It snowed for three days. I shoveled four times. And not once did my kid step outside.
Jeanne Sager: Oh, she wanted to. Each morning she woke up and ran to the window, screaming loud enough for them to hear in the next town, "It's snowing!" Hearing that I was heading outside to shovel, she threw on her boots and coats and grabbed her toy bulldozer. "I'm going to bulldoze it all," she announced. I herded her back to the living room.
I'd like to say it was because, with more than two feet of snow outside, I was worried she'd get lost in it all. I'd like to say I have a phobia about the snowplow taking out little kids. (And what with my uncle, the highway superintendent, telling me tales over the years, I'm not exactly lying.)
But here's what I don't tell people: I hate the cold. I hate the snow. Every morning I wake up in New York, asking myself, "Why did I move back here from the South?" (Drat those family ties that bind.)
Sending a 4 1/2-year-old outside to play in the white stuff means I have to go out, too. And have I mentioned that I shiver in front of my own refrigerator?
But here's my conundrum: If I let her go outside to play, she might show she's Mommy's girl and run back inside, shrieking that she's cold. Or (and this is the one that scares me), she might decide she's part polar bear and settle in for the long haul. And then what kind of mother would I be, denying her the very thing she loves?
So I've gone the safe route: My child doesn't play in the snow. Period.
Instead, we hung out inside last week, the tunes cranked in the living room so she could dance her heart out on her Hello Kitty yoga mat. She caked the dining-room table in Play-Doh (I'm still digging pink chunks out of the cracks). She played "boat" in the sink, and built giant LEGO towers that crashed into a gazillion little pieces due to lack of engineering.
My friends have a thousand and one Facebook pictures of their kids crawling out of snow tunnels, whipping down snowy hills and building snowpersons. I have a living room that looks like a bomb went off and a little girl with a new dance routine worked out for "Single Ladies."
I'm a wuss. But I'm a warm one.
|Jeanne Sager is a mom to Jillian and a writer from upstate New York. She's strung words together for Babble.com, Kiwi Magazine and AOL's Holidash, and she shares her award-winning weekly newspaper column on her blog, Inside Out.|