Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cold hands, warm heart

Daddy leaves every morning just before 9.00am.Then it's just me and the boys (and the doggies) and our day together begins. Everyday is usually an amalgamation of eating, play, outside time, TV and naps. The order of which differs each day. Today I look outside and see the sun shining and think - let's get the troops outside!

The kids are still rocking their PJs, but we have a large deck full of toys and a sandbox. And did I mention we live in Texas? Being British, I have yet to come to grips with the freezing reality of a Texas Winter. After 3 years, I still expect desert temperatures all year round. It is January, but in my defense, last week the kids were scampering around outside, sporting only T-shirts and underpants (just a diaper on the wee one) in the sandbox, in a glorious springtime climate!

So today the sunshine illuminating the inside of our home belies the actual temperature. And onec the door opens, there's a unanimous BRRRRR from our eldest and Mum. Baby is still more than game to get out there (crazy boy)! So I do a quick whip round of socks and shoes and extra pants and layers and get us all toggled up ready to face the freezing wind. The Dogs down in the pen are already worked up into a mad frenzy of excitement and who am I to disappoint?

Big kid leads the way wearing Daddy's sock monkey hat closely followed by Mom and Baby. We release the hounds and set off down our driveway and onto our neighbour's property. Thankfully the neighbours have acres to spare and are very welcoming of us using it for walking our booming family of kids and dogs. A major plus to our home life that I'd hate to live without! And our number one son just loves off-roading.

My big problem with all of this is keeping boys and dogs in check in the great outdoors without sounding like the local angry lady. Noise carries in these hills and getting all the troop to listen (without screaming 'til I'm blue in the face) is a pretty tricky state of affairs, especially for this usually easy-GO-ing Momma.

....And the toddler is already off through low hanging scratchy bushes that no regular size person is ever going to get through without coming out looking like Edward Scissor Hands. I reassure myself that there really is no way he'll get lost, so I see it through and choose to let him have his wilderness fun in the dead Cedar underbrush. The boy gets stuck of course. And he can't get back through to Momma. So we walk a little ways either side of the overgrowth looking for a more open way through, meanwhile the puppy is through and back between us many times. And I'm yelling "Baby, follow pup! - crawl through!"

It take a whole load of Mom cheer-leading and one or two frustrated cries from our kid but he eventually makes it and is oh so proud of himself that he does a little dance. I'm holding our 11 month old all the while and he looks like he could fall asleep at any moment. I wonder if he's slowly freezing to death as I realize just how biting the wind is and my hands and toes all suddenly start to sting. It's way too cold to be out and about with the kids. What am I thinking??

"Home time!" I yell. It feels like we've been out hours, but possibly only 8 minutes has passed. And where are the dogs? Our kid won't budge without them so I'm yelling again (the loud British fishwife). Eventually they come bounding into our clearing and I can't get the family home fast enough. One baby is still on hip, the bigger one running alongside his marching Momma holding onto my hand until we are safely across the road and onto our driveway. Then he wants to let go and of course I oblige and so he dawdles behind, his attention pulled toward a dog stick. I keep walking and turning and shouting for him to come on.....

And suddenly he does, only he's pretty far behind, so he starts running at break-neck speed, and I see the tumble happening before it actually does. My heart jumps into my throat as it always tends to do when I see one of my offspring in danger, but I stifle any cry or desire to rush over in a panic. He's really not hurt I tell myself, just scared. But he takes the fall hard and he wants me to pick him up and he stays laying down face first and starts to cry.

I'm definitely touched, but I approach lightly and encourage him to get up on his own accord. It takes a few moments and I have to crouch a little balancing the baby on my hip while I reach down to help him get up. But he doesn't stop crying all the way into the house. I don't pick him up. I shouldn't really as I don't want to jeapordize Bean's health. I'm desperate to get him smiling though. By now I can tell they are both tired and cold, and I'm wishing we'd have stayed inside clad only in pajamas and watched Barny prance about in the cold.

Once we get inside I make a crucial error. I take baby's silence to mean he's content enough, at least to be put down on the carpet with his toys for a few moments while I check big kids hands for graising, and console him. only baby starts to cry, and bigger baby cries even louder. And now both babies are melting down before me at only 10:15am. Yesterday morning's successful outing has turned into a massive flop today and all I can think of doing is getting them both down for an early nap.

It's lovely and warm inside and so I pull off all our layers and I start to get a tingling sensation as the blood starts to flow more freely through my limbs. I lay Sawyer down on Thomas with Blue Bear and he cries even harder. But I leave him, I have to intercept baby from the carpet and so I put him in his stroller and start rocking him. He's happier momentarily, but big kid is not. He's crescendo-ing and so I leave the baby and scoop up big kid from his Thomas bed and hold him tight and return to rock the stroller.

Big kid is holding out his hands and now I see that he's not bending them and my mind goes back to his fall and how he broke the fall with those little hands and I think, "Oh god no, he's sprained both his wrists!" I try to get him to wiggle his fingers while hugging him tight and rocking the stroller and he only cries more. He's holding them out to me, and then the penny drops and I realize that his little ice block hands are probably tingling like crazy. They definitely look red and swollen. So I blow on them and rub them, and finally tuck them down my top, while still bear hugging our big kid and rocking baby in the stroller. And soon all is peaceful. Baby falls fast asleep in his stroller while watching Baby Einstein, and big kid is happy again cuddling with his Momma.

It's supposed to get to -7deg tonight. Tomorrow, I think we'll just stay in our pajamas and watch the purple dinosaur prance about in the cold!

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