I mentioned that I expected we would get plenty of use out of it even during the winter since our front hall is big enough to double as a playground. She was horrified.
"The slide goes outside," she decreed. "Every day, no matter the weather, you bundle the baby up and you take her out to play in the yard."
I nodded because, well, that's what you do when your boss seems so sure of something. But the slide stayed indoors.
Ultimately, this is the only reason I still know where the slide is. I had a backyard.
I bought a house with grass and trees and, yes, a strange retaining wall that is absolutely a safety hazard that will need to be addressed just as soon as we can find it again. Then the yard went away.
The snow outside the windows comes as high as my chest. The kitchen door opens just enough to let the dog escape, run up the icy embankment, and look down at those of us still held captive with unparalleled joy.
Emmaline, for whom the house must have seemed like a mansion after moving from our old condo, launched a full on protest today. She pushed her stroller out of the hall, across the dining room, and into the kitchen. I watched with amusement as she circumnavigated the puppy, managing to avoid the stained glass fireplace screen, and arrived with the pram at the back door.
Even though I had not heeded my supervisor's advice to the letter, I am all in favor of sunshine and fresh air. It's not as though I didn't want to take her out. But after a well deserved lull in the frigid temperatures yesterday during which the height of the snowbanks along our driveway became appreciably diminished, it is once again well below freezing. Moreover, and this is the real reason there was no way Em was getting her way, we seemed to be in the middle of a wind storm. Branches were flying off trees, the windows rattled as they were buffeted. I shook my head in an apology.
"Sorry baby," I said. "You can still have a ride."
I hoisted her up and plopped her into the carriage chair, then reclined it and pulled the sun shade making a sort of cocoon. She stuck her thumb in her mouth. We made a circuit around the kitchen and back to the front of the house.
"Out?" I asked when we had finished, not realizing what it seemed I was offering.
"Out," said Emmaline.
But when I moved to pick her up, when I pushed back her shade and reached for her she screamed. It took me several tries to arrive at my mistake.
"Up?" I then tried instead.
"No," she told me.
So I left her where she was. I hung a sheet over the remaining opening at the front so that she was enclosed entirely.
"Tent," I said.
I walked away, wondering if she would nap.
"Mama," she called.
"Emma," I called back.
"Mama," she answered.
And so on and so forth.
She never did fall asleep but she refused to leave her tent for thirty minutes at least.
When the wind died down we did get some outdoors time. Not much, but enough.
Still I am looking forward to spring. There are two-hundred bulbs (minus those liberated by squirrels) in the front yard that my calloused thumbs and I deserve to see push up through the ground. We're still a long way from that day. I do know that. But it is nice to remember warmer times.
And also to know that Em is ready for them to come again. She's even got the shades to prove it.