I’ve been trying to sneak some exercise into their days—without moving all the furniture and turning my home into an inside gymnasium. My house is too small and old for that. The dining room light fixture literally bounces when the kids walk through my daughter’s room. Luckily it’s made of plastic, so if it falls, it’s no big loss. If the ceiling falls, that’s a problem.
So I’ve been letting the kids play tag—inside, but downstairs, because the basement has no ceiling or light fixtures. The kids play shock tag with the boys who live across the street. Shock tag consists of rubbing themselves against the faux-velvet covered sofa until their hair sticks straight up and static electricity bounces from their skin. Then they play tag, but it only counts if the tagged kid gets zapped. This game works pretty well until someone gets an eye poked out or spontaneously combusts.
No one has spontaneously combusted, though I’m concerned it could happen with all that electricity floating around. It’d be difficult to explain to my neighbors that their kid spontaneously combusted after I encouraged him to frottage my faux-velvet couch.
Plus, kids running in the house makes our dog crazy. Biscuit barks frenziedly as the kids run around him. He’s kind of like Nana in “Peter Pan.” Except much smaller and less drooly. I imagine, in his mind, he’s saying, “Settle down, you rumpus scalawags. Or I’ll have to bite your heineys.”
I wonder if he’d let me put a bonnet on him, like Nana? Doubtful, although he would look freaking adorable.
Anyway, to discourage canine pissiness and potential spontaneous combustion, my next trick is to inveigle the kids to play with the dog instead of around him. Like them, he’s bored, hyper and annoying. The only problem is that the kids have shorter attention spans than the mutt. That dog will retrieve for hours. He has tennis ball attention surplus disorder.
Trick number three consists of bundling everyone up and forcing them outside to walk the dog. I like to walk quickly to wear out the dog, but with the kids, we have to break it up or they get crabby. So we stop, and they climb trees, walk on walls, jump over logs, and we play Red Light, Green Light. Although you have to play it really fast when it’s cold so the kids don’t freeze into post-Medusa-stare statues. With the recent temperatures, we last about 20 minutes outside before someone starts complaining of frostbite.
Then we head back home, and it’s time for a dance party. I used to like dance parties when I controlled the music. Now my 11-year-old daughter, the proud owner of an IPod that Grandma gave her for Christmas, controls the noise.
Here are some of the tunes from our most recent dance party play list: “Staying Alive” The Chipmunks’ version, “Supergirl” by Hannah Montana, “Last Train to Awesometown” by Parry Gripp, and a version of “Let it Snow,” called, wait for it: “Yellow Snow.”
The kids get into choreographing dance segments to various songs. Good exercise, but if this mom hears, “Dude. Bro. This party is sick,” one more time, she might lose her last remaining unfrayed nerve.
So here’s what I’ve learned living in Arctic Asheville. One, I could survive a winter in Iceland—not happily, but sufficiently. Two, I don’t like my kid’s music—which makes me feel really decrepit. Three, I’m ready for spring, when I can kick the kids out of the house and not worry about frozen flesh. Bring on the springtime.
Anne Fitten "Edgy Mama" Glenn writes about a number of subjects, including parenting, at www.edgymama.com.
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