Winter provided memories in the springPublished 7:09am Sunday, April 14, 2013
Column: Pass the Hot Dish, by Alexandra Kloster
6 a.m. — I always dreamed of the day my twin girls could play in front of the living room window and watch the snow falling. I just didn’t think it would happen in the middle of April. It should have at least occurred to me. After all, I’ve lived in the Upper Midwest all my life. I’ve seen May blossoms encased in ice. I’ve pulled my disgruntled Sorels out of the closet in the spring after promising them six months off.
So it was with a mixture of surprise and total lack of surprise that I awoke Thursday morning just in time to see the rain change over into snow.
Two babies lay on the floor drinking bottles. They looked as if they knew their father was out of town, and we were snowed in. They had cabin fever in their eyes and were anticipating a rousing day of stir crazy.
7 a.m. — “Please leave Clara’s belly button alone. You have one of your own,” I said to my daughter, Gertie, as I held her back with one hand and tried to dress her sister with the other. Gertie is crazy about navels, Clara’s in particular. It’s like a flashing neon sign, an engraved invitation for an index finger. If this fascination of Gertie’s persists Clara will never be able to wear low-rise jeans or an inappropriate midriff-baring shirt.
9 a.m. — How do I explain meals now that the twins are beginning to feed themselves? Remember the scene in “Animal House” after John Belushi yells, “Food fight!” Well if you don’t, come on over at breakfast, lunch or dinner and we’ll reenact it for you. The resulting effect is impressive. It’s like one of those giant Jackson Pollock paintings had babies.
10 a.m. — It was well into naptime and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except for everybody. Yorkies are wonderful watchdogs for children, and Sidney is a credit to his breed. I especially appreciate the way he runs around the house barking like the town crier, “The babies are sleeping! The babies are sleeping!” That way I know for sure that the babies are no longer sleeping.
1 p.m. — Two 9-month-old babies plus no nap on a snow day equals “The Shining.” I could see Gertie’s eyebrows taking on a Jack Nicholson-like arch and Clara crooked her little finger at me and muttered, “red rum.” I told her she was too young to drink and we all lay down and slept for an hour and a half thereby quelling any potential maniacal outbursts at least until bedtime.
3 p.m. — It was still a winter wonderland outside, so we decided if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, and we popped in “The Dean Martin Christmas Show” from 1968.
I watched Clara bounce in her exersaucer while she watched Dino pull on a cigarette and try to remember the words to “Marshmallow World.” She casually held her pacifier between her fingers and paused to suck it occasionally, or was she puffing on it? Splendid. Clara was imitating Dean Martin. I felt like a horrible mother. If I handed her a bottle of formula would she swirl it like a highball? And what about Gertie? What if she slapped on a bow tie and started reeling off misogynistic one-liners?
“Listen, girls, it’s a Nixon joke!” I said, trying to distract them by pointing out some of the less offensive aspects of the show, but they were as taken with that velvety voice and loopy grin as I was at their age. I decided I better tuck Dean way back behind Frosty and Rudolph. We’ll get him out again when the girls are teens and we’re in the market for a cautionary tale.
6 p.m. — The three of us were hanging out under the coffee table. I’d thrown a sheet over it, grabbed a few pillows, a couple bottles, books and a flashlight. We did our nighttime rituals in an impromptu fort, and even though the babies were totally confused, I think they enjoyed it.
I hated to see the day end. Tomorrow the roads would be clear, and the world would start turning again. There would be errands to run and work to do. We would fall back into our routines and moments would pass without our realizing they were ever there.
Today all we had was time and each other, so thank you, winter. Thank you for coming back in the springtime and giving us this day. Now scram, will ya?
Woodbury resident Alexandra Kloster appears each Sunday. She may be reached at email@example.com, and her blog is at alexandrakloster.com.