Today is that sort of cold that makes you wonder if we're really supposed to be living on the planet. I'm fairly certain I heard the mailman muttering something about "not signing up for this crap" as he dropped my very important 56th Kohl's coupon of the week into the mailbox. It's only Wednesday. It snowed over the weekend, yet there's only one set of tracks through the snow in the backyard. They lead directly to the shed where the shovel is kept. Know why? Because I've finally embraced the fact that WE ARE NOT WINTER PEOPLE. Hell, I scraped snow off my car with a flip flop for the first 3 years I lived in Vermont. I've tried. Lord knows I've tried. Her first Christmas, my daughter's big gift was a beautiful heirloom wooden sled. "It will be great", I said. "We'll be outside all the time!', I said.
Do not be fooled by the joyous looks on their faces. Only moments later it all went completely to crap and I had to make him get out and walk because he was too damn heavy and she wailed because the snowflakes had the audacity to continue to fall on her face after the novelty had worn off.
I think in the three years we've had it, we've used it annually. As in three times. Total. Mostly because going outside in winter is like this: "Hey guys! Let's go play in the snow! Doesn't it look so beautiful out there? Come on! Get dressed!' Bear in mind I am 100% FAKING ENTHUSIASM. Every muscle in my body is tensed with the thought of having to go out there hating everything about life the entire time. "Ugh, do we have to?" "YES! IT WILL BE AWESOME NOW GO FIND EVERY ARTICLE OF CLOTHING YOU OWN." Over the course of the next 25 minutes we locate boots (at least one kid's are too small), three pairs of dollar store stretchy gloves that are basically useless after October 15th, a single mitten of a pair that are warm enough but somehow last winter managed to start smelling like feet no matter how many times they were washed, and four hats (only two of which actually cover ears sufficiently). The snow pant situation is under control, thankfully.
Still in the basement digging around for things to keep myself warm, upstairs it's apparent that either a roving band of rabid raccoons has staged a Braveheart style battle in our living room, or my nine year old is frustrated putting on some god forsaken piece of gear. I march up to help/yell. "Dude! Put the pants on FIRST. Boots SECOND. Seriously." Help me. This sucks already. I cram the toddler into 2 pair of wooly socks, a set of long underwear and a sweater before she tells me she has to "take a dump". "Ughhhh! MOM! I'M GETTING HOT." "Then go outside. We'll meet you. I don't control the girl's bowels." Shoving him out the door, I then shuffle her into the bathroom and wiggle her out of the sweater and saying a silent "don't let a turd roll out" prayer, slide the long underwear down. We're in good shape as she sits down and I wait. And wait. She sings a mash up of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" "Tomorrow" from Annie and Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball". She asks me to paint her toenails while she finishes. I decline. "Come on, girl! Your brother is waiting for us. Let's wrap this show up." "Ok. I'm done." Business taken care of, I get her dressed all the way except for the mittens.
On the list of "Things I'm going to miss about having a toddler", finding rotting bananas in the tupperware drawer and being woken up by a cranium to the face courtesy of a fitful sleeper would be higher than applying hand coverings to what are essentially whining wet noodles. "Work with me. Do this." I hold my hand up, four fingers extended straight and pressed together with my thumb as far away from them as physically possible. She tries and as soon as the fleece encompasses her hand, it goes limp. Thumb nowhere near where it's supposed to be. "No. Try again. This." Repeat. "My fumb, mama?" "Yes.Your thumb.
In the hole." Five minutes and two dozen tries later, I'm sweating like a wildebeest in my down coat, which I've watched enough Survivor Man to know means CERTAIN DEATH BY HYPOTHERMIA and the fun is ONLY JUST BEGINNING. I open the door to head out and almost slam it right into my son who is huddled in a ball on the steps like a vagabond, and clearly has been since I kicked him out. "I want to go inside now. Please." "Come ON! We just got out here! Let's build a snowman!" My inner monologue is peppered with expletives. I march out into the yard making fresh tracks. The toddler's eyes have begun to water and a single tear spills out and runs down her right cheek. She stands in one spot refusing to move.
"Fine. I'll come to you. Help me shape the snow into a ball." Very slowly she reaches down to scoop up some snow. "OH NO! IT'S IN MY GLUB! MY HAND IS COLD! IT HUWHTS!" My son has ascended to the top step inching his way to the warmth of the inside when he thinks I'm not looking. I've been outside all of four minutes. Next time, instead of going outside, we'll just build a ship in a bottle and then back over it with the car.