Angela Amman

The changing nature of coloring eggs

coloring eggs with kidsWe colored eggs for the first time on Abbey’s second Easter. On her first, she was barely able to flip from her back to her stomach, and we dressed her in a cuddly bunny onesie and cozy white pants.

For this milestone, this coloring of eggs, I dragged her little picnic table into our littler kitchen and spread brown paper bags underneath its legs. Each color dye filled a clear cup, the best way to see the eggs seeping into candy shades, and the most uniform way to photograph her first egg-dipping experience.

I stripped her to a white onesie, chubby legs bare, in an attempt to save her clothes from permanent stains.

I didn’t know then that very few things are permanent.

This year, during our coloring of the eggs, Dylan wore a Frozen t-shirt adorned with a smiling reindeer, and Abbey wore a rhinestone studded camouflage t-shirt she got as a favor from a friend’s birthday party. My dye cups didn’t match: lowball cups we registered for at our wedding and daisy-encrusted juice cups I finagled from my Grandma Rose’s house.

My dad remembers drinking out of them at their first home in Detroit, before they moved to the only house I ever knew to be my grandmother’s. She’s gone now, and I don’t remember drinking from the flowered cups at her dining room table, but I think of her each time we use them anyway.

We lost Ryan’s grandma last week, a woman who hugged me like she knew and loved me the very first time we met. She hugged me that same way each time I saw her, and we don’t always realize how important a hug can be until we know we won’t feel that exact grip again.

I hadn’t seen her since Christmas; the days and weeks slid into months, and a quarter of the year is already gone.

This year, the kids and I dyed eggs in the overcast light of a cold, spring day, and I didn’t worry about protecting our floor or our counters or their clothes from stains. They’re quick now, using fingers and spoons and wiping both on paper towels so the colors don’t bleed too much on the eggs, though all six of our hands were stained by the time we finished.

The color faded within a few hand washings.

Very little is permanent, and I’m beginning to wish for another chance to stain clothes, to breathe in their hair on this exact day, because tomorrow they might smell just a smidge older. I hug them tightly when I kiss them goodnight, three, four, eleven times, so grateful for the giggly grips of their hugs and the imagined hints of pink and green staining their nails.

Walking on Stilts

Stoney Creek schoolhouse Walking on stilts takes practice.

I know this not because I attempted to walk on stilts during Abbey’s field trip, but because I helped a handful of kids try the tricksy game during their recess time before lunch.

The first time I helped Abbey, it was a struggle for both of us. Her little legs splayed into almost a split, which she found hilarious but completely ineffective for moving across the lawn. My arm muscles struggled to keep her steady.

Later, she tried again, better understanding how to lift and move and go forward a little at a time. We crossed the lawn together, until the satisfying clunk of stilts hitting the concrete sidewalk signaled we’d reached our destination.

She doesn’t always like practicing, trying the things that are hard, the things that take persistence instead of quick thinking or dreamy, roundabout ways to a solution. I understand, more than she knows, because I feel that impatient nagging when I’m faced with a solution that doesn’t come easily, quickly, or neatly.

It is, of course, a trait I wish I wouldn’t have passed along. I see those so quickly, the things she mirrors back to me that I wish I could change about myself, the way my eyes instantly land on the furrowed lines at my brow in this photo. I get stuck sometimes, wishing I could smooth those lines instead of focusing on our smiles, the ones that mean I got to experience something with my girl that she planned and anticipated and looked forward to for months.

I let myself be a little grateful I can relate to the impatience, the occasional reluctance to push through the complicated things. When I tell her, “I understand it’s hard,” I mean it — not the stilts themselves, but the obstacles.

I see her searching my eyes for one of those parenting falsehoods she’s slowly piecing together — fairies and magic and the reality of an Easter bunny hiding LEGO pieces inside plastic eggs.

I hold her gaze, and I see the moment when she knows I mean it. She sets her jaw and grips the stilts tighter, knuckles clenched around wood. Guiding her across the lawn, my arms so much less integral to her second attempt at the stilts, I vow to do a better job setting my own jaw and making my way across lawns that loom large in front of me.

Holding pattern

Dance studio wallDylan looks at this wall several days each week.

He gets impatient when we wait at the dance studio for too long. Most days, we drop off Abbey and run some sort of errand or go home for a little while before picking her up again. He was a baby when she started dancing — another studio, another house, another town — and I would change him into pajamas before class, rocking or nursing him for the hour she danced.

She’s at the studio longer now, and if she had her way she’d be there longer still, stretching classes into chatting time with friends and wishing she could take just a couple more classes.

He took this photo on one of the days she’s only there for thirty minutes, a time frame that doesn’t even lend itself to the quickest errand. He hadn’t brought a book, like I’d asked or a toy, as he sometimes does.

He and his LEGO mini fig simply had to wait.

Daylight Saving Time makes me feel a little like that. Of course, we don’t have a break from work, deadlines, homework, or extracurriculars, but I find myself looking at the clock more.

Days when I was home alone with the kids, there were times I counted down until their bedtimes, but I generally don’t calculate the time until mine. DST changes all that. I’m tired when I’m normally alert, and all the coffee in the world doesn’t seem to make a dent in it. Working out helps, but I’m expending a lot of energy just making it through the day and getting us where we need to be on time.

My eyelids feel heavy and scratchy already, at a time when I normally find a second — or third, if I’m being honest — wind. Yesterday it happened even earlier, so I know my body is adjusting, readying itself for the real entry into spring.

I’ve had blog posts planned for at least three days, and I can’t put together the thoughts in a way that I’m ready to publish. My WIP sits in fractured scenes, waiting for the gossamer threads of editing to weave them together in a pleasing way.

For now, I wait.

The faint sounds of the washing machine remind me to stay awake just a while longer, and I hope to break out of this holding pattern soon.

How do you deal with Daylight Saving Time?

The second snow day and rainbow pancakes

cooking with kids

very serious pancake designing

I wrapped my arms around our first snow day like a warm cup of coffee. My eyes might have been a little dazzled by the sun, because our second one — hey there, March in Michigan — was more like a comedy of errors.

From a lot of “Watch this!” and “Can we watch another show?” and, of course, “But when will it be lunch time?” we bumbled through their day off with a lot of stops and starts. I listened to enough of the kids’ favorite songs to know some of them definitely need to be played with an explicit lyrics filter, and I wondered if the pressure in my head was my Mucinex wearing off or the echo of one of their arguments.

Ryan texted that he wouldn’t be home for dinner, so I pulled out my simplest dinner recipe — pancakes. Inspired by an earlier Facebook post from a friend, I separated the batter into cups and colored the batter. Of course, my food coloring stash was nowhere to be found. Undeterred by that wrinkle — or nutrition, apparently — I liberally added powdered Kool-Aid normally reserved for play doh making.

Thrilled kids at the end of the day means a win, right?

Oh, and I wrote this, in case you’re curious about how I got my actual work done yesterday.

10 stages of a snow day for a work-at-home mom

snow day entertainment

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