penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

Winter winners

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Our family has been watching the Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympic games with quite a bit of interest. Often the games are filled with images of beauty, and athletes performing super human acts. On the other hand, I’m not quite sure what lessons the kids are learning from watching snow boarders do their tricks with broken ribs, or bob sleds flipping over, or sledge hockey players duking it out. W

Watching the Olympics made me think of the heroic feats of strength and utter defeat that parents live every day as they just go about their regular activities – with the added extra challenge of a seemingly endless winter thrown in. A lot of blood, sweat and yes, tears go into the events of the mundane day.

Here are a few that I know I’ve competed in regularly each snowy season (and planning a few more with the latest snow storm forecasted):

– Snow suit, hat, mitts, scarf and boots wrestling. You win if you can do it under 30 seconds so you don’t miss the bus that came five minutes early. You are allowed to bodily lift the child and hang them upside down in order to stuff them in.
– Find the baby’s favourite transparent pacifier/binky that they have thrown in ten feet of snow (you know, the one they can’t sleep without). You have five minutes so that you can drive to work for that meeting you are already late for.
– Find the matching mittens. (Hint: They are all black. But left handed.)
– Relay to find a pair of mittens to buy in a shopping mall any time after January 1st. Because your child has already lost ten pairs. And the stores have moved on to selling…bathing suits.
– The 2 km 30 kg drag the child on a sled to school. Extra points if there is a snow storm. Or a bus strike. Or your child lies down and puts both his arms out to slow you down.
– Alternative event – the 50 m 30 kg drag the kid who won’t walk up the toboggan hill. Eight or nine times.
– Team event – Tying up an entire grade school classes’ pairs of skates. Because you were the only parent volunteer to show up. Extra points if you don’t have two right skates on the last child.
– Timed event – Wake up at 2 am to flood the back yard rink event (you know – the one that seemed like a good idea the week before the cold snap).
– Five second sprint to the car in slippers with no jacket. In minus forty degree weather. So you can heat up the car before you drive your little darlings so don’t have to walk to school.
– Gold medal round – you have to scrape the ice off the windows both outside AND inside the car.
– Climb the mountain of laundry and boots created by children playing in icy puddles all day.
– The ten foot snow throw – where you try to find a spot to put all the snow on top of the bank. You win if you don’t have a heart attack or a hernia by the end of the winter.
– The finger freeze-off – trying to blow bubbles in minus forty degree weather. Because you had seen some other Type-A parent do it for their kids on Pinterest.

Any way you slice it, winter in this northern country is a marathon, not a sprint. If, at the end, neither parents nor children have succumbed to the cold and the cabin fever you come out a gold medal winner – and the prize is spring.


Written by pennyinacastle

March 12, 2014 at 3:45 am

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