February 16, 2003

Building a Snowbound Containment Field

It’s snowing. It’s really snowing. According the weather bureau, this is the second worst snowstorm in recorded history. And, wouldn’t you know it: not only on a weekend but a holiday weekend. But we are prepared. In between storms yesterday I managed to stock up on the essentials (snowbound food and movies). We already have enough plastic and duct tape in case the snow starts encroaching our living room perimeter.

But what to do with the kids? Our walls were not built to contain their unbridled energy for too long. We have no “safe room” outfitted with special child energy buffers. And the snow is coming down at too fast of a rate for them to play outside. One step off the front steps and they could be lost until Spring.

This can be a difficult time for parents. Board games and reading can only go so far. And playing ghost in my daughter’s bedroom (where we turn out all the lights and I pretend to be a scary creature who must capture them) is not something I can sustain. Ok, I get bored being the ghost all the time. But that’s the only way they like it. Forget the fear of biological terrorism. Cabin fever is what we now fear the most.

Euan writes he was playing with his kids and suddenly found himself “rolling around on the floor as you do - and we ended up with me on my hands and knees with them hiding under me. I suddenly realised that this would be the position I would adopt if we were being bombed.”

I know the feeling. Having children colors every news report on Iraq and Al Queda an even deeper shade of gloom. Last night, after the energy of the day dissipated with full stomachs and warm baths, both girls came into our bedroom. Squeaky-clean and in matching pajamas, first my eldest and then my 4 year old came to snuggle. I began to sing with Maurice Chevalier “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” while channel surfing past the movie Gigi.

Mushy? Yes. My French accent? Il aura besoin travail. Most importantly, it was a brief respite from the global weight of this past week and a reminder of what is truly important.

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