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I Don't Let My Kid Play in the Snow

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It snowed for three days. I shoveled four times. And not once did my kid step outside.

kid playing

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.



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13 comments so far | Post a comment now
Robin March 2, 2010, 8:13 AM

I am totally guilty of this. I hate being cold. Why do I live in Cleveland? Heck if I know. My son plays in the snow for the 5 mins it takes me to get the baby out of the car, tops. In my defense, on warmer days that have snow on the ground I’ll entertain the idea, but normally it is so bitter around here that I cringe going to the mailbox. I don’t think my son is deprived, the last time I took him sledding he got down the hill once before he got snow on his face and screamed the whole way home. We do plenty of indoor physical activity in the winter and spend the entire summer outside, so I’m not too concerned.

Dara March 2, 2010, 9:26 AM

What’s wrong with letting her outside while you watch from the window? So, if she hates the cold she’ll be inside like she is now. If she loves the snow she can help you shovel and play while you watch from inside.

Mother of 2 March 2, 2010, 10:33 AM

I find it to be very unhealthy for children to be shut indoors. I live in Montana and the kids have lots of fun building snowmen and forts and they love it.

Christina March 2, 2010, 11:10 AM

Didn’t you already write a variation of this article? Get a grip and let your kid play in the freaking snow already. If you don’t like it, watch from inside.

Gail Cooke March 2, 2010, 12:45 PM

I think it’s a bit outrageous not letting your kid play outside in the snow. If the kid doesn’t like it, fine..let her play indoors. But just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you should infringe on your child’s experience…it’s doesn’t seem right.

Anonymous March 2, 2010, 5:31 PM

Helicopter Mom?

deaddrift March 2, 2010, 8:58 PM

That sucks for your daughter.

Leah March 3, 2010, 6:51 AM

Way to be a bad mom!! Seriously, get a freakin’ snow suit (yes they make them for adults) and go outside. No one hates cold more than I do, but I would NEVER deny my child the joy of playing in the snow or deciding for themselves they don’t like it.
You sound pretty lazy and selfish

? March 3, 2010, 10:33 AM

What is wrong with you?

? March 3, 2010, 10:34 AM

What is wrong with you?

Chrissy March 3, 2010, 10:37 PM

Dara - good suggestions. I agree.

Anonymous March 4, 2010, 7:59 PM

Soon, she’ll be in school and end up playing in the snow. Enjoy the warmth while you can, I guess!

Sam May 27, 2010, 4:50 PM

Kids need to be outside no matter what time of the year. I say bundle up the both of you, and go out. When you’re out shoveling let her come out to play. Sit in the garage with a space heater and watch her from there if you have to. Limit her outside play to like an hour if you must. But still, children need to be outside. Snow or the cold isn’t going to kill you (if you’re prepared for it).


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