Is “a bit of fresh air” really worth it?

Let’s take a walk!

What could be more invigorating, more wholesome, more beneficial for body and soul? I can take the kids, we can all get some fresh air, and the baby can have a nice lung-cleansing nap.

On Wednesday I took my children for a walk around the neighbourhood. We have been graciously handed down a “sit-and-stand” stroller from a friend, so I could put A on the front in her car seat, and E could choose to sit or stand at the back, or walk.

We’ve done this a few times, and it works fairly well. E is happy and keeps his eyes open for tire swings and other interesting facets of people’s houses and yards. For instance, when we passed the house with the gaudy hot-pink garage door, he exclaimed, “That’s a SO beautiful pink garage!” and then proceeded to repeat pink garage, pink garage to himself for the next block or two.

on a walk with a preschooler
Wide-eyed at the environs.

Plus, A is ridonculously cute in her fuzzy snowsuit thingy.

baby in the stroller
Getting sleepy on the ride.

The stroller is rather large and unwieldy, but it’s worth a bit of straining around corners to have both children contentedly bundled and riding.

By Friday, it had turned snowy. That tipped the balance: given the number of households likely to have cleared their sidewalks (not many), I was not willing to try manoeuvring the behemoth on snow.

That is how Friday afternoon found me lugging the singleton jogging stroller up from the basement. That thing corners like it’s on rails… relatively speaking, of course. I should ask my son to just walk, so we don’t need a stroller – he actually has pretty good endurance – but it’s harder in the snow. When he poops out, I won’t be able to carry him on my back. The whining that would therefore ensue is not an option today. (I know you feel me, mamas.)

Strap on the 3.5-month-old in the baby Trekker. Find a hat that fits her fast-growing head. Don my sister’s voluminous blue second-hand Coat of the Nineties, because it is big enough to zip up around the baby. Situate folded receiving blanket where it will (I hope) absorb the most drool.

Help three-year-old with coat, hat, boots, mittens. Equip him with a snack. Let him clamber into the stroller. Opt not to do up the safety straps because frankly, this kid has gotten huge.

Navigate out the door. Lock door with one hand while preventing stroller from tumbling down stairs of front stoop with other hand.

Whew – it’s chilly. That’s a windchill. (It’s -13C with wind – that’s 9F for the Yanks.)

After we’ve passed about six houses, I stop and awkwardly put the plastic weather shield on the stroller so that E doesn’t freeze. It’s wrinkly, ripping at the seams, and generally disreputable from being bunched up in the storage basket. Between that and the highly fashionable coat I’m wearing, I allow myself a giggle at what an awesome mom-picture I must make.

A is gazing as far up into the trees as the head support for the carrier will allow. She has, of course, positioned herself such that she’s drooling onto the coat. Actually, she’s sort of licking it dreamily.

Well. Getting ourselves going was a production, but now it’s pretty! Lovely and white! Not to mention invigorating!

Until we turn westerly. I realize too late that any road we take heading vaguely west enables the wind to blow the cavernous hood off my head, so that there is no barrier for A’s face. She gasps as the wind steals her breath, and pieces of my ears begin to crumble away in icy chunks. I shield her with a mittened hand, steering with my other hand, as she complains. Good thing the stroller is so light and lithesome. Kind of. With a 35-pound kid in it.

The whole nap idea is not working out as I’d hoped. Instead of sleeping, baby fusses periodically as we change direction, taking the shortest possible route home.

She finally falls asleep about a block from our house, on our own street where the trees shelter us. I ask E, “Hey buddy, you doing okay?”

There’s no answer. I peek over the shade. My son, who has not had a regular afternoon nap in well over a year, has also fallen asleep. Or frozen in place, I suppose.

I do an extra lap of my street, trying to make the most of the situation. The longer E naps, the more it will screw up his bedtime. The shorter A naps, the grumpier she will be at dinner hour. I’m sure I could figure out the optimal length of time using calculus – if I remembered any.

In my wish that E will awaken cheerful and enlivened when we arrive home, I am sorely disappointed. His circuitry has somehow gotten stuck on whine mode in his sleep.

So that settles it. We’re going to make popcorn for dinner and then commence hibernation. It’s way more fun to hang out all day in our pajamas anyway.

baby girl and big brother
Yay pajama party!

All you mamas and daddies with three or more children who EVER get out of the house as a group… I bow down to you. You have my eternal admiration.


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  1. I always wonder how Lili does it with four! Mind you at work we do it with nine one year olds. Just the getting the snow suits on is an ordeal lol!

    1. Me too! And so close together!! And if I thought Kindergartners were bad in terms of getting ready to go out… one-year-olds has gotta be even harder.

  2. YAAAAAAAY adorable! I hope you can glue your ears back together. Although maybe no one will notice their crumbled edges if you’re at home being Pyjamas-On Amazon queen all day.

  3. Now you know why the crew of an airplane we (I and four children, the youngest about 2?) took to Texas one fall told me they were awarding me the Brave Mom of the Year Award!

  4. oh the balancing act of meeting everyone’s needs! so hard! but, even though in the end i’m sure you had someone’s tears to wipe away, you got outside with both kids AND THEY BOTH FELL ASLEEP. that’s kind of like a miracle!
    mama lola recently posted..silly spoons :: a craftMy Profile

  5. Very good story, Diana! I felt like I was right there (even though I am inside in my pajamas and have no intention of leaving the house today).

    1. I know! How do people do it? My own parents had four of us and I don’t know how they did it. Have you seen this guy? So awesome!

  6. Oh, how I miss those days. . . okay, maybe not that much. My twins will be four this weekend, and it is now much easier to get out of the house. Your detailed writing brought back all those oh-so-fond memories though. Thank you for that. . . 🙂
    Jared Karol recently posted..Tom Is My FriendMy Profile

    1. I have noticed that with a 3-year-old, it’s easier because a) there’s less stuff and b) he can get in and out of stroller, car seat, etc. by himself. But then you add a baby and you’re back to square one.

      Seriously, though, I am in awe of parents of multiples – you did all this hard part x2, at once!

    1. I’ve pretty much been cowering since then. It’s just been colder and colder every day. The baby is my scapegoat. 🙂

  7. How the heck do you blog with such little kids? You are amazing. I hate dealing w the strollers in the snow. It makes my core strength peter out, mostly becuase I have none. Your kids are adorbs!

    1. Um, what?? Your kids are TWO AND THREE, shouldn’t you be way too insane to blog? (Or perhaps just insane enough… 🙂 That must be it.) And thanks, I agree they’re adorbs. Sometimes I can’t even stand it.

    1. Thanks, Ken. Yeah, sometimes it’s embarrassing, the sheer amount of stuff. And I invariably forget something…

    1. Thanks, Sam! I find them pretty yummy too. I’ve always lived in Ontario, and have fantastic memories of playing in the snow for hours on end. I still love snow, but now it’s tempered by the “joys” of cleaning off cars and dressing kids in snowsuits, etc.

  8. I’m right thee with you. I’m solo-ing it the next two weeks while hubby is traveling for work and getting my kids out the door is INSANE. My seven-year-old is always ready to go because he’s paranoid of being late. My five-year-old couldn’t care less if she ever gets anywhere on time. And my 21-month-old twins are now running in opposite directions and taking off their coats as soon as I get them on. Just getting into the van is an adventure!
    IASoupMama recently posted..The AssassinMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Jamie! You say this so well. Sometimes, I can stand back and think, “Here I am, in the thick of the mommy days. I will look back on this as a golden time.” Sometimes I can feel it, and I’m right in the joy of the moment. And sometimes, I just want to give up, go home, and say some cuss words out loud.

    1. You’re right, I think it makes way more sense to wear the baby – I just need to know what the windchill is ahead of time, and bring a blanket to cover her head. It’s a learning process.

    1. I know I would miss it too. Last winter was unseasonably warm around here, and it made me sad. These cold days are reassuring, even if windchill is a b*tch.

  9. Haha! I just don’t go outside in the winter. I don’t believe in it. My husband sometimes takes our toddler out to run around in the backyard, and she goes out on the days she’s at daycare.

    When they’re a little older we’ll go tobogganing and snow tubing, but for now hibernation it is.
    Azara recently posted..Advice for the guysMy Profile

    1. I wish I didn’t believe in it either… then I could just let it go. But if I’m honest with myself, I know my three-year-old is more fun when he has a change of scenery during the day. He can get pretty whiny with cabin fever.

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