After a brief review of the long-weekend weather forecast, we decided to spend ‘family day’ at Lake Louise.
But first Mr. Johnson had to go to work for a few hours, for some very important ‘milling.’ If I knew what milling was I might have been impressed. Instead I was mildly annoyed: you get to go to the (undoubtedly quiet) office with your coffee and the newspaper while you wait for some machine to finish doing something? And I get to stay at home with les enfants and get everything ‘ready’ for our excursion?
As the other jason johnson left the house, he informed our oldest that we’d be going to the ‘mountains’ when he got back. Despite some initial resistance, the Gort quickly got on board with the plan. And, within ten minutes he’d dressed himself, packed four granola bars in his Spiderman lunch box, and filled two water bottles with water. He also had the presence of mind to pack extra socks – for him and his brother – just in case their feet got wet. And mittens and a hat for himself.
Upon gathering the necessary supplies, he put on his coat. And his boots. And sat at the dining table until his dad returned.
Two hours later.
For all his new-found maturity and thoughtfulness (extra socks? granola bars for everyone? water bottles?) the kid has no sense of time.
One minute or one hour, it’s all the same to him.
So despite my gentle reminders that we wouldn’t be leaving for quite some time and my helpful suggestions that he should remove his jacket and coat lest he overheat, he basically sat at the table. And waited. With his ‘heavy’ backpack strapped to his back.
For a very long time.
The professor thought it would be fun to take the sled, so he loaded it into the back of the van. The Gort took one look at the sled and his excitement increased ten-fold.
We got to Lake Louise around 12:30. And it took another twenty minutes for restroom stops, two diaper changes, and three snowsuit, hat and mitten ‘applications’.
I might spend the rest of my life trying to design mittens that actually stay on babies’ and toddlers’ hands.
Given the range of ages and the varied needs of our clan, we’re not a particularly cohesive family unit at the moment. There’s virtually nothing that all five of us can do together. At the same time.
So most of our outings are spent, divided, in one of the following configurations: Jason and the two older boys, the baby and I, Jason and the Gort, the baby and the Hen and I, Jason and the baby, the older boys and I, Jason and all three of the boys, and I with the camera.
And since there was sledding to be done, it was mostly Jason and the older boys……and I with my puffy blue snowsuit stuffed into a Baby Bjorn carrier. There was a baby hiding inside the snowsuit, but no one could really tell.
These outings always remind me that nothing is quite as enjoyable as an ‘idea’. As in, the ‘idea’ of going to Lake Louise with our three boys is a lot more fun than the reality of going to Lake Louise with our three boys.
Take sledding, for example. The nearly six year old actually enjoys being on the sled, whether it’s going down a hill or just being pulled along a trail by one of his parents. The two and a half year old despises the sled. I don’t know what that purple plastic boat ever did to him, but he adamantly refuses to get on it. And, when ‘coerced’, generally pitches a fit. And don’t forget ‘walking’. For some reason the thought of using his own legs to cover a distance greater than three blocks is, simply, unfathomable to our Hen. He prefers to be carried. Or, under the right conditions, strollered.
Which means it is entirely possible that Jason and I will never walk more than a quarter of the trail by the Lake. ‘Maybe some day we’ll get to do the whole [thing],’ the professor remarked wistfully as our fifth attempt to circle the Lake was cut short due to imminent meltdowns.
On the way back to the car-van, the professor turned to me: ‘can the Gort and I do one super sled?’ His made-up term for going to the top of the hill.
So the two puffy coats walked to the top of the hill. The Hen, neither invited, nor interested in tagging along, stayed with me and my five month old snowsuit.
We stood by as the professor and his oldest spawn flew by on their purple sled. Across two cleared trails and onto the frozen lake.
‘What was your favorite thing about today,’ I asked the Gort several hours later. ‘Playing with these beans, ‘he replied, as he carefully loaded dried white beans onto a truck.
‘I meant about going to the mountains,’ I clarified.
‘Going on the super sled,’ he replied, as if on cue. ‘But I got a little bit scared because we were going kind of fast.’