the sad thing is, though it’s not. it’s only the beginning. why then does it already seem like this winter is dragging on? like i can’t wait for spring to come? it might be the fact that i’m trapped at home with no car once again (every few months, it seems one or the other of our cars momentarily looses the will to live). and it might also be the fact that i can’t get my kids outside, for the life of me.
or, maybe that’s not totally true, but if i want to get them outside, you’d better believe i’m working up to it all damn morning. mentally. because i know. ruth will not go gently into that good afternoon stroll. no, sir. it’s going to take all of my mental strength (what little is left) and every ounce of patience (scraping the bottom here) to get her dressed and out the door.
i might spend a few hours stalling, but it’s not long before the daylight dwindles. then, it becomes do or die. as in, never set so much as a toe outside of these four walls for an entire 24 hours. i might start by playing it casual, say, “ruth, how about a walk?” she will balk, which i expect. she doesn’t want to go for a walk. “i know,” i say, playing the role of diplomat, “but i want to go for a walk and i can’t leave you home alone.” “NNNNOOOOOOO!” she might begin to thrash on the floor. more reasoning, “baby brother and i want to get some fresh air. it’s good for us. it will be a quick walk and when we come back, you can decide what to do.” more yelling. i try not to curb this too much, let her vent and such. she doesn’t want to go. i get it. there are plenty of things i often don’t feel like doing (such as listening to ruth scream her head off at what in my opinion is “nothing”). then i might, if i’m lucky, be able to remain calm and tell her, “we’re leaving in five minutes. go get some pants on.”
oh, did i forget to mention that ruth’s uniform these days is either an elmo costume or some footie pajamas? that, or she’s naked. in any case, getting ruth to get dressed is like water boarding someone. at least, you’d think it was that unpleasant by the fight she puts up. as far as i can tell, her discomfort with clothing is genuine. seems bizarre, but i usually don’t take issue. i try to empathize. not easy.
while this is going on, i’m stuffing the brother into his layers until his arms stick out from his sides like a friggin’ scarecrow and getting myself ready. get the keys, ruth’s hat, blanket, phone. and finally manage to get both kids, dressed (somewhat, in ruth’s case) for the weather, both probably crying and/or screaming at this point.
usually by this time, ruth starts to warm up to being outside enough to quiet, joel as well gets a bit stunned into silence by the change in scenery and temperature. then we go for a walk. sometimes i get lucky and joel falls asleep and ruth gets catapulted into a good mood. other times, i’m not so lucky.
ruth screamed the entire walk. next to me, holding my hand. twenty minutes worth of ear-assailing screaming, runny-nosed whimpering. watery-eyed sobbing. it was painful.
needless to say i had more trouble than usual holding onto my patience. and i have no idea how i’m going to make it through the winter.