Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Winterlude Dude

This past weekend, we set out for Ottawa with a hope and a prayer that our weekend visiting friends would go remotely as planned. And of course God laughed at our on-the-fence, lefty asses.

It started out OK. We left at a good time: 10am. Lucy fell asleep about 30 minutes into the drive along the boring 401. Then she woke up 30 minutes later and did not sleep another wink for the entire drive to our nation's capital. Fo' rillz.

What child, I ask you, what child can stay awake for such a long, dull drive? The Loogoo Monster that's who.

So began the dance:
  • pop pacifier in her mouth to encourage sleep
  • Loogoo takes pacifier out of mouth and launches it onto the car floor
  • I completely give up on the idea of sterile pacifiers and let her suck on road salt flavoured pacifier
  • She starts sneezing around Belleville
  • We stop for lunch at the Dirty Clown
  • She eats off the Dirty Clown's dirty high chair, because we've packed the portable high chair so deep in the trunk, it doesn't seem worth it to get it out
  • Back in the car, more pacifier toss, more BlaBladoll toss, fussfussfuss
  • Socks off and tossed
  • More sneezing
  • Lots of Ray Lamontagne played to encourage sleep, lots of fluttery eyes, then lots of waking self up and crying. (The good child just read, or played, or napped, or sucked his thumb and looked out the window.)
Somehow we made it to the new home of our lovely friends Double Momma, Diskie Dan and their twin girls. If you've been reading me a while, you may recall Nate's encounter with the twins many years ago.

Well one of our favourite families recently moved from Edmonton, Alberta to Ottawa for a job change. And now that they're only a four-hour drive away, well we are seeing lots of boring drives down the 401 in our future.

Nate's reunion with the twins (or Da Girls as he calls them) was a good one. We'd spent a lovely day at the Science Centre in Toronto last fall, so he was actually really looking forward to seeing them. Loogoo was just happy to be anywhere with her family and immediately set about exploring other people's toys and driving the twins batshit crazy.

Nate and Daisy (pink onesie) were smitten with each other. I've never seen him bond like that with anyone. They would chase each other 'round the house and collapse in a fit of high-pitched giggles. And by Saturday evening, Daisy was begging us to stay "just one more day."

I had hoped to be able to fit in a visit with Andrea (I didn't get remotely ambitious enough to try and contact Dani as we're kinda in the same boat with young kidlets), but by Saturday morning it all seemed too much (already!) and I called her to say "next time." (Ironically we were probably both at the same Winterlude spot at the same time, but never ran into each other.)

I was nervous about skating on the Rideau. I haven't been on skates in at least a decade. When I finally made it out of the hut, Jan approached me with both our kids. "You have to take Nate, I can't skate with both of them," he said, thrusting Nate's hand into mine. Crap, crap, crap. I can't skate, I thought. But then, just like that, I could. I remembered the basic push-off-then-glide move and while it was anything but graceful, it did the trick.

Nate on the other hand was being a total goof. In his defense he's only been skating once a week for the past 4 weeks or so, but he was being extra, as we used to say in Scarb. "Whoa! Whoooooa!" he purposefully wobbled trying to wipe out because he thought it was funny. But then he did the "one hand on your knee, one hand on the ice" thing he learned in his class and that was pretty cool.

Loogoo was in a backpack carrier we just bought on Craigslist. Because, you know, we overthink things and overlook the obvious: 25 lbs of baby strapped to your back when you're on skinny skates is maybe not such a good idea Jan. She was mostly happy, until she wasn't. Then we had to abort mission and pull them both back to the hut on sled, crying and complaining. Not fun. But yet, still kind of fun. I'd forgotten that I could enjoy something so un-Scarb as skating.

Lucy slept really well that night and in the morning had a hard time getting up. At first I thought nothing of it, but as the morning went on I noticed she wasn't getting out of bed at all. A quick check with the thermometer proved why she was so lethargic and not her boisterous self. Uh-oh.

We decided we'd have to leave the following day. I spent the entirety of Sunday indoors with Loogoo feverishly clinging to me, snot pouring down her face. The others tried to get out to do some more Winterluding, but the Snowflake Kingdom they went to with the ice castle and snow slides was shut down for -- wait for it -- being too icy! The warm weather the day before had mucked things up and made conditions unsafe. Of course they were sent packing only after they'd found parking and had just got their bearings.

But you know what? Despite all that, it was still awesome! Being in a cosy house with good friends who are going through the same stuff you are? Well that's the best any parent can hope for. Good hospitality, good jokes and delicious meals shared, kids who get along...

Nate and Daisy were chasing each other around the house again, giggling like maniacs when I caught them turn around and suddenly hug each other. Raising her index finger with glee, Daisy whispered, "You get to stay for one. more. day!" For me, that moment was worth the entire agony of the drive home (and the days of sick that followed -- more on that to come).

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