Raising Minnesotans

There have been so many opportunities for little ones to experience the #boldnorth lately! From the glorious blizzard last month that brought the biggest one-day snowfall since 2012 to all the Super Bowl festivities now picking up speed.

The big-game branding has rendered us a new state motto that can double as a parenting mantra: Bold North. It’s intended to show our mettle as Minnesotans. As the website suggests: “We throw caution to the wind-chill.”

We’ve been seizing the snow, and when I feel tired from assembling ALL THE WINTER GEAR, I try to remind myself what we’re modeling: that winter is not just to be endured but embraced.

Maria was thrilled to have two consecutive snow days. She and Jane couldn’t get enough, so I strapped Archie into the carrier that gets so much use in the warmer months and threw my North Face parka over it, unzipped.

The girls' delight in the snow called to mind a new book we’ve been reading, Mice Skating, a 2017 release by the super-talented Twin Cities-based illustrator Teagan White. The protagonist, Lucy, relishes winter and is determined to share its joys with her indoor-dwelling friends.

She loved how the frosty air made her whiskers freeze. And most of all, she loved wearing her fluffy wool hat with the pink pom-pom on top. It did more than keep her head warm. It kept her heart warm, too.

It made her brave.

It made her bold.

It made her bloom!

There it is again: Bold North!

Last weekend we took the girls to the Hudson Hot Air Affair. We went for the 6:30 pm moon glow, and I was disappointed to discover once we arrived that it was too windy for the balloons. Instead, balloon owners simply blasted the fire, sans balloons. 

And yet, the girls had a grand time. The scene felt mystical to them. They danced around, swirling and spinning in the fire’s glow, then wandering through the snowy field.

It was a good reminder to not let your own expectations as a parent get in the way of your child’s broad notion of fun.

The girls were downright giddy (loopy?) to be staying up so late and, after a stop at Buffalo Wild Wings, performed a full-throated sing-athon on the ride home, taking turns making up tunes.   

“Thank you, Daddy,” Jane told Ted as we unzipped snowpants in the mudroom. “That was a great adventure.”

Yesterday we experienced the Super Slide at CHS Field in St. Paul, which runs through Feb. 10 and costs $10 per adult and $5 a kid for an hour. It was fairly congested; an hour allowed for four rides down the slide. (You’re allowed to go down with a toddler on your lap.)

Here are Ted and Maria beginning their descent (right lane). 

Afterwards we swung by the St. Paul Winter Carnival – the perfect backdrop for mulled wine.

They were giving away Dum Dums by the front entrance, and at this point, Jane needed the pick-me-up. 

Ted and I did too. But I love that we are demonstrating our grit: We don't let the cold and the dark keep us in. 

Maria thought she might have spotted a flicker of Queen Elsa inside the ice castle. Meanwhile, Jane loved the Poppy Troll sculpture. (Poppy and Branch will be at the Landmark Center this Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm.)

On the ride home we played a rhyming game – double points if you come up with an actual world. (Alas, only single points were earned for "unicorn.") Then Maria nodded off. #parentingwin #thatneverhappens

Back home, we warmed up by the fire, and Ted made egg sandwiches for our late supper.

The best part of winter play might be warming up afterwards inside. C-O-Z-Y. 

 

 

Related reading

Over the river and through the woods 

Inside our hot cocoa stand 

A cozy autumn read

 


Christina Ries is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and three young children in Inver Grove Heights. Write her at christina@mnparent.com.