It gets cold here. Really really cold. This morning was -26 (that’s -14 to my friends south of the border). Now, where we’re from before we moved to the frozen Alberian wasteland, the coldest winter I can recall in Southern British Columbia was -16c (that’s 3degrees Fahrenheit). And the difference between dressing for winter there and here works out to about $200.00 a year minimum for a growing child. We used to get the next size up on winter clearance at WalMart on mittens, coats, snow pants etc. And they would do just fine. After -5, nobody wanted to go outside anyway.
Moving to Northern Alberta meant a major shift in our winter gear needs. Our first year, we started out with the warmest looking Walmart coat and the most convincing mittens and the poor kid froze his ass off at the bus stop. I had to send him out in layers and mittens under the mittens until I went out and forked over a couple hundred bucks on some Helly Hansen. That’s 40.00 just for mittens people. And knowing full well that he probably wasn’t going to fit any of it the next winter.
Now. How many 5 year olds do you know give a shit about how much their mittens cost? So after 3 or 4 trips through every lost and found bucket in the school and finally a new pair altogether, damned if I didn’t SEW THEM TO HIS COAT. He was horrified, and I laughed and laughed.
At the end of the first winter, I got wise. Week after week digging through the lost and found at school, I began to realize apparently I was the only parent who cared at all about mittens. And coats. And snow pants. I was seeing the same stuff- high end winter gear that made it into the bins and never ever got claimed. So on the very last day of school, at the very last hour before it was all gathered up and sent to charity, there I was shopping for next winter’s snow pants and mittens. Bad for my Karma I suppose, but a brilliant save to my wallet.
This was all back in my Super-Mom days. I had nothing better to do than make sure all the kids were suitably outfitted and could play outside in all but the nastiest weather. Between my own child and all the daycare kids I had, there were more than enough extra hats, gloves, scarves and one or two extra coats and pants to go around. The bin inside the closet was full of last years, this years, and next years winter gear.
Now, we’ve moved. There are still boxes and boxes of unidentified miscellany out in the garage- I started running out of motivation and space a few weeks in. In there, somewhere is the Winter Bin, although I suspect that my ever-growing mutant child will fit none of it. We did find some gloves, but after a few days it became obvious that they were not only too small, but had zero waterproof rating. It was time for new ones. So we bought him some really nice Head brand gloves- same as the ones his dad and I have. They’re so warm and fuzzy and waterproof and oh was he ever so grateful to have warm hands- for two days.
Yesterday I’m at the school pickup, dressed in my Frazzled Mommy best- tights and my warm work-boot socks stuffed into my lawn mowing sneakers and I see the kids come out and head in the wrong direction. I had been waiting so long already that I was moved all the way up to the school so I finally roll the window down and shout at them. “WHAT THE HELL!”
“We’re looking for my other glove” he shouts back. FACK.
I took the neighbor girls home and left him to wander in shame, still looking around for his bloody glove. When I returned I marched in and rechecked the lost and found, wandered the halls, double checked the locker, the office, the classroom and even the garbage cans up and down the hallway. No glove. I asked him “when’s the last time you had both of them on?”
It’s frowned upon to throttle your child on school property.
The short car ride home was long enough for me to shout him into tears. “DO I HAVE TO STAPLE THEM TO YOUR WRISTS!?!”
Parenting is hard. All you can do is try not to screw your kids up the same way your parents did to you. And find NEW and creative ways to screw them up.
It’s frowned upon to send your child to school in the winter without mittens.
We arrived home and I was still having a fit- I demanded that Husband not feel sorry for him and that he should also be angry and scold the child some more. No luck. Husband grew up in Alberta, and his dad was a jerk and did not buy them good stuff for winter, so he suffered, and thus felt for the child and would not stay mad like I wanted.
And while I was wracking my brain for an argument, and child was upstairs in his room feeling sorry for himself, it slowly began to dawn on me that I was being an ass. Slowly though. Every time I opened my mouth I wanted to shout about the damn gloves. And my mouth was having a hard time keeping pace with my conscience- which was busy making me feel worse and worse.
Eventually I headed upstairs to find he wasn’t sulking like I thought- he was watching stupid kid shows on netflix- and he tried to apologize again but I cut him off and said I didn’t want to talk about it anymore and gave him a big hug instead.
“I love you even when you lose shit”
“I know mom”
I told him his next pair would be bright pink and have the idiot string to go through his coat…
It’s frowned upon to deliberately humiliate your child in public.
I told him he better get his dad to buy him gloves before I got to it.