Redster: Seven
Cutester: Four any day now

Well, the whirlwind of creative, cultural and educational activity I had vaguely planned for this week, or vaguely thought I should be planning, has thankfully been thwarted by the SNOW. No point going anywhere we can’t walk to, especially if it involves London transport. So we’re in pyjamas til ten, milling about the house til lunchtime pretending to be snails / astronauts / schoolteachers (the girls) or doing chores (me) , then get the sledge out and off to the park. Actually the Cutester is on the sledge all the way, from outside our front door, since pulling her on it is easier than the other methods (cajoling, pleading, threatening, frogmarching) of travelling anywhere with her sans wheels.

Preparing for the descent

The Cutester modelling her snowsuit (when it’s snowing) which doubles as a spacesuit (when it’s not)

I find myself thinking of the White Witch in Narnia and yearning for a dwarf, a whip and some Turkish Delight. I have yet more empathy with her now the snow has melted and there are patches where the sledge just won’t go at all. However, five days after it fell and on our fourth sledging expedition, the slopes in the local park are the iciest and fastest yet. Our £9.99 Argos sledge has done us proud too – it’s not snapped in half like I expected it to and it’s faster than a wooden one I tried. The Redster has made the most of it. The Cutester, however, refused to get on it and instead sent it downhill repeatedly bearing only a carrot we’d brought in case a snowman needed a nose. ‘She’s living life vicariously through a vegetable!’ I muttered to another mother, grinding my teeth (remember how uptight I get if my children are not having the fun they ought to?).

Then, today, she relaxed into her normal speed-junky self and had at least a dozen turns on the steepest slope. It has a bump halfway down that sends the sledge flying, and the thrill of watching that split second of small, airbourne child nearly made up for the fact that no-one was letting me have a turn.

Sled fail

The time when I was allowed a turn

Today we were sledging with a schoolfriend of the Redster’s. As the Redster made her way back up the slope via some steps she slipped and bashed her knee. Or at least we thought that was the problem. It was only when I helped her to the top that the awful truth became clear: her knees, parts of her coat, her gloves and a strand of her hair were smothered in thick, unguent dog poo. It was foul. There was only so much I could get off with the snow, which was all hard and crusty. She ended up refusing to put the coat back on and it was only after much hysteria of the unhappy kind that she was persuaded to get back on her friend’s sledge with her. But something told us it was time to go home when they reached the bottom of the slope and the Redster shouted delightedly: ‘She’s done a WEE!’ The schoolfriend had indeed lost control of her bladder at the flying bump part. Much of her trousers and the whole sledge were rather wet. I dread to think what kind of journey she and her mother had walking home.

In the face of all that, er, waste product, it did seem to be time to go. The Redster was stripped just inside the front door and her clothes went straight in the machine. It took two separate baths to get first the solid matter and then the smell out of her hair, but she is now the cleanest child in north London. And if the snow is still out there, I’d risk the brown stuff and do it all again tomorrow.

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