Extreme cold and toddlers just don’t do well together, it would seem. We hop in the sled from time to time for a quick ride to a local park, climb some hills, watch some ice skating, then hurry back to the warmth and comforts of home. Occasionally we will catch a bus to West Acres to play at the Dino Play Land, and at least a few times a week we head to the downtown Fargo YMCA so Dylan can do what he calls “a really very good job playing with other kids” while Daddy exercises. Then yesterday happened. The sun was shining, icicles were dripping, and the time was ripe for outdoor adventuring. We went to our shed, looked at all of our possible modes of transportation and chose the stroller. Let’s roll.
First stop was the ice skating rinks of Northeast Park in north Moorhead, a really excellent public service for these long cold winters.
I recall spending many Saturday afternoons in the mid-80’s pretending to play hockey with the other small town kids who were fortunate enough to have a stick and a puck. Skates seemed to be optional as moon boots would do in a pinch, and we weren’t really a hockey town anyway, more of a baseball burgh. Moorhead is definitely a hockey town though, as evidenced by the pick up games that seem to materialize anytime the mercury peeks above zero.
Manyways, my little boy Dylan (who is oh so close to two years old now) loves running on the ice and yelling “Oh no!” every time he falls down. We even found a puck lying on the ice so we practiced kicking it back and forth a bit in between falls. Trudging through deep snow in his black and orange snowsuit was good fun as well, and it provided an opportunity to teach an important lesson that all northern toddlers must learn at some point. Don’t eat the yellow snow. Sure it may not be a great idea to eat any snow at all, but you have to choose your battles as a parent and let the young and the restless play harder than you would like so that they will sleep harder than you dare to hope come nap time.
A few minutes later we were safe at home, parked in the long icy driveway, but as I went to unbuckle my charge he let me know that he wanted “more ride”. So let it be done.
Nostalgia washed over me in waves as we jogged the city streets, and I thought back to my first tentative attempts at full time parenting nearly a year ago. So much has changed for my boy (and me) in that amount of time, yet here we were out pounding the pavement again, just two guys on the town with nothing but time and gloves on our hands. We hit a slight bump in the sidewalk and young Dylan cried out. “What’s wrong?” I asked, then my sense memory kicked in and I knew what had happened, he was falling asleep in the stroller! I headed for home at a moderate pace, and carried my bundle of peace inside and up the stairs. Like a cautious Jenga player I removed his boots, laid him down, and unzipped his jacket.
I can’t wait for the next beautiful day. Who knows, we may be over the hump and headed for an early spring! They say there is no good without the bad, no gain without pain, no growth without change. One thing is for sure, a thirty-five degree day feels great in February, not so much in June.
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