Thursday, December 31, 2009

Winter Kids

As a Grandmother, I watch the kids of today as the entertain themselves. It's so much different from what we did as children, and even from what my own children did when they were young. However, there are some things that don't seem to change very much. It's winter-time fun.

When the snows come, most kids want to be outside to play in the fluffy, cold, wet stuff. They stand with heads back and eyes gazing upward, with their tongues out, attempting to catch the snowflakes on their tonge. They might try to catch a few snowflakes in their mitten-clad hands, in order to compare the shapes, becasue they've heard that no two snowflakes are the same. It's a futile chore, as snowflakes rarely can be compared by the naked eye, and most don't last long enough to compare at all.

There seems to be a universal trait among children in a freshly fallen snow. They love to mar as much of the virgin snow as possible by leaving footprints in it. They will walk miles in a yard, marching in circles or zig-zagging narrow paths around the trees and taller bushes. The shorter
plant life, which lies dormant beneath the snow, will likely be tromped upon, but will emerge in Spring as lively as it was before it began its long-winter nap. Kids don't map their route, they just make it with little thought.

Whenever there is a snowfall, kids build snowmen. It doesn't matter how little or how much accumulation there is, children will attempt to form one snowball after the other to be stacked into a snowperson. Of course, the more snow, the better. This will allow a vast array of architecture to be formed . Each child will have his or her own idea of a snow fort, igloo, or walled structure. It's fun to watch them create.

There is the fun, too, of lying on your back, and flapping your arms up and down to form snow angels. Collecting buckets of clean snow with which to make home made ice cream or just to eat with flavored syrup is a favorite activity too. Friendly snowball fights with neighbors and friends and the bringing in of a snowball to store in the deep freeze are things that kids have been known to do. But, their favorite snow activity would be sledding.

Bundled in so many thick layers of clothing that they can barely board their sleds, they waddle to the plastic saucer or their long toboggan, and climb aboard. Down the hill they race, with the cold wind biting their cheeks and bits of ice flying toward their faces. The have little control over their vehicles, but it usually doesn't matter. The ride the hill until the sled stops, or the toss themselves off when they are ready. Then comes the trudging to the summit. It's a bit harder than it was to descend. Often the snow is slippery, and it's a lot of work to climb back to the top.

Thinking back to my own kids, I remember dressing them to go outside to play in the snow. Snowsuits, warm socks, boots, hats, mittens and scarves. Just as the fifth one would get out the door, one of the others would need to come in to use the bathroom. Undress, do the deed, redress, repeat with child # 2, 3, 4 and then 5. By this time, someone was ready to come inside and warm up.

I miss the snow. Here in SC we might see one day of snow per winter, but not yet, this year. The children here get as excited to see the snowfall as we did as children. I watch the three girls across the street, former Floridians, who had never seen snow until the winter of 2006. They were out the door as soon as the ground had a covering of it, no more than a light frosting. They formed tiny snowballs and began to toss them at each other. The laughter was loud, the squealing delightful. I just smiled, knowing that kids haven't really changed much, generation after generation, at least not when it comes to snow.