Fluffy, new-fallen snow. The sounds of neighborhood children laughing and sledding. My wife and I gazing out the window at it all… and calling 911. That’s right, we called the cops on kids sledding. Yeah, we’re hard core. OK, fine, she was the one to call the cops. I’m really not that tough at all.
I gotta say though, there is a real lack of good parenting in the world. What we witnessed was a loud, obnoxious group of close to 15 kids, all of them probably between the ages of eight and 12, using our street as a sledding hill… at 10:30 at night! What?! Where do I begin?
We live in a major city in the urban core. Very real dangers to these children included vehicular traffic, crime on the street, and, let’s face it, lack of sleep (I wouldn’t want to be around my kids the next day if they’d been up sledding all night). Definite annoyances to other neighborhood residents included enough whooping and hollering to keep everyone awake and potential damage to our street-parked vehicles (it seems that slamming into our car was how the kids knew they had reached the bottom of the hill). Surely, these kids all have parents, and just as surely, none of these parents was anywhere to be found while their children engaged in such reckless behavior. I’m at a complete loss here.
The next morning, Bear, Bean and I went out to survey the damage. Boot prints and tumbling body prints all over the snow in everyone’s yards… cheap plastic sleds splintered and scattered everywhere… a crime scene as grisly as they come. We would not let it get us down, though. No. We had come to do some sledding of our own. On our own property. At a reasonable hour. With minimal audible disturbances to the neighborhood. That’s just how we roll. Granted, we have no sled of our own and were forced to used sled shards left in yard by the neighborhood hooligans, but what can you do?
After the obligatory search for winter gear and donning of said winter gear, a process best documented here, we made our way out into the season’s first snowfall. At this point, the love/hate toddler relationship between themselves and their winter gear begins. With Bean, you may recall last year’s struggle with her boots. This year, she’s got limited issues with boots. It’s the mittens that we just can’t seem to come to terms with. In Bean’s head, it goes something like this:
Getting ready inside house: Hey, he’s trying to restrain my hands! Nice try, Dad. I shall throw these worthless shackles back at your face. Hah! I see you trembling at the sheer force of my will!
Outside the house: Dang! It’s cold out here! I demand that you return my hands to those mittens immediately! What kind of father sends their kid out with bare hands into this weather? Remind me to call social services when we get back in.
Trying to pick up object: What the?! Individual finger movements severely impaired! Completely unable to grasp handle of toddler-sized shovel! Abort use of mittens! Abort!
Trying to pick up snow: DEAR GOD, THAT IS COLD!! Dad! Get over here NOW and put those mittens back on me! How many times do I have to tell you?!
And on and on it goes. I found this post on toddler mitten use that really sums the whole thing up very well.
Despite the struggles, we all managed to have a great time sledding down the modest little hill in our front yard. Nobody got hurt. Nobody sledded out into the street (except for that one time… I’m really working on brake control). All in all, a great introduction to the long winter that is sure to come.