Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mittens Are For Wusses

I have lived in Minnesota forever, so the fact that it gets cold in the winter doesn't come as a shock to me. Trying to get the kids to realize that it's cold outside, and not warming up anytime soon, is a different story.

It is now the end of January, and there has been snow on the ground for two months. It has been cold since November, and even though we have a thermostat by the back door, there are still mornings when Charlie and Zoe will ask me, "Do we need to wear mittens and a hat to school?" Zach, however, doesn't ask me this question, because since he is in junior high, it would be stupid to wear something that keeps your hands warm.

A couple months ago when the wind chill was below zero, he walked in the house from the bus stop and immediately put his frozen hands under warm running water. I casually asked why he didn't have his mittens with him because, you know, mittens have been known to keep hands warm when it's windy and snowing.

"I have them, in my backpack. I just didn't feel like putting them on." Is there really any mystery as to why I rarely have sympathy for these kids?

Since then, I haven't bothered to bring up the fact that he should be zipping his coat, wearing mittens, or maybe even (gasp!) putting a hat on. I am, however, pathetic and nice enough to give him a ride to the bus stop on the mornings that it's 0 degrees or colder, because believe it or not, it's actually easier for me to drive him two blocks then it is to see him walk out the door with an unzipped coat.

Last week, as he was headed out the door, I had a moment of weakness and mentioned that he might want to pull some mittens on because not only was it cold, but it was also icy, and if he fell then he would end up sticking his bare hands in a snowbank.

"I don't need mittens because I have these things on my coat called pockets." Oh, how I love dealing with a smart ass first thing in the morning.

"Yes, I see that, but if your hands are in those pockets when you fall, you will end up with your teeth embedded in the sidewalk. Can't you just put the mittens on?"

"No, because I'm not planning on falling."

I was going to say something like, "No one ever plans on falling," but then I realized that would make me sound like one of those old people that annoyed me when I was a kid. The clueless, boring person that says things like "kids these days" and "you'll catch a cold if you're not careful!" If I'm not careful, before I know what hit me I'll be eating an early bird special of chicken fried steak wearing one of my mint green pantsuits. Even though I occasionally yank a gray hair out of my head, still text "you" instead of "u," and am known as a nag, I don't want to be thought of as an old nag.

When my kids were little and driving me crazy, well-meaning old people, when they weren't talking about the weather, always told me "pick your battles." So since we live in Minnesota, not Antarctica, and I know that standing in the cold for two minutes without mittens won't cause permanent damage (and I have made the wise decision to just shut up about it), I'm happy to say that the mitten battle is officially over. Besides, if his hands get cold enough, he can just put them in his pockets.

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