Day 3: A Snowy Day in Twizel

by Mary Beth

The next morning was Saturday morning. We have a tradition of pancakes on Saturday morning. Not having all the ingredients we needed (and the weather looking gloomy, with a cold steady drizzle) we decided to go out for breakfast. The girls were very excited. Annie planned to order pancakes.

“And what do you want, Coco?” I asked her.

“Cake!” said Cora.

“You can’t have cake for breakfast!” I pointed out. “You could have eggs, or oats, or something like that.”

“Cake! Cake!” said Cora. Then she thought for a moment. “Tsawka!”

“You can’t have chocolate for breakfast! You crazy baby!”

“Chocolate! Chocolate!” cried Annie, laughing hysterically.

“Tsawka!” Cora repeated. And when I asked again later, “Butter!” she said.

While we were eating breakfast, the chill rain turned into snow. Peter was very excited. Annie was somewhat excited. Cora, who had never really seen snow before, had no interest in it at all. She was more interested in trying to climb onto my lap, and from there onto the table, which was laden with uneaten bits of French toast and eggs. Her father took her outside to feel the snow on her face any hands. She felt it. It was not that exciting. It was just cold. The parking lot did, however, have puddles. She was very happy.

I had been planning a forced march through the rain on a nearby trail, which supposedly ended in a kettle hole. None of us knew exactly what a kettle hole was; we just knew it had something to do with a glacier. I thought it would be worth hiking towards, even though I knew it would end in tears, as hikes always do.

But with the snow, we were unable to reach the trail head. We tried, but the road was not plowed. You can imagine how disappointed the rest of the family was.

So we bought a sled instead, and found an expanse of rolling snow-dusted hills at the southern edge of Lake Pukaki. Cora fell asleep minutes before we arrived, so Annie and I went sledding and left Cora and Peter in the car.

Annie had very little interest in sledding. She had two goals: to eat snow, and to build a snowman. “Not yellow snow, though,” she said, repeatedly.

It was just as well, since the cheap little sled we bought didn’t really fit both of us; when we tried to ride together we just sank into the snow and sat there. It was too scary for Annie to sled by herself. So we built a beautiful snow lady named Gemma and Annie ate some snow.

Then Cora woke up, so she and Peter tramped out over the frosty hills to join us. Cora found this traumatic: being taken out of the warm, cozy, dry car and exposed to the bitter cold was awful. She cried.

Then Annie realized that she was getting chilly. Some snow had worked its way into her gumboots and they were wet and cold. She wanted to go back to the car. 

But Cora had just stopped crying, and Peter didn’t want to go back to the car yet. “Come on and let’s show them that hill over there where we tried to sled!” I said excitedly to Annie. I wanted to take Cora sledding to see if she liked it.

“I want to go back to the car,” Annie wept.

“No, no, c’mon, just a few more minutes!”

“I want to go back to the car,” said Annie.

“Want to-”

“I want to go back to the car.”

“-show them the-”

“I want to go back to the car, I want to go back to the car, I want to go back to the car, I want to go back to the car, I want to go back to the car.”

“Just a few minutes!” 

“I want to go back to the car! I want to go back to the car!” She slumped into the show, sobbing the words out.

“Ok, you just wait there, I’m just going to-”

“Mommmmmyyyyyyyy!” Annie cried, her voice rising to a desperate pitch of sadness as I took Cora and the sled.

I put Cora in my lap and we sledded down the hill. She was not impressed. I tried to sled with her a second time, as Annie cried into the snow in the background. Peter tried sledding with her, too. Cora put up with this for a little while and then started to cry. Eventually, we caved and went back home. We had a hot bath, a movie, and popcorn, and the girls were happy.

Later on in the afternoon, I asked Cora what she wanted for dinner, and she said “bottoo rum.” Later she changed her mind and requested “wicky”. It is lucky she still lacks the pronunciation skills that would allow strangers to realize she is asking for whiskey. Otherwise her daycare might become concerned.

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