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Dear Spring

in AdLib Mom by

Consider this an open invitation, but sooner rather than later would be nice. We’re running out of options.

Honestly, we just can’t go to Chapters anymore. It’s embarrassing. They’ve replaced the Thomas trains, and I’m sure it’s because our two year old has worn holes into the old ones. Also, we never buy anything. I think they’re onto us.

While it’s been quite a party – snowboots, snowshoes, snowmen, snowforts – Old Man Winter has become that guy, the last guest standing, and I’m ready to call him a cab. He just doesn’t get that we have kids and kids need constant entertainment and a great deal of physical activity. There are only so many laps of the kitchen a two year old can do before you begin to worry an associated psychological syndrome might be setting in.

It’s getting sad, Spring — really sad. The Avalon Mall has lots of running room, and our little guy really likes those weird rides they have, the cars and trucks and space ships. Trouble is, we spent all our loonies by the end of December and if they catch my husband shaking them and making whirring, beeping sounds one more time we might be banned.

And then the ice cream…

Also, since we caved and bought him a small vanilla cone a few weeks ago (and then his visiting grandparents bought him two more), our boy has taken to throwing himself on the ground outside Laura Secord. I think the cold has gotten to him, Spring. It’s like he has PTSD.

Winter has taken our pedestrian freedom, Spring. Since it’s April now, it’d be nice to have it back.

Don’t get me wrong, we love the outdoors. I do think it’s important to get out, regardless of weather. I would love for there to be a Forest Pre-school in this province, like the one in Ontario, started up by Newfoundlander Marlene Power-Johnston. There’s no such thing as bad weather, they say, just bad gear. Well, we have long-johns and touques and insulated pants. We try.

We’ve tried walks in the neighbourhood, but we’ve been having trouble navigating the stroller around the giant potholes and between the salt trucks and snowplows. Just last week we were nearly chomped up by one of those crazy sidewalk clearing monsters. It feels a little unsafe. Winter has taken our pedestrian freedom, Spring. Since it’s April now, it’d be nice to have it back.

‘I want my glubs off!’

We’ve spent plenty of time in Bowring Park. We’ve fed the ducks so many times I am beginning to recognize their mating calls. I’ve been freezing my tits off – literally – breastfeeding in the playground, as my kid runs around, alone. Maybe we’re the only ones crazy enough to be out there?

I’ve been freezing my tits off – literally – breastfeeding in the playground, as my kid runs around, alone.

No matter how fun we try to make it, our son just doesn’t like the cold. He likes warm baths and cuddly toys and beaches, none of which you can find outdoors in the winter. And I did mention the wee 3-month-old baby, right? Have you ever tried shovelling a snow fort with a baby strapped to your chest, as a toddler wails, “I want my glubs off! I want my glubs on! Off! On!” etc. etc. et.c? Not particularly fun, Spring. Not fun at all.

I must take some responsibility for his discomfort in the cold weather. Being the ever-intrepid and slightly stupid parents that we are, we braved a blizzard last year and he ended up in hospital. Mild frostbite, apparently, resembles cellulitis.

So you can see I’m only reclaiming my parental responsibility by relegating most of our play to indoor activities this winter. We’ve done every free playgroup and program the city has to offer. We’ve been to the Geo-Centre, the Rooms, swimming, the library, the Railroad museum, even Twin Rinks to watch old men play shinny. We’ve stopped by so many cafes; I’ve got the Hava Java/Coffee Matters/Starbucks caffeine jitters.

We just want to dig in the dirt

Sometimes, Spring, I feel alone. Like on days when the wind is hacking me in two, when we have popped into Dominion (again) for a bit of respite from the cold, and the lady at the checkout drawls, “Some nice day, wha?”

Obviously, Spring, nobody really expects that much out of you.  Newfoundlanders are notoriously easy to please, and you can be assured there will be quite the welcome party when you do arrive.

All I am asking, on behalf of most parents I know, is for you to just come around and hang out, no strings attached. We don’t need miracles — we just want to take out the sandbox, set up the playhouse, start looking for bugs and digging in the dirt, stroll up and down the sidewalks in our neighbourhood, head to the park to throw rocks in the river and squelch through the mud.

Our kids need this, almost as much as we do. Their eyesight is being ruined by bad flourescent lighting, their nasal passages are being dried out from electric heating. Their knees are begging to be skinned, their ears fly-bitten. And I can probably speak for Chapters and say they really, really don’t want us anymore.

Anytime now, ok?

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