Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Morning Phone Calls

Most days when the phone rings at our house, we all try to avoid answering it. I can't put my finger on why exactly we dodge the phone because we do enjoy talking to our friends and family so far away. But the fact is, as soon as the phone rings on most days we all shout "NOT IT!" and immediately try to look busier than each other in an attempt to evade the telephone.

Most days that is.

But not on Sundays.

When the phone rings on Sunday mornings it turns into a pushing, shoving, screaming race between Maya and Ben to pick up the phone first. When the phone rings on Sunday mornings they fight to answer the phone because they know it's Grammy and Grampa calling. On Sunday mornings, instead of everyone shouting "NOT IT!" we all shout "it's GRAMMY!"

It should be noted here that Eric and I stopped fighting for the phone first because even if we do reach the receiver before the short people in the house we can't have a decent conversation for the shouting in the background:

"Can I talk to Grammy? Is it my turn yet? I want to talk to Grampa! Can I talk on the phone now? How about now? It it my turn now? Can I have a turn? Why can't I have a turn? I want to talk to Grammy and Grampa! I want to talk to Grammy and Grampa! I want to talk to Grammy and Grampa!"

"Me talk? Me talk? My turn? Me talk? My turn? I talk now? I talk to Grammy? Me talk? I talk to Papa? Me talk? My turn now?"
So we just stand back and let them duke it out politely talk about who goes first. Maya usually wins this "discussion".

Maya prattles on to Grammy and Grampa about her week, telling them the minute, intricate details about her week, the books she reading, what she did during the week, things she is looking forward to in the next week.

They talk about how freezing cold it is outside here in Saskatchewan and how pretty Grammy's flowers are in BC. Grammy really likes to rub it in that they can be outside without risk of frostbite. Maya really likes to rub it in that it hardly ever rains here. 
Ben tells Grammy and Grampa all about his toys, his favourite blanket, and the cat. He tries to show them things in his bedroom; he's only three and doesn't understand that Grammy and Grampa can't see him over the phone. They ask him all sorts of questions about his week. He babbles on and on. I'm sure Grammy and Grampa don't understand most of what Ben says, but they love to listen and chat with him.

Today, Grampa was really funny.

Being the sweet boy that he is, Ben often tries to pass the phone to the cat next. That's when I swoop in and rescue Grammy and Grampa.

They don't speak Catonese.

I try to hide away in my bedroom to chat with my mom because even though Ben and Maya have just had their turn on the phone and had been functioning just fine without my help all morning up to this point, they need my attention. NOW. I don't understand what it is about holding a phone to the side of my head that suddenly renders my children completely helpless. They require my assistance, my attention, my refereeing skills, my opinion on the economic crisis, my next breath. I tried talking to my mom about it one Sunday morning. I think she said something about how my siblings and I were the same way, but I couldn't quite hear her over the din of my children clambering for my attention.

The magic of a Grammy phone call is strong enough to overcome the family's phonephobia (that's a real word, google it) for one morning only. The next time the phone rings we are all back to calling out "NOT IT!"

Until the subsequent Sunday morning, that is.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An Afternoon Spent Sledding

Or, Why I Shouldn't Ever Need a Gym Membership in Winter

 It's Winter Break here in the arctic tundra Saskatchewan, which means a blissful week free of marking, commuting, and early mornings. A week to sleep in late (7am), lounge around (catch up on laundry), and spend quality time the fam damily.
This afternoon we decided to go sledding. Looking outside and seeing the bright shining sun we thought it would be a perfect afternoon to spend outside. Windchills of -28C won't keep us inside, we're Canadian! We don't wait for warmer days, we brave the wintry weather with smiles frozen on our faces!

Getting myself and my two kids ready to brave the boreal weather is no small feat. The task of finding enough toques, mitts, scarves, snow pants, etc. to prevent frostbite and whining is enough to exhaust anyone, never mind the job of stuffing everyone into said toques, mitts, scarves, snow pants, etc.

By the time everyone was dressed, I was sweating, panting, and weary, and we hadn't even stepped outside the door.

I sent the kids outside to play in the snow fort Eric built last week and I ran around the house like the madwoman, grabbing the truck keys, the camera, and some batteries.

 I made my way outside, helped Maya get the snow tubes in the back of the truck, wrestled the kids into their seats, and we were off! And it only took 45 minutes!

I was so warm from just getting ready and being layered in my winter gear that my sunglasses fogged up.

We got to the sledding hill and Maya and Ben cheered. We were the only ones there! We had free reign over the hill. We could slide like crazy people in all directions without having to worry about running in to anyone else. Suh-weet!

Then we opened the truck door and realized why nobody else was there. It was ridiculously cold. The wind was so biting I had an instant brain freeze.

But hey, we're Canadian! We don't wait for warmer days to go play! We brave the wintry weather with smiles frozen on our faces!

Maya jumped on her snow tube and rushed down the hill. Or, at least, she *tried* to rush down the hill. Her tube stopped half way down the hill. I plunked Ben on his tube and gave him a push. He didn't make it as far as his sister.

Being the good mother that I am, I laughed hysterically at my sweet children stuck on the hill.

Don't worry, I helped them back up the hill. Eventually.

We attempted a few more slides down the hill, but the 40 km/h winds and fresh snow proved too much for my two light weights. They never did make it all the way to the bottom of the hill. After 5 minutes of unsuccessful, freezing-arse-cold sledding effort, I convinced Maya and Ben that we should head home by bribing them with offering a pleasant alternative activity: hot chocolate at home. They were really excited about this idea.

Or not.

The stripping of winter layers thankfully took less time than putting on the layers. All told, it was nearly an hour to get dressed and undressed for 5 minutes of sledding. Right now Maya and Ben are colouring happily, warm and content with bellies full of hot chocolate. I'm exhausted and spent, needing another cup of coffee.

I'm thinking next time the kids want to go sledding I'll trade spots with Eric. He can brave the wintry weather with a smile frozen on his face. I'll spend the afternoon the way he did - having a long winter's nap.