Confession: A tiny part of me hates the Santa Claus parade.
Ok, that’ a lie. I don’t hate the parade. It’s yearly pre-parade battle I hate.
“I’m not wearing snowpants!” shouts my seven year-old daughter.
“It’s freezing outside. We have to dress warm or we will freeze,” I say.
“I don’t care!”
“Well, I care. We’re all dressing in our warmest clothes or we’re not going.”
Stomping, tears and more complaining ensues.
I lock eyes with The Hubster and mouth the words, “Merry Freakin’ Christmas.” I make our secret sign for “we’re drinking later” knowing full well we will be asleep on the couch long before any bottles of wine get uncorked.
I’m about to sound 80 years old here, but why is it that kids never want to dress warmly enough for the weather? It’s one of the many great unknowns of parenting: Why do kids hate the crusts? Why can’t the broccoli touch the carrots? Why does that creepy Elf on the Shelf get away with playing nasty pranks when everyone else in the house is supposed to be on their best behaviour for Santa?
Unfortunately, the battle over warm clothes is not reserved just for parade night. My daughter and I have been re-enacting Thomas’ Snowsuit for several weeks now.
“I’m not wearing my winter coat!” she shouts.
“It’s minus 11 with the wind chill. You have to wear it,” I say, putting it on her and zipping it up.
“I hate it. It’s too big and there’s a big rip in it.”
I sigh silently. The kid has a point. I bought the jacket a little big so she’d have room to grow and she had it only a few weeks before one of the seams got caught on a piece of playground equipment and ripped.
I curse myself for not knowing how to sew, repressing nightmarish memories of being baffled by the sewing machine in Grade 7 home economics class. My mother ended up finishing my quilted handbag the night before it was due.
I’ve tried letting her wear what she wants to school on a cold day in the hopes that she’d get really cold at recess and learn her lesson. Wind-burned cheeks and chapped lips, she arrived home and admitted she’d been really cold…..but still demanding to wear her fall jacket and no hat the next day. I can’t stand the thought of her shivering through recess, so I persist in forcing her to wear warm clothes even though it makes our mornings quite stressful.
“This is a great coat. I’ll get the seam fixed on the weekend,” I promise and send her unhappily out the door.
Maybe she just needs to see a big dump of snow on the ground in order to feel good about wearing her winter coat. I hope she’s ready to call a truce soon because I am out of battle plans.
On parade night, after much protest, my daughter stood before us wearing snowpants, a warm sweater, a scarf, mittens, a hat and winter boots. She was ready to face anything winter could bring. Finally, we were ready to walk out the door. Santa Claus, here we come.
“Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom,” she whispered.
Li’l Girl Talk
“I’m not walking with people who are talking about vaginas!” shouts The Youngest, age 7, objecting to the topic of conversation between her sister and me as we take the dog for a walk.