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Snowstorms bring new meaning to creative motherhood

March 10, 2003

Just like the NBC drama, "Law and Order," in the parental justice system there are two separate yet equal parts. The children, who commit acts of wonder and amusement, and the parents, who don't quite know what their kids are doing. This is my story.

Dant ... Dant ...

Greg Keefer, local weather observer for the National Weather Service, reports we were socked with the second worst (or in his warped sense of humor, the best) snowstorm in our county's history. Snowstorms bring new meaning to the words creative motherhood.

First, I have to interpret for the children just what Daddy is saying out in the garage under his breath as he tries for the 73rd time to start his snow blower. I tell them, "Dad is simply wishing the snow blower would start." My 10-year-old asks if Dad only wishes in four-letter words with a very red face while banging the snow blower up and down on the garage floor.

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Next comes the element of food on a snow day. I firmly believe that no matter how many gallons of milk or loaves of bread you keep in stock or on hand, snow days are the only time kids will ever ask for Chicken Cordon Bleu. These are the same kids who will eat bologna until it comes out of their ears. I offer what I have, from 14 different kinds of breakfast cereal to my own private stock of Pepperidge Farm Milanos, but it turns out that my kids have been watching Emeril make some magic on the Food Channel and only pt on a pita will do.

After eating everything in the cupboard except the wooden shelf, the boys decide to go outside. I am going on record now that I am going to design a very simple snowsuit. The child puts it on, and you simply attach the air compressor in the garage to the valve on the side and inflate it to the appropriate size for your kid: Pillsbury Dough Boy for a toddler up to Michelin Man size for an early teenager. All children look like someone filled each pocket with sand when they have a snowsuit on anyway.

When the kids come back inside, they report that Dad had begun passing on his wishes to the shovel since the snow blower didn't want to play anymore.

They also ask if there's anything to, you guessed it, eat. I start to babble something about peanut butter and jelly, and the boys decide to see how many cookies it takes to absorb one 12-ounce glass of milk. Not just dip or dunk, absorb, as in sop up. I have to leave the room when the count hit 23.




JoEllen Barnhart is assistant to the director for Frostburg State University's Hagerstown Center. She has three sons.

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