Snowman Redux: Chicago dad learns from last winter’s mistakes

This week’s blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with Professor Foster ( his “Brown Mom” wife), and their daughter Viva, who does, indeed, want to build a snowman.

Last year, in one of our more popular “WDP” blogs, I chronicled building my two-year-old daughter’s first snowman with her. While the snowman was built, it didn’t go so well. But just as Frosty’s last words are, “I’ll be back again some day,” winter has returned, and with it, snow. My now three-year-old daughter’s desire to build a snowman has also returned, despite my lack of snow pants and extreme dislike of the cold. (Thanks a lot, “Frozen.”)

This year I was determined not to make the same mistakes as last year, and I didn’t (make the SAME mistakes). Here is our story:

11:30 a.m. – Snow is packing perfectly, and it’s not too cold to play outside. Today is the day we build another snowman.

12:00 p.m. – Five Guys Burgers and Fries. This year our blood sugar will be high and no one will want a snack midway through construction. It might be $22.50 for two cheeseburgers, a large fry and a pop, but damned if anyone is going inside mid-build. “Did you tell Mommy we are here?” Shhh, kid.

1:00 p.m. – We’ve laid out a carrot, last year’s ten vintage buttons, a scarf, and a TOP HAT. The benefits of building in a Two Musical Theatre Professor Household is that sometimes you have old top hats. There aren’t many other benefits, but sometimes there are top hats.

1:15 p.m. – The secret to a snowman that lasts … an endoskeleton! Viva and I get bamboo poles from the garage.

1:20 p.m. – “Look, Daddy, I found the arm sticks!” Good snowman building is a long game … in October, Viva and I hid some great “arm sticks” in the shrubs. We’re like a cross between squirrels and Dr. Frankenstein.

1:40 p.m. – Perhaps my snowman building reach has exceeded its grasp – I might herniate every part of my body lifting the thorax of this snowman onto the abdomen. “Are you okay, Daddy?” If I fall down, Viva, toddle for help.

1:50 p.m. – Our snowman is a monument to our ingenuity and hard work. We’re nearly finished and I’m looking it in the button eyes. “It’s so tall, Daddy!”

1:51 p.m. – “Oh no!!! Can we rebuild it, Daddy?!” Our snowman is a monument to our hubris. Like a frosty Tower of Babel or icy Icarus wings, we’ve built it too close to the sun, and it has toppled over. When I see Viva’s lip start to quiver, I assure her we can smoosh it back together.

1:52 p.m. – This time the endoskeleton starts IN THE GROUND. No toppling.

2:00 p.m. – Now only five feet tall but much sturdier, we have rebuilt him. We had the technology.

2:01 p.m. – Viva tells every passerby, “We’re building a snowman!” My heart swells with pride … and Five Guys.

2:05 p.m. – Arm sticks in, buttons on. Carrot in.

2:06 p.m. – A passerby notes aloud (snarkily) that we are using a baby carrot instead of a full-sized carrot.

2:15 p.m. – Finish burying passerby in the shrubs.

2:16 p.m. – Begin trying to get three-year-old to smile for a picture with a snowman. Three-year-old realizes that making it difficult for Daddy to get a good photo is one the few ways she can exercise power in this world.

2:19 p.m. – Three-year-old patience limit exceeded. “Can we go in?” “I don’t want to build a snowman anymore.” “Can we watch cartoons now?” “When is Mommy coming home?” I just need ONE good picture … don’t you know I have a BLOG?

2:20 p.m. – I guess I have a photo?

2:30 p.m. – Inside drinking cocoa and wearing pajamas. “Next time it snows, Daddy, can we make a snow girl?”

“Of course we can, Viva.”

“With long hair like mine, Daddy?”


Time to Google “snowman wigs” and watch the forecast.

If you enjoyed this essay, subscribe to the WDP podcast (One of Podbean’s 10 most downloaded Parenting Podcasts worldwide and an iTunes staff pick for best Parenting humor) for free on iTunes, or listen at (Do note that the show has a potty mouth and is definitely for Over 17 Only.)

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