed our kids back into the car to discover our car didn’t start.

Some nice friendly guys in a truck said they’d tow us back to town with a rope.  That’s the kind of thing that you do here in Alaska.  We agreed, but it was a scary experience for me imagining our power steering brakes not working fast enough and us crashing or going over a ditch pulling the truck backwards with us.  (We got home just fine.)

But, what we learned, was that every time we went outside, what we expected from our foray into the wilderness just didn’t come to fruition.

We pictured glorious blue sky days.  We got them.  Along with freezing cold winds.  We pictured children playing in the snow.  We got that too, for all of five minutes.  We pictured skiing.  Our boy skied about ten feet (maybe twenty if we’re telling long tales).  Everything we did was hit with a major dose of reality.

So we adjusted our expectations.  Instead of taking the kids out for a hike, we began taking them out for outdoor time to do nothing.  Last weekend my husband and I each went out for a run in the morning.  In the afternoon we took the kids on a “hike”.  We drove to the local mountain, parked the car and began walking up.  We expected to just hang out by the car while the kids played on the dirt road, but the kids took off up the hill!  We followed.  We threw snowballs.  We poked at Musk Ox poop.  We walked through puddles.  We spent a good twenty minutes going UP and near the turn around point, my husband said, “I’m glad I ran this morning because I don’t feel like I need to hike or get exercise for me.”  It was exactly how I felt too.

And in the past month as the weather has finally gotten near the unfreezing point, we have taken our kids out more and more frequently to just PLAY in the outside.  It’s still hard because the puddles and streams are icy cold, the snow on the ground is still there, the mud is sticky and scares my little girl when it pulls at her boot.  The winds are still chilly, but more and more our kids are “feeling their oats” and having fun in the great old outdoors.

Today, we hiked on the tundra and sat in the sweet lemony smell of the Aiyu (Labrador Tea) and ate salami and cheese and listened to the birds and found some old bones and saw some arctic flowers beginning to bloom.  Both the kids wore their backpacks and traipsed over the soft cushioning wet ground just like true big kid hikers!

(But was I ever thankful that we weren’t THAT far from the stroller when we began our slow trek back)

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The Bad Babysitter

The teenager laughed at Bunny and called it babyish and hurled the toy telephone across the room. She was babysitting me and I didn’t like her in the least. I don’t remember every disliking anybody before, but I knew that she was not a kind person and I did not want her anywhere near my room.

But I was a six year old kid and she was the teenager in charge so I just stood quietly while she made fun of my most favorite stuffed animal and threw – threw! – my plastic phone.

I told my parents I didn’t like her and they respected that, though I vaguely remember that she almost babysat again another time when my parents couldn’t find anybody else. I know her name came up and I voiced my objection and I know I never played in my room with her again, but maybe she hung out in front of the TV while I slept.

I had another babysitter that I did like – I adored her. When I went to bed she’d tell me a story about “coming to get you” and I’d say I’d hide somewhere and she’d say she’d go there and I’d name another place and she’d get there too. Not so imaginative in retrospect, but I was entranced and in giggles and loved every second of the game of trying to stay up as late as I could with this never ending story.

I also loved that babysitter nights meant I got to eat a TV dinner with those cool gross little cranberry crumble deserts and fried chicken with odd pieces of something not quite chicken hanging out in the gristly parts of the joints. They were delicious.

The other night we had a babysitter over to watch our kids and it was great. We generally just take our kids out with us, but on this particular night we each wanted to attend a different community event and needed to be kid free. Our sitter came over and we took off and it was fantastic. It was freeing to be able to go out and it was even more freeing to hear how much the kids liked this teenage girl.

She was respectful and kind and she smiled and read them books and played with them and picked up the toys as they played. Picking up toys is not a requirement, but I think it sent the message to the kids that she somehow knew the secret adult safe world of doing the right thing and taking care of kids.

The kids think she is terrific and I have a feeling she likes the extra cash, so we might find ourselves going out just a little bit more.

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“Sister is Not a Fan of Fish”

“Sister is not a fannafish” kinda threw me off this morning. What the heck was he talking about? Little boy has been playing with rhymes and pretend words and interspersing them into his sentences but this sentence seemed like he was trying to talk in all seriousness.

He was eating his breakfast, a bowl of shredded wheats, purchased for the low sugar content, but which were decidedly not a hit, when he looked up and made this cryptic statement.

Luckily, thankfully, we can ask him to clarify.

“I don’t understand. Sister is not a ___?”

He repeated himself several times before I finally figured it out.

Last week, Dad made them some salmon salad. He said they both liked it and ate it up, but the next day she wasn’t having any of the leftovers.

We try to minimize the food likes and dislikes by suggesting that some days we like some things and other days we don’t. This gives us some future leeway, we hope, for little boy to reclaim broccoli which he used to love, and little girl to begin to like anything with a cooked zucchini or mushroom like texture.

But yet we see some pretty obvious food preferences. Little boy loves salty things. Little girl loves the sweets and the bread products. Little boy likes apples and pears and little girl likes berries and kiwis. They both like pesto. Thank goodness! And they both used to like Thai food and Mexican food and we just figured we had it easy, but there are those days where we’re pretty certain our kids would be quite content to eat pretzels, oranges and chewable vitamins from Trader Joe’s on a desert island for years on end.

Neither like olives. Both love peanut butter. Brother does not care for blueberries and sister is not a fan of fish.

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Monumental Tasks Seem So Monumental

My Table in Response to the Paralyzing Stress of the Tasks at Hand

Have you ever noticed how the things you most want to get done are the ones that you keep putting off?

I had some projects that I hadn’t finished from earlier in the year that I wanted done.  I wanted a sense of completion so I could put things away.  Way back on the second day of April I shared my April to-do list on BlogHer Denise’s blog:

Some of the projects were definitely critical:  My computer was limping along, woefully overloaded with photos, operating with an antique operating system, old school RAM amounts, and without being backed up.  I addressed those issues over the course of the month, but am still not finished.  I didn’t have a small enough screwdriver to replace the RAM that arrived yesterday in the mail so tomorrow I will borrow one from a friend.  And THEN I will be able to tackle another project on the To-Do list which is to update our family’s photo sharing blog and family blog which is for our relatives.

Some projects were not so critical:  Our Christmas cards (Not for this upcoming year).  These are our cards from last December – four months ago.  If we had never started them then I’d be inclined to let things slide as we have in past years, but this year, we had our little photo insert thing completed way back in December.  We just didn’t get it printed up.  And then we had to order ink and then we had to order more ink and then we had to print them and….Now it’s April.  We completed most of them last month, but there were some on my side of the desk that I just kept putting off.

And in my head, the pile of cards still to write took on momentous proportions that would require hours and hours and hours and deep loving concentration and glasses of wine and mugs of coffee and richly flowing words and…..I lost all perspective.

Except that I didn’t.  I knew the task wasn’t that big and that I would feel better once it was completed.  I knew that this albatross that visited every to-do list of mine would not go away until I just did them.  I also knew that I did not want to just wipe my hands of the task.  I wanted to complete it.  I wanted to stand up to the task that was threatening to defeat me.

Well today, after months and months of fretting, I sat down and completed them.  And it really wasn’t so bad.

And now I am feeling that lightness that comes with spring cleaning and fresh sheets and de-cluttered homes.

Our home is still cluttered, but not with our belated wishes of holiday good cheer.

And with that task that seemed so MONUMENTAL out of the way, everything else is easier.

And the kids?  The kids had a great day today helping assist me in all the cleaning I had to get out of the way before I had nothing left on the to-do list EXCEPT the dang Christmas cards.

Sharking the Floor

Carrying Laundry Up the Stairs

 

The Table After I'd Completed Everything Else EXCEPT for the Cards

 

And my lesson learned?  That sometimes the things we resist the most are really far easier to tackle once we just sit down and work through them.

 

Skis and the Camp Chair Definitely Belong in the Kitchen

Sitting Outsides in Sleds Reading Books in the Afternoon Sun

 

 

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Pursuing the Horizon

Sticks and Ernie - What else is needed!

Yesterday and the day before and heck, almost every day since I stopped going to work and began staying home with my kiddos, I’ve been feeling behind. I don’t quite know how the heck I fit it all in before, because I sure as heck am not fitting it all in now.

I also really want to take advantage of being able to be home with our kids which, for me, means getting order into our home and creating a rich warm fun environment for our kids.

Instead, I feel further behind than every before.

“Leave the dishes. Don’t worry about the mess. Focus on your children for they will only be this age once.” These are the messages I hear and I agree with, but…

Can’t I have it all? I was reminded of this poem last night:

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
“It is futile,” I said,
“You can never —”

“You lie,” he cried,
And ran on.
                      – Stephen Crane

I’m not great at keeping the house clean. A trail of mess appears in my wake. My husband and children are not any better.

I love new ideas and the prospect of new projects, but it’s difficult to carry things out with two curious kiddos.

I love getting involved in projects with my kids and having fun exploring the world with them and trying new things which sometimes brings more mess into the home.

I feel better when my home is picked up and clean (not super sterile clean, just looking clean). I’m more creative when things feel more spacious. I took to heart Maria Montessori’s messages about beautiful environments when I was a student in a Montessori school and loved every second of it.

I know my children are only going to be this wonderful delightful age just once, but can’t I still have it all?

April is coming to an end mighty darn fast. I’ve managed to accomplish a few of the goals I set out for myself like “spend lots of time outside” and “read a book”, but I also managed to forget the ones that irk me the most.

IF ONLY I could get five solid hours to work on the paper tasks that need to get done and the Christmas cards (from December 2011) that I want to finish. IF ONLY!

But the weather has been so beautiful and friends have been so bountiful and kids have been so fun that the month has just flown by. Ay ay ay – This week, though I have big hopes and plans. Big Hopes. Alas…

The weather is sunny.

The puddles are fun.

The roads are clear for walking.

The tundra is starting to show.

But I still keep thinking that I’ll fit it all in. I’ll whip the house into shape bright and early and then take the kids out and then somehow fit all the rest into the day in the afternoon and evening while my kids laugh and play around me.

It hasn’t worked out yet.

But I still have hopes. One week left of April. I’m focused. I’m gonna try to do it all!

Transporting Animals

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Spring Time and Snow Boots

  One week ago, we got a phone call from a friend asking if the community Easter Egg hunt was still on.  It’s Alaska and regardless of the weather, we assumed it was, though things did look a bit blustery outside our window and we had already decided to forgo our family outing to the frozen ocean for a walk.

The temperatures were in the 20’s, but the wind was brisk.  There was snow coming down and the wind was blowing it back up making it hard to see.  It is Alaska and the Easter Egg hunt was not canceled.

We bundled up the kids and made sure they had on face masks and walked down to the local park.  Kids ages 0-2 are allowed to have parents helping.  I helped my little boy and my husband helped our little girl.  Both of our kids did great!  Of course, it’s not about doing great or not doing great, but it’s nice when you’re a wee one to understand what you’re doing and to have fun doing it.  They both did.

Little girl couldn’t always pick up the eggs with her awkwardly mitted hands, but she tried and sometimes was successful.  We still have a large bowl of hard boiled eggs in our fridge from their collection efforts.

And now, only one week later, it’s still below freezing in the mornings, but by early afternoon, the frozen streets are covered with puddles and rivers and ponds flowing down the drains that the city crews have been working on de-icing.

This morning we bundled the kids up in snow pants, snow boots, fleece jackets and outer jackets and went for a walk and a picnic down near the frozen sea.  This afternoon our kids only needed rubber boots and simple jackets to play in the water that lined the streets.

The snow in our back yard that went higher than our 6 foot fence (conveniently allowing our dog to walk over the fence) has receded a couple of feet in just a couple days.  The evaporation of the snow leaves the snow empty and hollow looking and a horrible drag to attempt to walk through as it collapses beneath your feet.

It’s still chilly, but the sun is bright and wide awake at seven am and still up at 11 pm and its warmth is stunningly powerful upon your skin.

Last night at 3 am when I got up briefly, I looked out the window and saw the stars and wished them well.  They’re like special friends that we won’t be seeing until the Fall.

Tomorrow morning we will again dress up in our winter gear to meet the 14 degree temperatures, but afternoon will be a whole different story.  Spring is possibly on the way.

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Filed under Life in Alaska, Life with Kids