Posted by: Hannah | 03/20/2013

snow day

A Snow Day With Small Children

a guide for the uninitiated

  1. Wake up in the morning, realize the forecasted storm has arrived. Frown direfully at the snowplows that mean everyone will be arriving earlier than usual because their parents need extra time to get to work.
  2. Hear the snow day announcement on the radio. Be jumped by 7 year old already planning snowmen, snow catapults, snow houses, and snow everythings.
  3. Look out the back door, see bare spots on the deck. Wonder why school was cancelled.
  4. Look out the front door, realize the prevailing wind has built a three-foot drift on your front steps.
  5. Start shoveling. See your first extra kid arriving early. In tears.
  6. Eventually, second kid arrives. His mom talks about how much fun it will be to play outside.
  7. Third & fourth kids are nowhere to be found, because their parents have ‘flexible’ work schedules and they never go to work before noon on snow days.
  8. Be pestered for an hour to go outside. Stall because you want the outdoor time to break up the morning.
  9. Finally decide it’s time.
  10. Spend 20 minutes getting the kids dressed in snowsuits.
  11. Go outside. Five minutes later, first child starts crying because “it’s cold”. (It’s above freezing).
  12. Ten minutes after that, the sky suddenly gets very dark.
  13. And it rains.
  14. And everyone comes inside.
  15. Spend another twenty minutes hanging up soaking wet snowpants, coats, hats, mittens.
  16. Walk through a puddle of melted snow.
  17. In your sock feet.
  18. Empty a dozen used Kleenexes out of your pockets.
  19. Sob gently.
  20. Fin.
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Responses

  1. I remember when snow days used to be a treat – not just when I was a kid, but also as an adult before small children (BSC). BSC, I would snuggle up on the couch with a cat, tea, and a book and relax and watch the pretty snow. Then came small children and snow days began to look as you describe except that I don’t have other people’s small children added to the mix. I came to dislike snow days. Frankly, I am quite happy that we hardly ever have them here.

    • I remember sitting by the radio on tenterhooks waiting for those magical words “All schools in Lunenburg and Queens Counties are closed” – and I remember my mother closing her eyes and sighing while we all whooped and cheered. I never understood why she looked so pissed. I DO NOW.

  2. UGH. You know, we never have snow days here. Never! Not in the city, anyway. I think there are “extreme cold” days in the surrounding rural areas which mostly mean the buses aren’t running. I cannot think of a single instance that school was cancelled due to snow. I FIND THIS STRANGE.

    • We have a lot of snow days for a complicated bunch of reasons. 1) Even though we’re technically in “Halifax Regional Municipality”, we are in a rural area and our kids are bussed to school. There are parts of HRM that are even more far-flung. 2) We almost never have extreme cold here; when it snows, it tends to be within five degrees of the freezing mark. Snowplows move the snow out of the way but can often leave behind a slick icy surface that really is unsafe to drive on. 3) The school boards have become so afraid of liability that they always err on the side of super-cautious; we also noticed that the number of snow days increased when busing services were contracted out to Stock Transportation.

      We do have a lot of snow days, though. Today it was really not strictly necessary; had they simply delayed opening for an hour the roads were then clear in most places. Trouble is they have to “make the call” by 6AM, and when the storm starts around midnight too many back roads are still a mess come morning.

    • Like Nicole I grew up in Alberta and never had a snow day. This is because the provincial funding model for schools is based on the number of days the school is open. So a school closure means that the school loses some of their funding and hence they NEVER close. The principal and vice principal and some staff will always be there. Until I discovered mommy blogs I thought that snow days were just a lie made up by tv and film producers. Like people wearing their shoes inside their homes.

      • Ah-HAH, an explanation! I get it now. If the schools lost money for closing, then yeah, they’d never close. And it really has gotten worse in the last few years; the Maritimes is one of the worst regions in North America for weather-related school closures, in terms of days lost. It’s very frustrating.

        Shoes indoors! I KNOW!! I always thought that was a TV thing, and then I started hearing that not only is it completely normal in some areas, but that they are horrified by the notion of “icky” bare-or-sock feet inside their house. Nutty. I think you need to live somewhere with a very dry climate for that to work. Lord knows if I let people wear their shoes in the house I’d be washing the floor every single day just to keep ahead of the mud, snow, water, etc.

  3. I’d take it over the constant pouring rain… Owl has played in the snow, like, twice ever.

    • I love snow in December, and even during January / February I will concede that winter is more fun with snow. But March 20th? Blergh.

      • You’ll be happy to know that we got snow yesterday! Okay, it was a 5 minute flurry followed by hail and then sunshine, but everyone was like “SNOW IN MARCH? WTF??”

  4. I really like the idea of “heat days”, which they have in parts of Germany – when it gets too hot, they send the kids home to eat ice pops and lie under the air conditioning. Far better than snow days!

    • They nearly delayed the start of the school year when Harry started grade primary because we were under a heat wave that week and none of the schools have air conditioning or even fans. We were told to send them all with bottled water and they had lunch break indoors, because it was 38C – 40C outdoors and just too hot for much running around.

  5. We have the same provincial funding model, so the schools never close, but they cancel the buses, which means a lot of kids don’t show up. I sort of go either way, depending on the day – if they’ve missed a lot of school lately and it’s easy enough to get them in, I make them go. If it’s really nasty and it’s a Friday (like the one before Christmas break, when this happened), I let them stay home. I actually have never minded snow days because I don’t work and I only have my own kids. In your case, I would just weep and gnash my teeth all day.

    • Very rarely we’ll have a day where the schools are open, but buses are not traveling on side roads. Those days are a challenge for me, because I don’t have the vehicle space to drive my kids to and from school, but nor do I want them to miss the time. Once the buses weren’t running and Michael left work to get him there & bring him home again – “we watched movies and played in the gym!” was the report.


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