Monday, February 17, 2014

Snow Day

It's a familiar story in our house, but one that I can't allow myself ever to take for granted.  So I'm blogging it.  Yesterday as the soft snow gently fell, articulated crystals bobbing on light gusts, settling like a cotton cloud on my goddamned driveway for the elebenty zillionth effing (you're welcome) time this winter...Emma offered to take Lily outside, just the two of them, to play in the snow.

And that was fantastic.  Lily has been stir-crazy the last couple weeks, stuck inside because it's impossible to keep her hat and/or mittens on her, and it's been too cold to let her go without.  Emma too was stir-crazy, but because she hates being "bored".  And we were both too busy playing catch up on laundry and cleaning, the result of a busy Saturday away from the house to indulge either of them with sledding.

The problem was and is, how to get Lily's gloves on and keep them on, how to get Lily's hat on and keep it on.  Lily's fingers go limp when you try to put gloves on her, and it's extremly difficult to squish them into mittens to say nothing of gloves.  Leslie tried as Lily squirmed and fought.  She succeeded in getting the first mitten on and was working on the second when Lily grabbed the first mitten in her teeth and off it came.  And so on.

BUT...Eventually she was dressed and ready.  We walked to the door to watch as she prepared to descend the steps.  There was no sign of Emma yet; she'd gone to the garage to get the sled.  I started feeling uncomfortable.  Lily investigated the porch tentatively. 

"Your sister is out here waiting!"
"Are you comfortable with this?  I'm not comfortable with this," I grumbled, anxious, in an aside to Leslie.  I started getting my boots on.

Emma joined her sister on the sidewalk looking down the short hill into the cul-de-sac.  She hopped on the sled, beckoning Lily to join her.

"Emma's turn!" she replied.
"You want me to go first?" Emma asked.
"Yeah!  First Emma, then Lily's turn," Lily answered.

Emma lifted her boots from the snow, putting them inside the sled and it slid forward, gathering speed as it compacted the snow in front of it.  A few seconds later, Emma was standing, brushing the snow from the sled and her snow pants, lifting the rope that was fixed to the prow, and dragging it around the  mailbox, up the driveway and back.  Lily's hat was off and I knocked on the door to get Emma's attention, telling her to fix it.  Emma did...but not well.  She positioned the sled again, sat again, and again beckoned Lily. 

Lily fought her.  Emma stayed patient.  She coaxed.  She cajoled.  She never lost patience and left her sister behind.  Just kept trying.  The hat was off, but tied so that it was still attached.  And then Lily sat in the front of the sled.  Emma muscled her around so that she was sitting snugly in front of her.  She picked Lily's boots up and placed them in the sled and then asked Lily if she was ready to go.  I didn't bother asking Emma to fix the hat again.  Just stood inside the house watching the kids enjoying each other.

"One..." she started.
"Two..." Lily continued.
"Three!" Emma finished, picking up her boots once more as the sled inched forward.  The two girls sledded to the bottom of the hill, the sled skimming the packed snow more smoothly now.  Emma braked hard with her boots in the snow to slow the sled and stop them just before the street.

Halfway up the hill Lily's mittens were off.  I finished getting dressed and joined the pair outside while Leslie and Dobby, the new kitten, watched from the house.  There was more fighting.  The hat was off again and I secured it to her head once more before eventually giving up and just pulling her hood over her head.

I let Emma get Lily back on the sled while I shot video.  I gave up, shutting the camera off and deleting 30 seconds of Emma coaxing before starting it up again when Lily sat down.

"One...two...three..." and down they came again.

Lily had fun.  Emma tried to pull her up the driveway, slipped, then tried again.  I walked through the snow to help her.

"I can do it," she said.  She slipped again though, and I took the rope from her and pulled Lily up the hill.  This time I brought her to the top of the hill again.  She made no move to get off the sled.

"You ready?" I asked.
"Get out of here, daddy," she replied.  Good enough for me.  I pulled the rope and started the sled moving.  I ran down the hill beside her, keeping pace in case I needed to rescue her.  But I didn't.  She was having fun.

This time Emma took her back up the hill.

"I know what I did wrong," she said, keeping her boots on the dry bit of driveway that had been shoveled and salted and off the iced tire tracks from the weekend's use prior to shoveling.

A few more mitten maintenance visits, and I was ready to call the adventure to a successful conclusion.

"One more time," I told Lily.  And she climbed aboard agreeably with Emma behind her.  Though when Emma had pulled her back up the hill she countered.

"One more."

I smiled, nodded my head and said, "Okay, Lily, one more."

And down they went.


After the sledding was over, Leslie was telling her sister about it over the phone.  She mentioned what a pain the mittens were and I chimed in, "I have an idea about that."

When she got off the phone I suggested this...

It's not a new idea or anything.  It's just a twist on running apparel, which comes with a hole in the sleeve to allow you to put your thumb through it so that when you pull on gloves, the sleeve stays with the glove.  At least that's the way most people wear it, but in this case I'm suggesting you do it the other way...put the glove on first, then put the sleeve over the thumb. 

It might require a little sewing if you can't find sweatshirts in your kid's size that have the thumbhole "feature" in them.  Because I think if you just cut a hole it would rip, but here it is, essentially:

The funny thing was, after I suggested it, Leslie said, "Her sweatshirt has that thumbhole aready in it."

Next time.


  1. Genius. The running shirt thing. Thanks for the story too.

  2. Love the story! Your girls are marvelous. My son also throws snowballs at me when I'm standing inside... Last time, I snuck out and got him back. Cause I am that mom... :)

  3. That's so cute! I'm loving all the snow stories, it seems so weird and magical to me but I bet you're super sick of it all by now. You have a great throwing arm by the way.

  4. Very cute story! Love how Emma evaluated how to get up the hill without slipping. The videos are awesome!