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temperate parents, dealing with cold weather, whoa!

Bundled_in_frosty_cold
Tuesday was the first day I'd had to take the kids out on the bike in this cold, cold weather and I did a great job of bundling. Hats, scarves, double layers of pants and socks, mittens... I was so proud of myself! I sat Monroe and Truman on the back of my mamabikeorama and headed off to preschool. Luckily the road was open, because a few blocks away from school my load suddenly got much lighter and my bike wobbled. Monroe, trying to hold on with his fat slippery mittens, had fallen off.

So that was the first bloody face of the cold snap. His lip and chin were scraped, but he'd recovered enough to be put back on the bike (in the bike seat between my handlebars for good until the weather changes, I decided) after about 10 minutes. Our second bloody face came Wednesday, when Truman decided to check to see what his dad meant, exactly, by "that spot that looks wet is actually icy." He came home to me with the worst bloody nose I've seen in years.

It must be easier for parents of more regularly frozen climes; are they born with an innate knowledge of how to adjust to the cold? I feel so inept. I'm glad I've learned these lessons (no slippery mittens on the back of the Xtracycle, hold a kid's hand the first time he discovers an ice hazard) without permanent injury. I've been scouring thrift stores for snow boots and kids' ski pants and wishing I was more prepared. How have you been dealing with the cold weather? Are you finding any of your regular rhythms awkwardly (or delightfully) changed? Is there any gear you love and can't do without? Have you been surprised with any bloody lessons?

One thing I love is how thrilled the boys are every day when they go outside to ice crystals and frost in the shadows, it's magic to them and I confess to longing for last year's snowy quiet.

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I had to hide the dang crocs as they're the only thing my 3.5 y.o. would wear, and w/out socks! I consider it another mommy accomplishment in my book that she is now wearing her smartwools and shoes!

BTW, I'm from Iowa. The thought of riding a bike in this weather is insane:O) But I do wish you good luck.

I'd recommend "little hotties" hand and foot warmers for longer bike rides. They last up to 8 hours and you can buy them by the case at Costco.

I knit mittens for my boys last winter that have a slit in them for fingers to come out. This way they can hold on to bikes, bars, that kind of thing, but pop them back in when they need warmth. My oldest got his with an open thumb top as well. They have gone over well.

I have to admit though, I've been very grateful for alternative transport to my bike this week. I knew I could bundle them up warm enough, but I don't have a good hat for under my helmet, and it was just too darn cold for my liking! You're a trooper!

Our girls learned quickly that the cold was no joke this week. I feel like they were prancing around in their sweatshirts (no jackets) just last week. I am glad for the cold, cold weather, as it forced them to really bring their scarves, hats, and gloves. And, one of them said her gloves weren't warm enough, so I have dug up the snow gloves. They have also been doing leggings under jeans.

Their hands have been chapped red and their lips have been peeling. So, they have also taken to carrying a little lotion and lip balm in their school bags.

As for me and my new little man, we are pedestrian/joggers for transport. He is in a jogger with a wind cover, in a doubled-up fleece suit, with two blankets. He doesn't complain; he just goes right to sleep when we head out for errands. I could probably use an extra layer of leg coverings.

I was having a conversation with another parent and my daughter's school yesterday about recess when it's so cold. I was asking her if the kids were making it out this week and she was telling me that in a lot of cases, if there are a couple of kids not dressed properly for the cold, the teacher will have to keep the whole class in. It made me realize that a lot of parents going on the whole natural consequences thing of "Well, if he/she insists on his/her ballet flats/sundress/t-shirt/crocs/no sweater/no coat today, then he/she will be cold and learn a lesson" may not realize that the inappropriate dress of one or two kids may be keeping all twenty-five in rather than having those one or two be cold. This is sort of off topic, but I felt like it was worth bringing up. As someone who regularly wages morning wars over pants, boots and winter coats when the weather is cold, I find it more than frustrating to learn that mine and my husband's efforts to ensure our daughter has a warm and toasty recess may be wasted.

We've been bike commuting all week (see http://www.technoearthmama.com/2009/12/low-temperature-cycling/ for our wardrobe), but today I have the day off, and I think I'm going to drive to the grocery store. I've had enough!

Anon, as far as recess goes, I see your point, but it's also possible that if we (I'm a school employee) took unprepared kids out for recess, their parents would become angry because we didn't keep them in. It's hard to know what will happen, so we err on the side of safety (which should trump natural consequences anyway). And frankly, at my school probably half the kids are NOT adequately prepared for sub-freezing temperatures. Many have thin coats and no hats and mittens.

Restoration Hardware has hand warmers that are re-usable, toasty and cozy feeling. Coleman also makes one. I used to work in Alaska and often had to stand outside in very cold conditions, and this was a really nice comfort. Also it's nice to have a reusable rather than disposable one.

We just have a regular jacket and hat for our son and mittens, he's just 3. But, we ask them to keep him inside during the day because he gets nosebleeds from the cold (or, rather, I believe the switch from warm to cold/dry). I hate to do it, because I like being outside and so does he, but once the nosebleeds start, they can get more frequent.

What I learned in Alaska is that it's very important to keep hands/fingersfeet/toes from getting too cold. They get too cold pretty quickly, without one's realizing it, and even a light frostbite has semi-permanent damage. You will always be more susceptible to it. The thing with kids is, they don't always know they are too cold. Please really protect their hands and feet/toes. Don't make them learn a lesson.....

Speaking of school....my daughter's school had a fire alarm malfunction on Monday, and the entire student body ended up standing in the cold for 30 minutes--without jackets--you don't stop by your locker when the fire alarm is blaring!--until the building was cleared for reentry.

Yesterday the 7th grade science teacher took each of his classes outdoors for about 20 minutes to demonstrate something, but that time they were able to retrieve their coats first. But with some of the footwear and clothing choices these kids make--especially the middle school girls--I know some of them must have been freezing!

Moms of little kids--just wait until they are older. We can bundle them when they're little, but it just amazes me how the older kids--especially middle and high schoolers--would rather freeze than eschew their "cute hoodie" for a jacket that might actually keep them warm and dry.

Kathleen,

I think you misunderstood me. I have no issue with the teachers. They are making the only choice they can.

Hi,
The begining of this week averaged 6 degrees in the morning. Today it was warmer, 27 and snowing. Here is what I do. First my Xtracycle has studded snow tires. biketiresdirect.com has them at a reasonable cost and well worth it. Second, glove liners under the snow gloves, its great if you need to take off the glove for a minute, 3rd face mask, keeps the asthma away, beanine under helmet. Today it was fleece baseball hat with earflaps. Kept the snow out of my eyes while riding. Ski goggles help too. Though for night time riding I am going to have to get clear ones.
Leg and arm warmers also work great, they slide on and off quickly and add and extra layer of warmth. See Pearl Iszumi.
As for the kids and coats at school thing...I work at a middle school and we told kids that at 6 degrees if they did not have a jacket or came in shorts we would be calling home, instead we were running to the store to buy kids jackets who could not afford them. We live in Tahoe where cold weather is the norm but the economy is keeping many parents from being able to buy the essentials their kids need. If you have extra donate to your local school. You would be amazed at the need.
Thanks and good luck this winter, dont give up.

We live in MN and it has been cold this last week. My kids are young 4.5 yrs and almost 2. So we go outside several times a day but for not that long. We have to build up our tolerance. Today it's 22 degress and my 4 year old stated that it's HOT out. I also throw their outdoor clothes in the dryer to warm up before going out when it's below 10.

I want to second what Beth said, for some kids not being dressed weather appropriate is a choice, for others it is not, they may just not have the clothes they need. Especially here in Portland where we sometimes don't get any cold weather, parents may not be able to justify spending money on "snow clothes"

As for those with stubborn kiddos like mine who like to "choose" not to do coats/hats/mittens. I just shove it all in her backpack ... our house rule is you don't have to wear it, but you have to take it!

Also, Neutrogena Norwegian formula hand cream does wonders for treating AND preventing chapped cheeks. I put it on my little guys cheeks and chin before heading out in the cold.

CHAP Art Factory in The Pearl at 11th & Marshall has Columbia Ski Gear, including ski pants, jackets - for prices as low as $5! All the proceeds go to CHAP (Children's Healing Art Project). Most of the clothing is 3T and for older kids (these are master samples donated to CHAP directly from Columbia). Anyway I stocked up for my 3 year old and we made Christmas Ornaments while we were at it!!!
chap.name
Happy Winter!

Thanks Erika! I am going to check them out, it pays to read the back posts. I just dropped $39 on a winter coat for my 2 year old it KILLS me that he is only going to wear it a few times. I mean they cant wear it in the car seat and what is the point for the trip to the car then from car to where ever and back?? What they need to make is a jacket with a zipper in the back and or a hood that go in the front or back of the jacket.

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