One extreme to the other


Snow party!

This Winter has been way too cold.  December usually brings a few days of below freezing weather but last month I don’t remember a day where I couldn’t have seen penguins sliding around on the ice outside of our door.  I thought maybe we could look forward to a surprisingly warm January but this month is more of the same.  However, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to be less negative and see that glass as half full versus half empty.  So, here I go.  Although it was freezing outside, we at least got some snow.  Of course, not enough that we could build a snowman (stop the negative!) but enough that we could make a go at sledding down our local hill. 

 In doing so, wegot the chance to use the plastic sleds we received from cousin Laura for Christmas.  They are the cutest little sleds with a curvy hourglass seat and a handle in the front to steer.  Of course, the seat is made for a three-year old’s butt – when I sat on it at the house, more than half of each cheek laid on the cold snow – not a plastic sled.  We bundled up in two pairs of pants, two shirts, two pairs of socks, jumpsuits, gloves, hats, coats, and snowshoes and booked down to the hill in hopes of beating everyone else.  We only found four others sledding on it – yeah! 


Getting ready for the hill!

The hill had already lost most of its snow but with a plastic sled, no problem (see that positive spirit shining through!).  We climbed up to the top and loaded Maria on her red sled.  I gave her a push and much to our dismay, she gently coasted down the hill having to push herself one or two times.  Ok, my reaction affects her reaction so when she looked up the hill at me, I yelled “that was awesome, Ri!”  You could tell that she had expected to go faster but hesitated in saying so because of my reaction.  All of a sudden, a smile formed on her face and she yelled “can I go again?”  Nothin’ like spreading that positive thinking!  

Mario got on his blue sled, and I would have sworn it was custom-built for him.  His butt sat in it perfectly, and with a slight push he whizzed down the hill.  After watching Mario, Maria gave it another try and had high hopes.  Unfortunately, half way down the hill we heard a snap.  When she got to the bottom, she stood up and realized that her sled had broken in two (she has her momma’s bottom).  There was an immediate breakdown – crying like she had been told that she would ever eat meatballs again.  I raced down the hill to calm her down.  “Hey, we still have Mario’s sled” I told her.  

She finally calmed down.  We approached Mario at the top of the hill and told him of Maria’s dilemma.  

 “This is MY sled – no one can use it besides me!”
Pretty much what I had expected from Mario who is not into sharing at all (he won’t even share a piece of food that he does not like) so I was ready with my response.  
“Mario, your sister lets you share everything with her.  You will share your sled with her or we are leaving and no one sleds.”  
“Ok, let’s go home.”

Broken sleds

Yeah, again, pretty much the response I expected from him.  Stubborn as heck.  He will give up any type of fun if it means he does not have to share.  I explained to him that he was going to sled with his sister or let his sister go by herself.  He chose the former.   I loaded him and Maria onto the sled and they slid slowly down the hill.  Surprisingly, they both looked up from the bottom of the hill and were smiling!  Alright, score!  When they got up the hill, they asked me to go with them.  In the excitement of it all, I hopped on and stacked them on me.  The sled broke within two seconds of push-off.  Next meltdown but Mario this time.  I explained that we would get some new sleds and come back to the hill.  Hs finally calmed down, cheeks frozen with tears. 

Maria ready for the pool!

The next day, knowing that the hill would have no more snow on it, I offered the next best activity to sledding – swimming!  We went to a new indoor pool in Dublin.  Swimming is quite the chore for me because Maria is not swimming on her own yet and Mario wants me to watch his every move.  As soon as I go near Mario, Maria wants me and vice versa.  Finally, I got Maria to put on her goggles and swim to me while I sat near Mario and watched him jump up in the water and land on his stomach.  There was a lazy river that provided much fun as we acted like superheroes while we swam around it.  Unfortunately, they have 15 minute breaks every hour.  Poor Mario cannot handle the cold once he has to get out of the pool.  His lips turn purple, he shakes, and he begs to go home.  Maria, on the other hand, doesn’t even use her towel when she gets out – our little polar bear girl.  I knew that a bag of Cheetos and a big hug from me would calm Mario down and I was right.  We lasted through the 15 minute break and hopped back in at the whistle’s call.  Maria got better at playing by herself and Mario got better at not demanding every second of my attention.  We swam another 45 minutes and then hopped into the showers.  Mario refused to get out.  He showered for 18 minutes with hot water before he finally asked me to get him (this is the same kid who adores hot tubs).  We got dressed, got some chips for Ri and played I Spy while we sat in the Dublin Rec Center lobby.  
We got home in time for dinner, and decided on pasta and meatballs and garlic bread.  Good post-swimming meal.  As they sat at their table, Maria spoke to Mario about the importance of saying thank you even if you don’t like a gift that you get (we had discussed this with the kids when we were making Christmas rounds).  Mario sat intently listening to her.  She moved onto discussing the idea of sharing and asked him for a chip.  He promptly responded with a “no.” She took one anyway.  He complained.  She gave it back and told him that if someone takes your food, you should tell them that you do not appreciate it but you should not yell at them.  This coming from the girl who nearly burst a vein screaming at Cy when he ate her garlic bread.  However, that was months ago – how she has grown since that time.  

Mario waiting with goggles on!

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