I'ma gonna write on Mama Kat's Prompt #5 this week:
List activities that keep your kids busy on rainy days.
Before I embark on my list, please bear with me while I offer an explanation, in the form of a list before the list.
- As a teacher, when I read "keep your kids busy" and "rainy days," I'm thinking specifically about snow days, of which we had 11 last year, causing authorities to extend school until June 25. For joy!
- We've been closed for other reasons: Tropical Storm Lee, which washed out roads and bridges, following close on the heels of Hurricane Irene, and shuttered all schools in my district on the first Friday of the new school year in 2011.
- We were closed three days after the 9/11 attacks in 2001; we're in the DC 'Burbs, and not one official so-and-so could guarantee that all of the danger had passed after that horrific day exactly 13 years ago.
- Hurricane Sandy, bless her heart, wreaked not-so-much havoc on our area in 2012, resulting in two years in a row featuring three "rain" days - which, natch, were taken out of our "snow day" allowance. I shouldn't make too much fun - our Jersey and New York brethren are still trying to recover from Sandy's wrath.
I could go on and on, carefully calculating rain vs. snow days in any given year in the fickle Mid-Atlantic, but I won't bore you with the details. I do want to add, however, that "entertaining" one's kids does not end when they've aged up to middle or even high school. Both my chicas have graduated from college and no longer live at home, and I still feel compelled to keep them occupied when circumstances warrant.
Here's a short list of what I've done to keep us all busy during inclement weather. To wit:
- When Ella Numera Una and Ella Numera Dos were 6 and 3, respectively, we saw a crafty clip on "Sesame Street." Yes, you, too, can make your own Mexican masks at home! Call me a nerd, but I Googled this and think I found the episode - Number 3058 - which also featured the Oinker Sisters singing "I got a new way to walk." The results of my children's craftiness hang on my kitchen wall all these years later.
- After learning how to crochet in an after-school program, Dos got it into her head that she was gonna make an Afghan (the blanket, not the person). Many granny squares and much yarn later, with an assist from Una, by golly she did it, and gave it as a "thank you" gift to the after-school teacher.
- Not to be outdone, Una started a quilt. Many quilt squares and much anguish over the sewing machine later, she completed her project, which adorns her bed upstairs at my house. It's not of the Amish variety, but I cherish many of those squares sewn crookedly by tiny hands. Think this one took several snow/rain days, along with a sizable chunk of summer vacay that year.
- Did I mention the TV? Yes, I'm a bad mother. In more recent years, we've whiled away the hours while stuck in the house with a junky show or two or three. Except in the wake of 9/11, when we just had to turn the damn thing off. The girls and I ended up in the kitchen, singing patriotic songs - "The Star-Spangled Banner," "America the Beautiful," "This Land is Your Land" come to mind.
- Please, don't let me get away without mentioning the grading. I always make sure to have a bookbag full of papers when inclement weather threatens. The girls have been known to help me count words (I have students who think more is better, when it's clearly not; Dos used to count to 500 - the assigned words in an essay - and draw a red line. I would only grade up to that red line. Worked like a charm!); on other occasions, they've checked quizzes, remarked on research papers (to me, not to my students, not in writing), and sorted assorted assignments into piles for their assignment-weary mama.
- And did I mention the restorative power of sleep? It took a while, but my teenagers finally learned how to nap, a blessing to us all.