While the East Coast has been covered in snow all winter, Portland has been eerily sunny and dry. But that all changed this past weekend, when we got snowed on for 3 days in a row and saw more snow accumulation than at any point since I first moved here 15 years ago. Of course, schools were canceled, everything shut down and it was one big party in the neighborhoods. People in Portland don’t bother to shovel their sidewalks or their driveways when it snows because they know they won’t be driving anywhere. Instead, the streets turn into runs for cross country skiing and sledding. David was in 65 degree San Diego at a conference but the kids and I were having a lot of fun playing outside.
The snow was very dry and powdery. Not the best for making snowballs. But that didn’t stop Julian, Joe, Nicholas and Leo from pummeling Leo’s dad (one of the nicest and most fun fathers on our street).
Here are Julian and Joe enjoying popcorn and a fire in Joe’s back yard.
And here are Pepper and Amber taking a break from sledding on their sidewalk.
Do you see what I mean about nobody bothering to shovel? Nutmeg doesn’t look like she’s smiling in any of these photos, but she was actually having a lot of fun too. It was the first time she’d ever seen snow and she thought it was very exciting.
Here’s the hill right behind our house- a sledder’s paradise! You can see Zack in this photo too, wearing the jacket that a kind friend gave him after her own dog passed away.
And here’s where my story takes an unexpected turn and gets really sad. Here are my kids about to set off on their first ever sled ride down the hill, on a sled that one of the neighbors lent them.
You can see that Nutmeg looked a little suspicious from the get go. Unfortunately I totally underestimated the danger that sledding could present, and also underestimated Julian’s inability to steer the thing. They went straight into a parked car and Nutmeg must have hit her leg on something. She started screaming and was uncharacteristically inconsolable. When I got her home, I realized that there was something wrong with her leg and she was not putting any weight on it when she stood (and screaming a lot when I put her down). She was also completely exhausted so I let her take a nap and asked one of my neighbors (the one with that nice husband who let the boys pummel him with snowballs) if she could take a look at it when Nutmeg woke up. Ann is a physical therapist, not a doctor, but she introduced me to the term ‘toddler fracture’ and said we should go to a hospital. By this point all the urgent cares and pediatric clinics were closed so I made a 9 am appointment for her at Zoomcare and David got home that night and was able to take her to it. She ended up at the ER because Zoomcare couldn’t take the necessary x-rays.
That’s when we learned that sweet, uncomplaining little Nutmeg had a fractured tibia and would be wearing a cast for the next several weeks. They put a temporary brace on her leg and she’ll get a more permanent cast when the roads clear enough to get her a doctor’s appointment.
Here’s Nutmeg in her snowsuit with a big sock over the cast so that she could go out for a walk on David’s back.
Since Nutmeg isn’t smiling in any of my photos, you might not pick up on how CHEERFUL she has actually been. It’s a little uncanny just how good humored and sunny she is, considering that her leg must hurt and also that she has completely lost her mobility and her hard won toddler independence. She can slither along the floor dragging her leg behind her if she really wants something, but it is pretty hard work and so she’s confined to sitting most of the day (or being carried around by us). She has been a trooper and has made the very best of a difficult situation.
Julian is working hard at being nice. He reads with her and sings her favorite songs to her.
And he has sat on the floor with her to play with her trains and doll house.
When Julian’s friend Sigga came over for dinner, Nutmeg desperately wanted to play with them. They all got into the pirate ship together and we nicknamed her ‘Pegleg Meg’. Here they are with their fiercest pirate expressions.
It is challenging having a two year old who can’t walk anymore, but it feels like such a blessing to have one who is so good natured and sweet. Meanwhile, the snow and ice are starting to thaw. School is canceled for another day tomorrow but the roads should be clear by Tuesday. There’s nothing like a snowstorm to make you appreciate your neighbors. We’ve felt so grateful to ours for their friendship and their support in the past few days.