humor, parenting

Le Monstre: My Sledding Trip to the Darkside


It’s snowing! It’s not freezing and when this blog took place I had only one thing on my mind, taking Henry sledding! He had loved it at my mother’s house a few weekends ago and so, I thought, what a great thing to do today to get us out of the house.

Two problems: I no longer fit into my snow pants and the sled that Henry used is at his grandmother’s house, not here. Problems solved. I used twine looped and tied through the belt loops of the snow pants to hold them up. The entire time I’m  jerry rigging this, all I can think of is this song my dad used to sing mocking Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line.”

“I hold my pants up with a piece of twine. I hold them up with a piece of twine. Because you’re mine, please pull the twine.”

The second problem would be solved by walking to the hardware store and buying a tube sled on the way to the sledding hill. Henry had used a tube sled at my mom’s place and, because I was so hell bent on him enjoying sledding, I wanted to make sure I got one too. So off we go, me, pants literally held on with a piece of tough thread and Henry not really knowing what to expect.

Last year was not a good year for Henry and I as far as sledding. On several occasions, I would be pulling him in his little plastic sled, looking ahead of me and suddenly the sled would feel surprisingly light. I would look back to find Henry face down in the snow, arms and legs splayed out in all directions, screaming his head off. Not a proud moment for me. I never thought I was going to be the first person to white wash my son. I was fully prepared for the school bully to take on that roll. Sufficed to say, I can only imagine that Henry would be a little apprehensions about heading off on a sledding trip with me.

So, I take the stroller and start to head down the sidewalk. The sidewalk? Where IS the sidewalk? The little sidewalk plow hasn’t come anywhere near the sidewalks yet and now there’s an avalanche that Henry, I and our little three wheeled stroller have to cross. I’m okay with that, I say, I’m a power woman and we’re going to go sledding. Where did this energy come from? I wish I could say. For a minute, I almost thought that Andy and I had accidentally switched coffees this morning.

We finally make it to the hardware store and find it. It’s hanging from the ceiling, tied up with fishing line. I almost feel like it needs it’s own studio lighting and a rotating table. Le Monstre. A 50″ tube sled with a massive skull and eight ball across the top. Perfect for a two year old, right? I try finding one that might be a little smaller, but none have been provided. It’s Le Monstre or nothing.

So, with Le Monstre in it’s box, we brave the elements once more and finally reach the sledding hill. Somewhere on the wind, I hear the distant sound of children laughing and having fun. I have great hope in this situation.

I park the stroller in a snow bank and remove a. seemingly, excited Henry from the stroller. This is going to be great! He’s already smiling. This will be the last time that smile will cross his face during this sledding trip.

I take ahold of his little mittened hand and head down the hill, thinking, I’ll just quickly blow up the sled while he’s walking around and then we’ll be good. The snow is picking up as is the wind and I’ve failed to notice that the hill I’ve decided to use is actually icy enough to play a Stanley Cup final on. I notice once the two of us are nearly landing on our kesters.

We get to the bottom and I unpack Le Monstre and am horrified. I had read on the box that this thing was 50″ across, but now I see it and… it’s 50″ across. This was a bad decision, a very bad decision. Wren is pressing up on my lungs a little more these days and so my lung capacity will make this entire ordeal last a week and not the normal half day it would take a non-pregnant person to manually blow this thing up. But I am determined, as usual stupid me and start huffing and puffing while Henry begins to trudge around me beginning to complain about the snow in his face.

“Just a minute buddy and we can go sledding.” Why am I lying to him? It’s not going to be a minute. It’s not going to be 60 minutes or 120. Why am I continuing this charade. Le Monstre is too monstrous for the both of us and so was this whole idea.

Henry starts to whine and complain some more. I don’t blame him. I get Le Monstre half… okay a fourth inflated and set him on it. He seems to perk up a little, but it’s not inflated enough for him to sit up properly and more whining and complaining ensues.

This is it. He’s not having fun. I’m certainly not having fun as I stand there like Zero Mostel in “The Producers” with my twine instead of cardboard belt (my body is looking more and more like his these days actually) and my half inflated tube sled with crying child laying across it’s eight ball skull. I look down at Henry and say,

“This isn’t any fun Henry.” He looks back up at me and says,

“This isn’t any fun.” So we pack up. He gets a little upset about having to be put back in the stroller, but it’s a small price to pay to end the nightmare. I lash Le Monster to the top of the stroller and we trudge home.

We walk through the door and both of us instantly collapse. I just start laughing and saying,

“That was a disaster.” Henry echoes me. On Wednesdays, I take Henry to The Shelburne General Store to buy a dollars worth of peanut butter cups and Hershey kisses after play group. Well, when we got home today, I took our wet clothes off and emptied the entire bag out on the floor.

There we were cold and wet, eating chocolate together, laughing, feeling happy we were home and I guess in the end I have Le Monstre to thank for it.

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