November 12th


This post is kind of about work but only tangentially, really it is about a very sneaky toddler named Gwen and a very sneaky dog named Georgie.

Four days a week I drop a little girl off at kindergarten at the school down the hill (not the school across the street, which would be A LOT more convenient, but she doesn’t live in its catchment). Obviously I have to take Gwen and her lil friend as well, so I have a big yellow double stroller that I bundle them into for trips down and up the hill. The stroller lives outside my door, bike-locked to a ring I bolted to the side of the house, and when I take it out I have to first unlock it and then bump it up the seven steps to the backyard.

There are a few different options for when I take the stroller up and put the kids in it. I can put the kids in the stroller at my door and bump it up the stairs with them inside. I can bump it up the stairs empty and then bring the kids up and put them in, or I can bring the kids up first and then bump the empty stroller up after them. Option one is great for rainy days because I can put the kids in the stroller and get the raincover on it under shelter so no one gets wet (except for me). It’s not great for my back though, so usually I go with option two. Option three is only for days when I am stupid and hate myself and want to have a bad morning.

Today was one of those days.

I guess there is a polar vortex happening or something because it is freeeeeeezing cold outside. Every since Halloween it’s just been SO COLD. So for this morning’s trip down the hill I got everyone ready in hats and mitts and woolly socks and boots and puffy coats. Gwen has new mittens and she doesn’t really like wearing them so I made sure to put them on properly with her thumbs in the thumb pockets so she could hold her toy. Once everyone else was dressed I quickly ran to my room to get my own mittens, and when I came back out Gwen very proudly showed me how she’d taken off her mitts and unzipped her coat. Great! Good job! I had to take her coat off, put her mittens back on, then put her coat back on. I finished getting myself bundled and we were ready to go.

As soon as I opened the door all three kids bumbled outside, blocking me from getting the stroller up the stairs first. Rather than struggle to get them all back inside (herding toddlers is an exercise in frustration and futility) I figured I’d get them up the stairs first and then come back down to grab the stroller. Why? Why? Why did I decide this? This is the worst decision I have ever made in my life.

After helping the two be-mittened toddlers up the stairs I quickly ran back down for the stroller. I hadn’t even unlocked it when the kindergartener was like “Umm Tanie…. Gwen’s putting her mittens in the water.” What? WHAT???? Yes, Gwen had scamped across the yard to my neighbour’s little fountain water feature and was dipping both her mitten hands AND her toy into the freezing water. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY. I had to run and grab her before she soaked herself any further, at which point she became enraged and screamed and screamed and screamed. I quickly strapped her into the stroller and pulled off her cold wet mittens and retrieved her toy from the fountain, where it was draped head-down in the water like a little drowned murder victim.

You might be wondering what any of this has to do with Georgie. Well, on Wednesday mornings I’m home alone with Gwen. Taylor is still at work and Sym is at her dad’s, so I often don’t have a chance to take the dog out before Gwen wakes up and I start work. Normally I feel guilty about this, because if I don’t take her out early I usually can’t take her out until much later (like after the school run). Today though, I didn’t care because she peed and pooped in the dining room just before I got up. If you bathroom inside the house at 6am you don’t get a walk at 7am, dog. This was apparently not good enough for her and the whole time I was getting the kids ready she was hanging around the door, hoping to go outside. She must have still been there because when I opened it back up to chuck the wet mitts & toy inside she darted out and up the stairs.

She is not allowed to go outside like that without permission, WHICH SHE KNOWS, but she was in no mood to be obedient and wouldn’t come back in when I called her. I had to chase her and catch her and lock her in her crate while I ran around the house looking for alternate mitts for Gwen and alternate gloves for myself, since mine were now also wet from dealing with Gwen’s wet mitts. The alternate mitts & gloves kind of suck; Gwen’s are too big and it’s impossible to get her thumbs in the thumb pockets and have the mitts stay on her hands, and mine had a flippy top for the fingers but not for the thumbs (like my first-choice gloves have) so I couldn’t use my phone (to text Taylor about Gwen’s icy water adventures). This whole time I was dealing with the dog and searching for mitts Gwen was still howling in the stroller and when I went to put her new mitts on she fought me terribly. All this nonsense put us way behind schedule and when we finally left we only had seven minutes to get to the school before the bell so we had to haul ass down the hill. OH AND I HADN’T HAD ANY COFFEE YET.

I think we all learned a valuable lesson here, and the lesson is: take the stroller up the stairs before you bring the kids outside. Take the stroller up the stairs before you bring the kids outside. Take the stroller up the stairs before you bring the kids outside. Take the stroller up the stairs before you bring the kids outside. Take the stroller up the stairs before you bring the kids outside. Maybe if I repeat it enough times I’ll remember to actually do it.

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