Friday, February 22, 2008

Snow Emergency? No Problem! Use a Sled

There was a dinner party tonight at my mother's house in Cambridge where she has no driveway and we are about halfway through ten inches of snow. It's about a fifteen minute walk from my house in Somerville. My original thought was to put Kaylee in a sling, even though she's a little big for that and have Eric hike with us.

But Rich had a better idea. He got our biggest sled out, attached solid ropes to the holes in the front. We packed the kids into their full LL Beane winter regalia, bib snowpants, boots and winter coats. Hats, gloves an piled them into the sled. Rich ran all the way there, pulling the sled with me puffing and huffing afterwards. Kaylee sat in front of Eric and they were laughing and smiling the whole way there.

The party was for a friend of my cousin (the one that's in Iraq). He and his wife have been living in Providence, Rhode Island and he's officially finished with the Navy next week. They're going traveling to Barcelona and Paris and then they're moving to LA so he can go to film school. We got to know him pretty well when he and my cousin were roommates and we were sorry to see them go.

So, my mom made a total feast. We were supposed to bring dessert. My nanny who loves to cook and bake had made cupcakes for us to bring, but they didn't make it through the snowy afternoon. Not sure what happened there! But where there had been 12 cupcakes, there were only five, hardly enough to bring to a dinner party, right? So, I brought some vanilla ice cream and made fudge sauce from a recipe that I invented.

Dinner was lovely, but we didn't get out of there until nearly 8 and the kids were fried. The sledding trip home was not so idyllic. It was the opposite of idyllic. It was a freaking nightmare. By the time we hit Mass Ave, two blocks from my parent's house, Eric refused to sit frontwards in sled. He was lying on his back with his legs on either side and Kaylee in the middle. She did NOT like having his boots in her space and got hysterical. So, I implemented plan B and put her in the sling as we huffed and sweated our way up Wendell Street. Kaylee screaming bloody murder all the way. "Cock! Cock! (which can either mean sock or walk, int this case, it meant 'walk'). But it was freezing and snowing and there's no way anybody had the patience to "cock" back to Somerville in twentytwo month old gear. And she was SCREAMING "Daddy, I wanDaddy!" So, Rich let her walk about a block, then he picked her up like a duffel bag with no handles and I took the sled and we hustled the last few blocks to our house, Kaylee screaming all the way, Eric lying in the sled pretending to sleep.

I have to say, it was worth it for the trip to my mom's house. That was a perfect moment. Really.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Shhh... Don't tell anybody

My husband is downstairs vacuuming the gluten off of all of Eric's blocks. We thought we had done that, but E played blocks tonight and got down to the bottom of the toy chest and there was a huge wealth of gluten at the bottom. Old crackers, cheerios and apple jacks from last May or before, just waiting to poison my baby boy. I'm sure he didn't eat any and he had a bath after he played with the blocks. But DAMN I hope that's the last of the gluten in the house.

But Rich is vacuuming. He NEVER does that. He's been at over half an hour. It's kind of sexy.

Gotta go.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Franklin Park Zoo in the Rain

The rain was slapping against the windshield and we wondered what kid of idiot would head to the zoo in the rain? Our kind of idiot, as it turned out. There were only two other cars that weren't parked in front of the service entrance.

But the kids bolted from the car and ran, taking great care to splash through every puddle grinning like maniacs. It was nearly sixty degrees in February, and rain or not we were spending the morning outside.

We did our usual Franklin Park Zoo circuit. We go in through the giraffe entrance, and visit the cockroaches and the birds. Really, they have an exhibit with hissing cockroaches. They are the size of mint milanos and they always make me cringe.

Then the rain had let up and we splashed our way to the tropical rain forest where we spent a good hour watching the gorillas and running back and forth over indoor bridges. There's a sunken area meant to be kind of a theater with a tropical aquarium behind the stage. Kaylee and Eric climbed and jumped in there for ages.

By the time we had left the driving rain had been reduced to a pleasant warm mist on our faces and we tromped past only one or two other families to visit the grouchy lion alone in his enclosure. The zoo attendant said she had heard rumors that he might get a new companion, but it's very hard to introduce an old lion to a new companion without lots of problems. He's set in his way, I suppose like a Walter Matheu character. But Lions are not solitary animals. They live in Prides of up to 40 lions. It seems cruel to leave him alone. He just lays on his rock, roaring in his grouchy lion voice.

We said "Goodnight Lion" and wended our way down the hill on a walk that would take an adult no more than five minutes. But with so many puddles to stomp in, it took nearly a half hour.

But we came to the car, damp but triumphant. I love the Franklin Park Zoo.