Windows frosty enough to write our names in? Yes. Puddles covered in enough ice to satisfyingly crack with our feet? Yes. But enough snow to make our footsteps creak, and to build a snowman? No. Not here. I tried not to get my children's hopes up too much but, truth be told, I was really wishing for snow as well. While we waited, and hoped - and checked the weather forecasts far too often - we distracted ourselves with some winter-themed play. We made ice-art by pouring water over shells into shallow containers - leaving them out in the garden to freeze, and we played Cars on Ice on our frozen water table.
We stuck cling-on snowflakes to our windows to entice the snow to North London.
We made a wintry playlist on itunes, read snow-themed stories and, with a mixture of silver glitter and white poster paint, my children made some fabulous snowy pictures.
But it still didn't snow. Until today.
When children are very small, snow is often a brand new phenomenon - like so many things, of course. But, as my two have had at least two snowy days in their lives, to them, the idea of snow has a dream-like quality based on memories and experience. They remember, vaguely, their surroundings being transformed by snow into a magical, sparkling white wonderland - where there were endless snowball fights, toboggan rides of Olympic-competition quality, and where exquisite snowmen were crafted by their own skilled hands without the slightest bit of snow seeping through their gloves.
Of course the reality of a snowy day is often far from this idyllic dream of day-long creativity, sport and wholesome Alpine fun. With young children especially, we have to make sure they're head-to-toe snow-proofed before even venturing out at all for a start, and even then fun in the snow can sometimes be surprisingly and disappointingly short-lived. Having said that, I was reminded today of how important it is to actually make the effort and get your little ones out there in it. Ignore the cynics who moan about it because they need to get to work (I did too, you know). Get out there in it as soon as you can. And PLAY.
You don't need much, apart from appropriate clothing, to play in the snow. Initiating making a snowman, or snow-castles, or snow angels, or mastering the art of snowball-making is often plenty for little ones to be happily and excitedly engaged for quite a while. Add buckets and spades, and twigs and leaves - and then you'll really get their creative juices flowing and imaginations flying.
And if you discover that your shell ice-art has been totally ruined and buried in the snow (oh well), turn archaeologist and dig out its buried treasure instead.
Snow is such a novelty here that UK children won't remember how cold they got, and how soon they wanted to get back inside. But they will remember every snow-day of their childhood - their snowmen, all those sledge (or tray) rides; their playtime in the snow. They'll remember each time as a special, perfect day - when the world was white, and they made the best ever thing out of snow and they played the best ever things you can play in the snow. They're good like that.