We got 30 centimetres (about 12 inches) of snow on the first Friday of Winterlude (February 1st) and I, for one, was glad to see it. I firmly believe that if it is going to be winter, it might as well be cold and snowy. I’m tired of hearing the people on the radio and tv talk about how great it will be if the temperatures rise above freezing. I
sometimes often have to explain to them that we need freezing conditions for the Rideau Canal to be a skateway and to slide down the hills in the Snowflake Kingdom at Jacques Cartier Park. Reid doesn’t really understand why I talk to the radio but that is a story for another day.
On Saturday, February 2nd, Reid and I went out for breakfast and then drove the Museum of Civilization to park. Now maybe they don’t intend for me to use my membership card to get a parking discount when I’m walking through on my way elsewhere but I have paid the membership fee and I am cheap and so I do. I was especially glad that I did on Sunday because we came upon some men setting up a doglsed with some beautiful huskies waiting impatiently to get into the harnesses. The Canadian Postal Museum was running a special activity. I remain impressed by the programming at the Postal Museum. Reid and I waited while they got the dogs into their harnesses and then they went around in a loop. Those poor dogs wanted to run like the wind, not just in a loop but they took what they were offered for the benefit of the bystanders.
Reid declared herself too tired to walk as soon as I set her sled on the ground. Since I haven’t pulled her anywhere yet this winter, I didn’t mind. We got to the Snowflake Kingdom, sponsored by Sun Life, about 9:30 and headed straight for the small, family ice slides. After a couple of trips down and a chance to sit in the giant, yellow Muskoka chair, we headed off in search of the inner tubes and the snow hill. We soon came upon crowds of bigger kids climbing a bigger hill and we joined the queue. As we got to the head of the line, though, it became apparent that we were at the big ice slides. Fortunately for us there were still family slides, as well as the individual ones, and we went down. Reid was wondering where the inner tubes were and why I led her astray. I didn’t spend too much time explaining that I had followed the crowd – it isn’t the sort of thing one likes to admit to her daughter.
On the hunt for inner tubes once again, we found a maze made of blocks of snow. Well, calling it a maze is somewhat flattering since there were few “wrong” turns and the number of people going through created more of a snow conga line than a maze. Reid enjoyed it though and maybe we’ll tackle the corn field mazes at Saunder’s Farm this summer or fall, but only if Ken or someone else is with us since my sense of direction is weak enough when I have an unobstructed view. Next to the snow maze were the food huts and Reid was, of course, hungry. We ate surprisingly good hotdogs and shared a bottle of water as we walked through the Village of Days Gone By. Reid was interested in the woman who was telling us about the water drum she had brought with her, as well as the miniature long house, cradle board and mortar and pestle for grinding corn. I was impressed with the various kinds of fur and skins in the tipi and being worn by those portraying Native Canadians about 1500.
We finally made it to the inner tube slide – you were wondering if we ever would, I bet – and joined the proper line. The line was longer than the others we had stood in but moved much more quickly, too. At the front, we could see that there were 5 or 6 lanes for sliding down and there were figure 8 tubes that fit the two of us comfortably with room to spare. The trip down was smoother than on the ice slides, thanks to both the tubes and the packed snow. I enjoyed it also for not having to worry about smacking my head since I hadn’t brought our helmets. Once at the bottom I got out to pull the sled back to the top but Reid took advantage of her small size and cuteness to cadge a ride on the up hill trip. I’m pretty sure that it was easier to pull her than to help her climb the slope. I insisted on a trip to the portable toilets before we rejoined the line. What a trial! Reid wears overall-style snow pants and so I had to strip off her coat and snow pants before I could get to her jeans and the rest. It required me to be a bit of contortionist in the small space and once the fact that the portable toilets were angled forward was added in, I was laughing as I put Reid back together. Reid tried to snuggle into her sled as we waited in line, not easy in the molded, purple plastic model that we own, but I don’t think she was seriously trying to sleep.
We saw L. from daycare while in line the second time and then when they headed back toward the ice slides, we went that way, too. Okay, maybe we stalked them but who’s to know. Reid went down a mini ice slide all by herself a couple of times and then we saw a dragon dancing – one of those that you see at lunar new year celebrations – and so we watched it for a while. When we lost track of L. and her family, we decided on a second hotdog and one more slide down the inner tube track. Reid ate her ‘dog while we stood in line but by the time we had got past the barrier that kept us to a single file, she had fallen asleep. Not snuggled onto her side asleep but head lolled back at an uncomfortable angle with a hotdog drooping from her mittened hands. A few people pointed out that Reid was asleep, mostly with an indulgent smile, but I couldn’t get out of line until we made it to the front. I tried to rouse Reid to ask if she wanted to go down the slide but she said that she wanted to sleep and then closed her eyes again. A woman who had bypassed us as I got Reid more comfortably situated was grumpy when I asked to go in front of her to get to the exit but let us pass and we were on our way back to the car. I was able to pull her most of the way but I had to have Reid walk through the museum on the way to the car. How sad a tired-wishing-she-was-asleep child is when forced to walk.
By the time I got Reid out of her outdoor clothes – she can’t wear them in her car seat, it’s not safe – Reid was starting to rouse. I shushed her a bit and then was quiet, thinking that she would go back to sleep. Wrong! Reid had lots of information to share with Ken when we got home but no interest in completing her nap.
I posted some pictures of our day at the Snowflake Kingdom awhile ago.
On Sunday, Ken, Reid and I headed out to the Rideau Canal Skateway to try out Reid’s Wee Play Early Skater Learning Aid – a sort of triangular steel frame that helps her to stand up unassisted. By the time we got our skates on, sitting on the bench on the ice, my feet were cold. Reid took about 6 steps with her skating frame before she sweet-talked Ken into carrying her. We talked her into trying again and Reid got some skating in before we headed over to buy a Beavertail and some taffy on snow. I managed to not fall until I was nearly to the front of the line for my Beavertail and then not again. I was pretty proud of myself – not that Reid and Ken haven’t seen me fall while skating before.
I posted some pictures of our skating excursion a couple of weeks ago.