My kids had a couple of days out of school. They happily played with my sitter and neighborhood kids - sledding down our ideal vertical driveway and front yard, making snowmen, and brewing hot cocoa. A nice extended Christmas vacation. By the time I was off Wednesday, school was back in session, and I was glad because there was much on my schedule to get done. By the time I had carpooled kids to school, finished cling-on cases at the main hospital and a GI clinic, taken Cecelia (7) to her initial 2.5 hour orthodontist appointment (those guys are expensive! And clinics get to take snow days - they were backed up and we had a long wait), shuttled her back to school, grocery shopped, and headed back to the school for afternoon carpool - Cecelia to dance and Jack (5) to haircut - I was wishing I was back behind my scope. I'm telling you - this SAHM business can be as hectic as the craziest needle days on cytology.
Anyway, during afternoon carpool Jack loaded up first and we waited for Cecelia to get out of study hall. He bounded in excitedly, chattering on about his day, luxuriating in the novelty of having me do afternoon carpool. He was showing me all of his work in his folder, moving around the backseat like a spider monkey. Suddenly, he scooted up into the console between the two front seats and leaned toward me, conspiratorially.
He whispered, "Mom, I sneaked something. Want me to show you?"
I looked over at him, a little alarmed. "What did you sneak, Jack?" He hitched up his foot, exposing his ankle between his pants and sneakers. I didn't see anything, so I guessed, "Was it candy? Or a toy?"
He shook his head and smiled his wide grin - the one that always reminds me of an angelic devil. Still whispering he said, voice filled with pride and searching for approval all at the same time, as he peeled back one white cropped sneaker sock to expose another identical one, "No mom, look. It's double socks. I did it this morning. Isn't that sneaky?"
Even though I wanted to double over with laughter, I realized that was not what this moment called for. That is part of our mommy magic - to be able to suppress our mirth and take our kids seriously. "Wow, Jack. That is really cool. Did you think of that all by yourself? To protect your feet from the cold weather?" He looked at me an nodded sagely, pleased that I understood. "Uh huh! Exactly." He shrugged nonchalantly. "It worked."
I told him he was pretty smart, I never would have though of that. Truth be told, I am kind of impressed by this five-year-old's ability to sense the weather and what is needed. A little while back, I searched for weeks for Jack's fireman raincoat. This is one of the side effects of divorce that you don't really think about until it happens - stuff gets lost all the time in the shuffle back and forth between houses. You think your dryer is a black hole? Try your ex's house. Not to be judgmental - it goes both ways, but although he has strengths that I don't, I am certainly more organized. One evening, when my ex took the kids for dinner, Jack appeared at my door afterwards in the raincoat. I exclaimed, "Oh! Did Daddy find your raincoat?" He said, "No, mom. We were walking to dinner and I knew it was going to rain, so I went to Daddy's car and found it." Sure enough, five minutes later they were drenched in a downpour, and when they got home I peeled them out of their wet clothes, Jack's a little more protected than Cecelia's, and got them each in a warm tub.
The double socks continued throughout the week with as much stealth as day one. We were trudging through the yard down to the car every day - it became more slippery as the week wore on, and the driveway ice didn't clear until the weekend. On Friday, my sitter came early to get the kids to school so I could catch a plane to Atlanta for some much needed brother, sister, nephews, and brother-in-law time. I was amused to see this cosmopolitan city in more dire straits than us - they were just emerging on Friday from a week long slumber and ice continued to cause wrecks (not funny) throughout the weekend as cars were getting back on the roads. Before I left for the airport, I was giving my sitter instructions for Jack's show and tell and Cecelia's lunch. I told her the story about the double socks - it had been cracking me up all week. Sure enough, she texted me later that she caught him sneaking his double socks. I'll bet it won't be so funny in a few years when he is sneaking girls and alcohol. I'll be longing for these double sock days.