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Thursday, February 9, 2012

It is a Jungle Out There, Big Brother!

Today Big Brother and the rest of "Class 3" went to the zoo.  They could have taken a bus but it is fairly close to school and they're all city kids so they walked.  It was cold. Even by our Chicago standards. Baby Sister and I curled up for a literary day inside. I spent much of the day fretting over Big Brother and hoping that the extra fleece we'd layered under his uniform jacket was enough. It wasn't.

This last week or so is really the first it has been truly cold since we've been here (which doesn't stop Baby Sister from wearing flip flops (this morning) or dress up heels (this afternoon) to the school gates). I was bemoaning how we'd already lost our Chicago sturdiness, but Big Brother says we just aren't wearing the same good, practical clothes we were in La Grange. He's right although I still sport my LLBean full length down coat and knit cap on the chilliest days.

The boys wore snow pants to school in La Grange for months. Here the kids think their "puffy gloves" are a novelty! A few sparse inches of snow this weekend were deemed by some to be nearly impassable and certainly cause for big snowball fights.

Big Brother is still little enough that he was delighted that I drew zoo animals all over his lunch bag and put banana stickers and lots of silly questions about monkeys on his napkin. I will be crushed (or as the British say, "gutted") when my smalls outgrow that. I'm hoping they never do or maybe more realistically, are always are kind enough to me to let me keep doing it. Last week Big Brother and Big Sister were tickled at lunch trying to figure what shape their sandwiches were. They were cut out with a cookie cutter of a US map. They didn't get it. It kept tables full of kids entertained for a moment. My mother always wrote on our napkins as kids. It is a way to let them know they're being loved by their Momma while they're out in the big, wild world. And that their Momma knows lots of jokes about monkeys.

But a festive lunch didn't shield Big Brother from the elements today. My heart broke when I picked everyone up from school and Big Brother's class still wasn't yet back from the zoo. Finally, they marched down the hill looking like a snaking train of little ice cubes. Big Brother's teacher and my girlfriend pantomimed that it was so cold that Big Brother, my girlfriend, and lots of others had cried because it was so cold.  Oh NO!  Hours later I am still stung by the guilt.  Isn't that the whole point my of being me? Isn't that my job to keep them safe and content? Happy and warm? Just like I tell them when they are sick - I would so much rather it be me.

Happy to see us and warmed by the prospect of being home soon, Big Brother rallied. I still treated everyone to a cab ride home. As you may have heard, it doesn't take too terribly much to convince me to pile my little people in a cab. Once home and in jammies, we enjoyed popcorn on the pull out couch. And because I didn't have Hershey's syrup, I melted chocolate bars for hot chocolate. Just like in "The Polar Express." So very delicious.

Everyone thawed. Everyone was cheered. Big Brother gave us a hysterical impersonation of a gorilla chase. I'm still feeling a bit guilty. You should see what I have packed to walk Big Sister and her class to a nearby (much closer than the zoo) art museum on their field trip Thursday.  Enough extra scarves for a dozen or so chilly little people.

Is it half term break yet? We're all ready for it! I've got the week all planned. It starts with toasting the kids with mugs filled with melted chocolate bars.

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