Winter Woes

6 Nov 2011 Ruth L Snyder

Snow on branchesWinter has never been my favourite season. Perhaps it has something to do with spending most of my early years in southern Africa where the temperatures only dip below the freezing mark once or twice a year. Or maybe it’s the fact that I hate layering up – it seems like such a waste of time! I can relate to the frustrations young children feel in winter.

The other morning I was reminded of my distaste for winter by the reaction of one of my sons. It was time for my children to head out the door to catch the bus. “Time to go,” I called. The house was filled with last minute scurrying – picking a favourite toy to stuff into a backpack, finding the correct pair of boots. “You need your winter jackets today. It’s cold outside,” I reminded. Four of my children obediently put on their winter jackets. Levi put on his spring jacket. “No, Levi, you need to wear your winter jacket today.” He avoided my eyes and continued to get ready for school.

There are some things you should understand about Levi. He likes consistency. He also has sensory issues which make it challenging for him (and his caregivers) when it comes to new clothing.

Levi allowed me to take off his spring jacket. However, when I started putting his winter jacket on, his body suddenly had an attack of Rigor mortis. None of his joints worked. “Levi, feel how soft your jacket is inside!” His eyes told me he would put up with whatever he had to, but he was not happy about this new jacket. I sighed. He had gone shopping with me to pick out the jacket. He had tried the jacket on in the store and commented about how good it felt. But somehow this morning, when he needed to wear the jacket, he had forgotten all about how good it felt.

After five minutes of cajoling and bending stiff joints, the jacket was on and zipped. As I stood up, Levi deftly unzipped the jacket and slipped it off, leaving it in a heap at my feet.

I decided to let him make the call that morning. I restated that he needed to wear his winter jacket and then walked out the door. As I gathered the other kids around me at the end of the driveway, I wondered if Levi was going to miss the bus. A couple minutes later I looked towards the house and smiled. Levi was walking down the driveway. He had his mitts and toque on… and his winter jacket 🙂

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