Friday, January 28, 2011

Family Fun

For the past several days, Clyde has been off of work thanks to some much-needed vacation time. We've been cramming family fun time in between bouts of rest and relaxation and I think that we have all needed this badly. Ben has been delighted by the sudden abundance of "Daddy Days" and our trip to the Children's Museum was much, much easier when there was a pair of eyes for each child. The boys have an annoying habit of wanting to dart off in completely different directions which makes supervision difficult for just lil' ol' me. This time, Ethan got to pretend shop to his heart's content while Clyde and Ben were able to go to the arts and crafts room and paint several masterpieces. Joy!

We've also been swimming and sledding. The swimming excursion was a mixed bag, though. Ethan hates Currents Aquatic Center. We had taken him there quite a while ago with poor results. He screamed the moment he and I entered the locker rooms (which was extra awesome given the echo) and he refused to be any more than a quarter inch away from me the entire time we were in the pool. During the Summer, however, we took him to Splash Montana and that was a huge success. He happily splashed and played and had a wonderful time. We foolishly thought that this meant he was over his "pool fear" and assumed that another trip to Currents would be successful. Unfortunately, not all pools are created equal and there is something inherently offensive to Ethan about Currents. Maybe he just hates indoor pools or maybe the water is just the wrong temperature. Maybe the ventilation system in the building emits a sound that is only audible to small children named Ethan and triggers a part of their brain that whips them into a frenzy. I don't know. I suppose this most recent time around was slightly better than our first trip. He still screamed immediately upon entering the locker room (both coming into and out of the pool) and he still clung to me like a desperate baby spider monkey, but he was marginally less frightened while in the water and even cracked a smile or two. Oh well. On to sledding...

Sledding was a resounding success. We had to buy a sled since we're really bad Montanans and did not already own one. Clyde was put in charge of that purchase and he came out with what I have now dubbed "Death Sled". The thing requires only the gentlest of slopes to send it flying. Remember, however, that I have deemed the excursion a success which means there were no injuries despite the warning sign at the trail head which promised death, paralysis, and other "serious injury" should sledding be in our future. We took necessary precautions when the kids were on the sled. It was the few times that Clyde or I went down by ourselves that "Death Sled" showed its full potential. Neither of us had been sledding since we were children so I think we underestimated both the hill and the sled. The only way that we could stop our frightening descent was to lie down so that our backs could create enough drag on the snow to slow "Death Sled" to a stop. It was either that or aim for a tree and that is an unpleasant option.

We did have one frightening experience when Ben flopped down on the sled at the base (or what seemed like the base) of the hill and began to drift off. At first, he was travelling slowly and we thought that the terrain was flat enough that he'd gently drift to a halt in short order. We were quite wrong. He began to gain speed and the seemingly flat terrain revealed a subtle slope that we hadn't noticed. Clyde and I found ourselves running after Ben while shouting at him to roll off the sled or drag his feet or do ANYTHING to keep "Death Sled" from it's chosen path that involved rocks and trees and injury. Ben managed to expertly spin the sled sideways which slowed it enough to let him gently roll of it into soft and rock-free snow. Clyde and I were panic-stricken but Ben just giggled and said that it was "super fun."

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