For a few minutes, all was well. There was peaceful playing and sharing of toys. But soon enough arguments broke out about, well, everything. Who got to play on which side of the living room. Who owned the unicorn found wedged between couch cushions. Who was allowed to read the book left on the floor overnight.
The peace was temporarily restored with a trip to Littleton and stops at two of our favorite places: the Village Book Store, filled with games and toys and books for all ages, and Chutters, home of the Guinness record holding World’s Longest Candy Counter. After lunch with my husband in town, it was back home – to more bickering.
I don’t like refereeing. Didn’t like it when I reffed U12 soccer games as a high school kid, and don’t like it now that I’m called on by three little kids on a regular basis to break up squabbles large and little. Young as they are, I figure the kids are old enough to work things out on their own, and most of the time they are best buddies and get along great, but yesterday each disagreement seemed ready to come to blows.
The afternoon was gray and wet and windy, the sky trying to snow, the temperature right on the cusp of being warm enough to rain. Not a day that you’d rush outside with longing. But outside we went. I sent the kids out first, and by the time I’d joined them five minutes later, the squabbles had disappeared, replaced by grins and happy shrieks as they pushed each other down the short, steep pitch of the snow fort.
I tied three of our old, plastic sleds together, and the kids each hopped into one so I could pull them up the long driveway and back down again. I used to do this when they were tiny, when the littlest one was a baby and the other two toddlers. It was the only way I could squeeze in any exercise back then. Hauling about 120 pounds of kids and their snow gear around the snowy yard still beats going to the gym.
Once they tired me out, they each took a turn pulling the other two. Never one to be outdone, even the little one, just turned 4 years old, dragged her older and bigger brother and sister in a lap around the house.
As dinnertime approached, we came back inside with wet mittens and rosy cheeks, our spirits buoyed by a little fresh air, peaceful playing restored for the evening.