Sunday, December 15, 2013

Adventures in Night Sledding

So here in Chicagoland we've recently gotten a couple inches of snow.  I took My Big Guy out after the first round and we played in the backyard for a bit while My Little Guy napped.  It was fun, and he's been asking to go "sleigh" again almost every day since then.

We spent our morning riding a train to the North Pole at the Illinois Railway Museum and then getting lunch.  The upside was that everyone had a great time.  The downside was that because the kids both slept for about 45 minutes in the car they were exhausted and over-stimulated and refused to nap when we got home.

We were supposed to have our Christmas Card photo reshoot but had to cancel due to general fussiness.  I couldn't even imagine attempting to get My Big Guy to change out of his jammies, and My Little Guy was tired in addition to teething some molars.  It was a disaster.

My husband had the brilliant idea of taking them outside to let them run off whatever energy they had left and tire them out to get them to bed.  We wanted to try actually sledding with them.

Problem was that it was after dark.

Now, I don't know if you know this about me and my husband, but we are Forest Preserve rebels.  We've been warned and even ticketed on more than one occasion for being in a forest preserve after dark (or in one case, just leaving a car in a forest preserve after dark).  This was all back in our younger, wilder days.  Now that we're grown up (sort of) we try to steer clear of such crazy, dangerous illegal activities.  Especially with our kids.

Plus, here in the CH the cops have nothing to do and would relish the thought of destroying some family's fun playing after dark.

We decided to disregard all the "Park closes at dusk!" signs and bundled up and headed over to the park behind our house.  We spent a good hour climbing and sliding before My Little Guy melted down and demanded to go home.  Then My Big Guy and my husband tempted fate by going to the official CH sledding hill that is across the street from the police station and went down it.

I guess the CH cops had better things to do (perhaps someone parked in a driveway and blocked the sidewalk, or left their garage door open after dark), because we played and sledded without incident.  We had a great time and both kids crashed and slept til 9:30 this morning.  Mission accomplished.

When we got home we did some internet-ing to figure out if there is a place we can sled after dark without fear of the cops coming.  There are a couple, but damn things have changed since I was a kid.

You can sled at the lighted parks, but only on the approved devices.  No metal sleds, only plastic.  Tubes and toboggans are ok though.  (I'm assuming they allow toboggans since they closed the toboggan run years ago and there are people out there like us who now have these toboggans and nowhere to use them.  Not that I'm still bitter about losing that toboggan run.  Oh wait.  Yes I am.)

Shit like this makes me crazy.  When we were kids we'd haul our metal saucer sleds to the top of the giant, unlit hill at night and go down all Clark Griswold style.  No one cared.  No one got hurt.  No one got in trouble (in fact, my parents have been encouraging after dark sledding to avoid crowds for as long as I can remember).  We all had a blast.  The fact that it was dark and we were going fast just made it all the more fun.  Now we can't go out after dark without worrying about the cops finding us (or hell, someone calling the cops to report that we're out after dark).  And heaven forbid we bring an unapproved sled.

What I find even more upsetting about the whole thing is that I doubt there's someone from the park district there enforcing these rules, but I bet you some parent would be.  "Hey, that's a metal sled!  That's not allowed here!"

I'm fairly confident that would happen if we showed up with our super fun old school sleds.  Because that's what people are like now.  That's why My Big Guy can't walk 30 feet in front of my husband, on the sidewalk to his grandma's house without people running out of their houses to stop him.  That's why my creep-ass neighbor shows up with a martini in his hand to tell me my kid is playing nicely in his own backyard.

They think they're "helping" and they feel better about themselves for it.  But it's fucked up.  Mind your own damn business about what kind of sled my kid is on and where he's using it.  Stop concerning yourself with what my kids are up to and pay attention to your own.  I can guarantee you I will not notice or care if your kid is playing unsupervised in his own yard, or using an unapproved sled, or walking down the sidewalk by himself.

All the rules and regulations suck the fun out of stuff.  I should be able to take my kids sledding at a time I feel is appropriate for us, on a sled that I feel is safe for us, in a location that I think is right for us without fear of being ticketed.

Sometimes - ok, a lot of the time - I hate everyone.

Monday, December 9, 2013


This really has nothing to do with being a mom, or kids or anything like that, but shut up, it's my blog and I'll do what I want.


I love competition.  I love sports.  I love anything where there's a winner and a loser and I love being the winner.

It's currently 5 degrees here in Chicagoland.  With the windchill it feels like -5.  My husband is at the Bears game.  I am jealous.  I'm aware that this makes me crazy.

There's something about being there.  Even in super cold games.  ESPECIALLY in super cold games.  It's fucking cold and we're there and we're cheering for our team that we love and we are happy to be freezing our asses off doing it.  And we're all in this together.  You don't get that from your couch at home.

They announce the temperature and the crowd goes nuts.  And I love it.  It starts to snow and the crowd screams and stomps their feet and reacts like we just scored a touchdown.  And I love it.  I love every second of it.

I love being part of the crowd at a sporting event.  Hell, doesn't even have to be a Bears game (those are just the ones I go to the most).  There's something magical to me about being part of a large group of people fanatically cheering for the same thing to happen, for VICTORY.

Call me crazy, but it's emotional.  I long ago lost track of how many times I've cried at a sporting event.  I've cried in sadness over a loss, I've cried in joy over a win, I routinely cry when the crowd comes together and sings the Star Spangled Banner and cheers for America.  I love getting swept up in the emotion of it all.

I've had beer spilled on my head while celebrating a touchdown, I've hugged strangers, I've high-fived everyone within a 5 seat radius.

I love sports.  I love competition.  I love winning.

I hate losing.

I love sports because they're black and white.  I'm a Bears fan.  You're a Packers fan?  Well then how about a big 'ol FUCK YOU?  There is a score and a definitive winner and loser.  When the game is over it's over.  When your team loses that's it.  When you're out you're out.  Nothing you can do will change that.  You lost?  Deal with it.  Do better next time.

If I'm at a sporting event and my team loses I'm cranky.  I'm  in a foul mood.  It ruins my day.  It's just a game?  Fuck you.  You know nothing.  It's more than just a game.

When you love sports, when you love a team, you are emotionally invested, and invested deep.

Their wins are your wins.  Their losses are your losses.  Why the hell do you think people refer to their team as "we"?  You ARE a part of that team.  You might now be down on the field with them, but your heart is.  And it breaks when they lose and it sings when they win.

Now the Bears better fucking win tonight or I'm going to be PISSED.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Little Lawyer

So my husband is a lawyer.  And when I say that, I don't just mean that he goes to work and earns his living by being a lawyer - I mean that his personality and the way that he thinks is perfectly suited to being a lawyer.  Even when we first met, long before deciding what he was going to be when he grew up was something he thought about, he was a lawyer.  My MIL has story after story about him using logic, reasoning and his skill at arguing to convince people to do what he wanted as as small child.

Turns out, we're raising our own little future attorney.

My Big Guy is already using logic and reasoning to try to get us to let him do things he wants to do.

He's three.

I'm scared for my future, mostly the teenage years.

It's hard to argue with his points sometimes, and it's upsetting that at the tender age of three we've had to already abandon "because I said so" or "because I'm in charge" as a reason why he has to do something.  He needs a REAL reason to do it, or there's a fit involved.

"Can I please go play outside?"

"No, it's cold and raining."

"Don't worry, I have a jacket and boots.  I"ll be fine!"

Well.  Shit.  At least he's polite about it.

It's a funny thing because it's both a source of pride and frustration for me.

I love that he's clever enough to try to argue with me, and proud that he's confident in his reasoning (he does usually make a good point).  At the same time, as the adult, I do know best in most situations and playing outside in the dark, in the rain, when it's 37 degrees out really isn't a good plan.  Plus, let's be honest - Mommy don't wanna go out there in that to watch you buddy.

"No, I don't want to go outside, it's too cold and wet."

"Put on your jacket and boots."

"No, I don't want to go outside."

"I can go by myself!"

Ah yes.  You can play outside on the driveway in the dark by yourself.

Honestly, he could.  He's a very mature 3  years old.  He never once has tried to run away, or play in the street or do anything more dangerous than climb on the top of his Cozy Coupe.

And you know, shoot at me, the cop, with a tire pressure gauge.  Deadly weapon that tire pressure gauge.

"No, you can't go by yourself.  If you go outside your brother will want to go out there and he can't go out right now - he's a sicky!"  (it was true, My Little Guy celebrated Thanksgiving with a ear infection in both ears and general misery all around)

"Ohhhh...  Can I please go when he goes to bed?"

I mean really.  Aren't I supposed to not have to deal with this until he's like 10?

Again, at least he's polite.

Finally I just say no, and tell him too bad, that's the way it is.  Of course the giant fit ensues, but the upside to having a child like this is that I can usually coax him out of the fit using logic.

"Hey, if you're being a giant fuss you can't be a rocket pilot.  Rocket pilots aren't giant fusses..."

Guess we better start saving for Law School, huh?