Snow – when is enough enough?


Well, that was quite an interesting day.

Let’s have some background first, shall we?

Amber’s at home from nursery for a few days.  She was sent home on Monday with the usual “very high temperature” – not unexpectedly as she’s had a steadily worsening cough for a week or two now, so we thought we were probably pushing our luck taking her to nursery.  Fortunately the Lovely Melanie was working from home yesterday so she picked Amber up and managed to get her a doctor’s appointment that same afternoon, the result of which was some antibiotics for Amber.

This caused nursery to invoke yet another of their little-known rules regarding when they will and definitely will-not take a child (honestly, they’re worse than an insurance company sometimes!).  Rule number 27b/6 – if a child is deemed to be on antibiotics they shall not be suffered to enter unto the nursery until three times 24 hours hath elapsed.

So I had to take a day off work and look after Amber.  Which, to be fair, worked out rather well since the snowstorms that have been sweeping the country finally swept into Bexley last night.  We have a good few inches of snow outside at the moment and all our temperatures have minus sign in front of them.  The Lovely Melanie had to walk five miles to get home from work tonight (no, really – thrown off the train at Hither Green they were utterly abandoned by Southeastern Rail and left to fend for themselves in dark, freezing temperatures and heavy snow.  Disgraceful.)

Anyway, there’s the back-story.

Millie wandered into the bathroom while I was showering this morning and took a few seconds to realise what I meant by “Have you looked out of the window?

When she did realise and ran back to her room the shrieks of delight were a joy to hear; I thought I loved snow, but you forget how astonishing and transformative snow appears to small children.  Millie was excited and pleased and curious about the snow, but Amber was utterly bedazzled by the sight, seeming almost not to believe it as she looked out of her window through barely awoken eyes.

And the journey to school with them didn’t disappoint either – both of them oblivious to the cars struggling and skidding up the hill, to the still falling snow and the cold.  I could’ve watched them for hours, but school’s only round the corner so we arrived far too quickly, despite taking the long route.

Arriving ten minutes before school started and being almost alone in the playground Millie begged me to build a snowman, but we’d barely gotten started when a teacher manning the doors started calling to me: “Dad, I think they need to come in now.  Come on, they need to come in…

Bah.

So Amby and I returned home, damp, snow-covered and a bit chilly.  We waited an hour or so for our coats and gloves to dry out before setting off for the village.  I have some things I’ve sold on eBay which need posting as they’re already marked “Dispatched” on the site – naughty me!

About halfway to the village – normally a 20-minute walk – I started to realise it was actually pretty bloody cold and that snow and ice were building up on Amber’s coat, scarf and gloves like they do in films set at the North Pole.  My fingers were going numb even in my gloves and the lack of any buses on the road meant that we couldn’t simply jump on one of those if we got a bit tired or chilled.  I kept a close eye on Amber after that and tried to walk a bit faster.

It was very quiet out, only the occasional car attempting to make it along the treacherous roads and most of those having difficulties – we saw a queue backed up behind one car that was having real trouble making it over a speed bump!  Fortunately Amby was in good spirits sat upon my shoulders (the buggy had been a complete non-starter in this weather) and fascinated by all the footprints in the snow; she claimed, for a few minutes, that they were all hers.  Or mine.  Or Millie’s.

Sadly, when we finally reached the sanctuary of the local post office the counter was closed and my parcels remain unsent.  Next we tried the local bakers’, where had a bit more luck and bought some emergency supplies (cakes and fresh bread).  The journey home, being uphill, was quite tiring, and I had Amby on my back all the way, so I was pretty glad to get back indoors again and put all our once-again wet clothes back on the radiators.

Then we sat back in the warm and watched the snow cascading down outside.

Amber slept well in the afternoon, and so did I; so well, in fact, that we were almost late picking up Millie, whose school emailed asking parents to please come and collect their children early if at all possible.  Millie, of course, emerged into the snow with no gloves or hat, shoes on, wellies still in their bag and coat flapping open in the wind.

The first thing she did was try to eat some snow.

Once we had her wrapped up (and I swear even the newly-hardy Amber looked slightly contemptuous of Millie’s preparedness) it took us about 25 minutes to get home, with me pulling Amber along and nagging Millie the entire way.  Both of them swore, when we got home, that they wanted to go out and play, but just 30 seconds indoors soon dispelled any such nonsense.

Hats, gloves, coats, scarves and shoes were once more placed on the radiators to once again dry and we sat back to wait for the Lovely Melanie to return home – which, as I mentioned, took far longer than normal. 😦

Just before bathtime Amber and Millie wandered into the bedroom and I noticed Amber seemed to be eating something.  I should’ve known better than to ask, but ask I did.

ME: What are you eating, Amb?

MILLIE: She’s eating toothpaste.

ME: Sigh.  Toothpaste?  Amb, why are you eating toothpaste?

MILLIE (casually): She got it out of the toilet.

It was said so casuallyI almost missed it, then suddenly remembered that I’d cleaned off all the gunk around the top of the girls’ toothpaste this morning and thrown the sticky remains down the loo, where they’d been stuck to the bowl all day…

I think I shouted at Amber for about five minutes whilst I roughly cleaned her teeth (with toothpaste from the tube) and scrubbed her hands – “DIRTY GIRL! NAUGHTY NO! VERY NAUGHTY! DIRTY! NO! WE DO NOT EAT TOOTHPASTE FROM THE TOILET!”

What kind of world do we live in where people need to be told not to eat old toothpaste from off the bowl of the toilet?????!

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