Colorado offers a pretty quick transition from sunscreen to snow pants and each year it happens, I feel unprepared. When the first snow appeared last week I remembered why dressing three children is like working backwards.
It goes kind of like this: lay out winter boots, snow pants, coats, hats and mittens in three separate piles. One child actually comes when called and starts putting on boots first. We take the boots off, start over and put snow pants on first.
My kids are at the ages where it is still physically demanding to dress them, carry them, feed them and clean up after them. They are getting older and more independent, but each time winter comes around, the reminder that we not quite there yet is as obvious as a zipper to the neck.
The second child shows up, kicks his brother’s pile across the room and the mitten goes under the couch. The third child puts his mittens on first and then has the dexterity of a spatula.
Sometimes we wear matching mittens, but I have them convinced that the more colors we wear, the brighter we look in the snow. But, honestly, it is usually too hard to find both blue mittens on the same day.
The second child gets hot waiting for the others and takes his coat off. The first child has his snow pants on, but they are backwards. We ignore the backwardsness.
Snow days are so much fun. We love sledding, making forts, looking for animal tracks, sneaking up on neighbors, hot cocoa with marshmallows and snowball fights. Love of winter lives in my Alaskan veins and I hope when they grow up, they will remember the snowy days as much as the summer days at the pool.
The third child doesn’t like the hat I put in her pile. It is too itchy, she says. The second child is sweating from the effort of layering.
At least this year, all the boots fit.
And finally we have everyone dressed and ready to play, and that is when the first child has to pee. And that is what we call working backwards.