Ski Day is Upon Us

Wow, we’ve had a lot of snow in the last two weeks. Enough that we’ve had to dig the driveway clear every morning, and sometimes again in the afternoon. And, of course, enough for some of the nearby ski slopes to open.
There was much excitement from Husband and the children about this. Since the very first snowflake wafted past our window, I’ve heard nothing but ‘ski, ski, ski’. I’ve been somewhat less excited. My ears are still ringing from last year, when the children complained nonstop about extreme hunger, parching thirst, boredom, boiling to death (in the car), freezing to death (outside of the car) and snow in their boots. In fact, I remember last ski season primarily as one protracted whine, punctuated by increasingly desperate swigs of vin chaud.
But it seemed I was the only one who remembered. Everyone else just kept saying ‘ski, ski, ski’. So, fine. Sunday morning dawned bright and clear. Lots of fresh, fluffy snow, blue skies, no wind. Perfect.
After our pancake breakfast (and a word of wisdom here, to young parents – if you don’t want to be forced at gunpoint to make pancakes every Sunday of your life, don’t even start) we got ready. Husband and I were showered and dressed in twenty minutes.
We met at the top of the stairs.
‘Ready?’ he asked.
I sighed. I cracked my knuckles. I focused my mind. ‘Ready,’ I said.
And so began The Dressing of the Children for a Ski Day – a task that can only be achieved by two adults perfectly aligned in their desperation to get out of the house before the spring thaw.
He: washed their pancakey faces and brushed their teeth.
I: packed a snack bag because God forbid we should be more than ten minutes from home without a selection of yoghurts, fruit bars, juices and assorted nuts.
He: put all our skis, poles, helmets and sleds in the car.
I: dressed the children. Which means I caught and crammed the wriggling three year old into ski pants, ski socks, a warm top and a jersey, while having a heated discussion with the five year old about whether a tutu and princess shoes are appropriate ski wear or not.
He: de-iced the car.
I: packed extra clothes for the three year old because she’s selectively incontinent and I didn’t know where the toilets were at the ski station.
He: snow-shovelled the driveway and salted it.
I: took the three year old for a last wee. This involved our usual ritual of putting her on the toilet and singing, ‘Tinkle tinkle little bum, can you make the weewee come?’ Don’t even mock me. It’s the only thing that works.
He: collected up and counted four jackets, four hats, eight gloves, four jerseys and four scarves, and transported them to the car. Without dropping any on the way.
I: caught and redressed the three year old.
We: escorted the children to the car and buckled them in.
And with that, we were away. A mere hour after we started. The thought of doing this every morning for a week on our December ski holiday makes me want to cry. But we’ve managed to shave more than an hour off last year’s time, which is something, I suppose.
Anyway, off we went, and half an hour later we pulled into the ski station. (I know! How lucky are we?)
He: got the skis from the roof rack and laid out skis, poles, boots, helmets and brand new, tiny little ski goggles.
I: got the children out of car; redressed the three year old.
We: took off the children’s snow boots and maneuvered their impatient little feet into their ski boots; put on their ski jackets, hats, scarves, gloves and brand new ski goggles; put on our own ski boots, jackets, hats, scarves and gloves; gathered up four pairs of skis, two pairs of poles and the rucksack with the all-important snack pack.
And off we went.
We were five steps from the car – I am not kidding, five steps – when the three year old stopped walking.
‘What’s wrong?’
‘I made a wee.’
‘You have got to be fucking joking.’ (This under my breath, but only just). More loudly, ‘Darling, are you sure?’
‘I’m sure.’
After a brief recce inside her ski pants, so was I.
Husband, fifty paces ahead with the five year old, turned around. ‘What now?’
‘She’s made a wee.’
‘You have got to be-‘
‘No. No, I’m not.’
Now what? I asked myself. We had no extra ski pants. Of all the eventualities we foresaw – and planned for! Planned for! – we did not expect her to wee in her only pair of ski pants the second she got out the car.
We explored several possibilities, very quickly and mostly without discussion:
Put her in tracksuit pants to play in the snow? No. She’d have been soaked and freezing in seconds;
Change her and find a warm and dry restaurant to wait in while Husband and older, more continent child go skiing? No. Because it was so early in the season that nothing was open;
Repack all skis, poles, children, boots etcetera back into car and go home? No. Because … ummm … just no.
So we did the only thing we could think of, which was to be grateful the pants were waterproof so at least she’d be warm, and then head off into the snow. And it really turned out well. Junior forgot about her dampness and both children had a great time going up and down the baby slopes with their dad, while I applauded from the bottom. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and all around us were other families, having fun. Like us.
Of course after an hour it all devolved and both children landed up taking their gloves off and then screaming at me about how cold their hands were. And of course the next day someone chewed most of the insulation foam off their brand new ski goggles and spread it all over the lounge floor. But that’s a story for another blog entry …