S's school district finally saw fit to have a snow day. Yesterday all the surrounding districts called off school, but ours forged ahead. Today, I was relieved to get up and read about the cancellation.
These three boxes are from the new chairs. I kept them around for their play possibilities. The boys had been climbing in and out of them a few times a day, asking me to close up the top flaps, and then popping out to roar at each other. Today I got out the box cutter and decided to make something only slightly more elaborate. I cut doors in two sides of each box and lined them up. They were a tunnel at first, and quickly became a machine. We added some steering wheels (ice cream pint lids + metal brads) and a laser beam (flashlight).
It has been fun, though not without moments of bickering. I had to add a steering wheel to each box when the first one was being fought over. Also, one of the boxes is weaker than the other two. Somebody leaned on it and it collapsed easily, sending S into hysterics. So, it seems no playtime, however wholesome and creative, is without some drama.
Before you utter even one syllable about what a great mom I am for making a tunnel of boxes for my kids, let me get something off my chest. I have been in a state of dismal sadness over the dynamics of our house this winter. I am trying to keep my head above water day to day, fighting the wintertime blues (to put it lightly) that seem to come over me every year during this wretched season. The boys are bored and battling over the most trivial things. It seems that my normal store of patience, Depression-era scant to begin with, has evaporated in the dry winter air. I am unable to help them through their boredom or sibling rivalry. Instead I often cause the tension in the house to elevate to unbearable levels with my shouting and/or thoughtless words. I hear myself saying things I know I should not say. Why do we have all these toys if you don't want to play with them? If you complain about being bored one more time, I'm going to throw away every one of your toys. I hear my voice reach a volume it should not reach. If someone spoke to me the way I speak to my boys, I would burst into tears. They often do. As they fight with each other, I clearly, unmistakably, hear them echoing my angry, impatient tones. I instruct them to speak calmly to each other, talk it through, work it out, then swallow a guilty lump in my throat. Who am I kidding?
I worry about the current and future damage I'm inflicting upon my children. I walk around feeling sick to my stomach with this worry. Alternately, I try to numb myself with food, which does little to help my weight-loss efforts, as you can imagine.
I know the type of mom I want to be. I've read the books and know which ideas I want to embrace as a parent. My intellectual ideas are no match for my real nature, it seems. I guess I don't really know if it's personality, bad habits, depression, or a mix of everything. Regardless of the specific label, it seems like an ugly monster I just can't slay for good, no matter how many mornings I wake up and resolve to do better.
This is some heavy, yucky stuff I'm laying down here. I try to keep this space pretty light and happy, I know, but I trust you all to let me be real here sometimes too. I don't have any answers today, and I certainly don't expect you to offer me any. Let's just say that I'm looking forward to spring, in an urgent, white-knuckles kind of way. It's good to know that it will come. It's good to hope that its jaunty sun might rescue me.