The signs of spring are starting to appear. It is hard to believe, that just a few short weeks ago, we had nine foot snow banks along the sides of our driveway. After a rain storm and a few mild days...the snow is almost gone. It is time to start spring cleaning. Our annual tradition of scouring the house, cleaning up the yard, and my all time favorite event-separating Sammy from his snow pants. Having done this for the past six years, I can say with certainty, that I have the finely honed skills of a hostage negotiator. Sammy loves his snow pants. Asking him to give them up is, in Sammy's mind, equivalent to asking him to give up a dear and special friend.
Me: Hey Buddy, it's getting kind of warm out...I don't think that you need your snow pants anymore.
Sammy: Yes, I do. I still need them.
Me: But honey, it's fifty-seven degrees outside...aren't you hot?
Sammy: No, I'm fine.
Me: Sam...you're sweating, your cheeks are flushed...could you at least take them off inside?
Sammy: No, I want to be ready.
Me: Ready for what???!!
Sammy: There is still snow on the ground.
Sammy: Over there by the garage.
Me: You mean that tiny patch of snow the cat is rolling on because he is hot?
The next morning, I watch as three of the herd get on the bus. Lily and Oscar running, jackets open and flying-their feet, light in sneakers....followed by Sammy, who is plodding along, coat zipped to the chin, hat pulled down over his ears, gloves, boots and...snow pants. It is going to be fifty degrees today. My boy is going to be hot.
The fact of the matter is-Sammy hates change, he always has. He once wore a pair of pajamas that became so worn, that there was more hole than pajama.(he only gave in to a new pair, because they were the same exact style) He has had the same lunch every day for over four years, the same snacks. I think that it makes him feel safe-this sameness. Although, I will continue to persuade...I know that he will take off his snow pants when it becomes too hot. I know not to rush him. He does not like pressure, it makes him anxious.
A few weeks ago, I received a notice from his music teacher. The students were learning to play the recorder in class. She suggested that buying their own recorder would encourage them to practice at home (practice? More like blow on it until you drive your parents crazy) She said that although it was not mandatory that we buy one, doing so would "bring the joy of music into our homes" This from a woman who made "Jingle Bells" sound like a funeral dirge at the Christmas concert. (It was obvious that I was dealing with a sick mind) I looked at Sammy and said "Do you want a recorder?" He kind of smiled and laughingly said "No"! (I was secretly thrilled) "Oh well", I said, "I guess we will have to get our joy from the C.D. player"
Last night, he came downstairs in tears. He could not sleep-he was anxious. It seems that in music class that day, everyone that had bought a new recorder was rewarded with a "yellow string". I have no idea what this yellow string is...what you do with it...or what it symbolizes. All I know, is that Sammy was extremely upset because he did not get one-and everyone else did. He thought that he was missing something, that he was caught unawares-left out of some important social ritual he did not understand. I told him that I would give him money to buy a recorder. He looked at me and said "You don't mind that I won't ever practice?" I said "Not at all." Relieved, he gave me a hug and went back up to bed. I on the other hand, spent the rest of the night silently cursing his music teacher.
Today, after school, Sammy told me that his music teacher had said that they could "goof off" all they wanted to at home with their recorders. "Joy of music"-indeed! (grumble grumble) That's o.k....I noticed that Sammy had finally shed his snow pants. Tonight, I will tuck them safely away in the attic...right next to where I am hiding his recorder. Spring is finally here.