When the call came Sunday afternoon -- the one telling us that schools would be closed Monday because of Hurricane Sandy -- I have to admit that my first thought was: "Uh oh." My second one was, "Why did I only buy one bottle of wine at the grocery store?"
My boys, ages 11 and 9, were already a bit stir crazy from spending the whole day inside. These are not boys who are content with a long book, a time-consuming craft or even a day in front of the television or computer. They like to move and run.
My husband had to go to work Monday, which meant I'd be home with the kids and a day of bad weather (and, I wrongly assumed at that point, no power). As much as I love time with my boys, I was a little worried about our sanity.
Sure enough, early Monday morning my younger son Sammy announced to me, "I'm active." That translates to, "I have more energy than I know what to do with."
For some reason, a thought popped into my head. "Tommy," I said to my older boy, "I have a job for you. Today, you are Sammy's PE teacher. The more you tire him out, the better job you did." As an aside, I whispered to him that teachers who do really good jobs might get slight raises on their allowance.
And so "Coach Johnson" was born.
Tommy divided the day into blocks. First block was stretches and warmups, including lifting the light barbells I keep by our exercise bike. Second block was push-ups, sit-ups and planks. Third block was jogging in place. And fourth block was an indoor football game that the boys invented to play in our guest room, which has nothing breakable in it. They came down in the middle of it all to ask if I could open the cafeteria, i.e. make them lunch.
It worked out so well. They both got sweaty, and they used up a good chunk of the day entertaining each other. Tommy got to be in charge, which made him less likely to pick a fight with Sammy. Sammy was so happy that Tommy was being nice to him that he didn't mind taking a few orders. And I had time to do a little work, with a funny soundtrack of crashes coming from upstairs.
Coach Johnson will be appearing again on future bad weather days, that's for sure.