My son was ok with winter last year too. He happily rode along in his chariot on our ski trips, got back into the chariot after it tipped over and trusted us to continue pulling him. He loved riding around the skating rink and though we only tried it once, he was ok with sledding. Noah liked to walk in the snow and he rarely complained about the clothing he had to wear in order to stay warm. We have photos of Noah sound asleep in his chariot while skiing, not concerned with the cold temperatures in the slightest. We thought we had a happy snow baby on our hands.
Things started out well this year with our first winter hike back in October. Noah was enthusiastic about walking through Sundance Canyon in the new snow. We did some other hikes too and he didn't complain about the wind, cooler temperatures, or his clothing for the most part. Mittens were a bit of a battle but otherwise, it was clear sailing. I wasn't even sure Noah would remember his first skate of the season because he was blissfully sleeping for most of it.
True winter hit us in November with temperatures down to -20 C in the mountains and our last two outings have shown us that although Noah liked the shoulder season from October to November, he might not be as terribly fond of winter itself.
In particular, there are several things Noah doesn't like about winter:
Noah likes his fleece bunting suit that amazingly enough still fits him, his light puffy North Face jacket, his red baby mittens that barely fit him anymore and his monkey tuque.
Noah does not like his one piece insulated snow suit, any other hats or mittens (and we've tried many!!), his balaclava, his scarf, and his winter boots. He will however wear his hiking boots that are so small and tight on him I can't imagine them being comfortable. It's all about habit though with our son and he does not like new things.
We've tried many combinations of clothing and we just bought snow pants to go with the light puffy jacket so maybe that will eliminate the need for the snow suit. We did some repairs to the beloved monkey hat so that Noah can wear it again and I think he is starting to accept his boots. The mittens and face covering though is still a large puzzle.
Walking in snow
Noah was delighted with the snow we had on earlier hikes this season and enjoyed walking through it. Last weekend we went snowshoeing and we thought Noah would have a great time playing at the lake when we stopped for lunch. It was a very short hike to the lake and Noah still loves to be carried in his backpack so it seemed like a no-brainer for a fun day. Noah had no interest though in playing in the snow. He wouldn't walk or stand in it, and all he wanted was to get back in his carrier and in the car again as fast as possible. We are fairly hard-core with our sports and if Noah doesn't want to play but would rather just come along for a ride while we ski or snowshoe, I won't complain. I do think it's important though that Noah learn to like snow. We want to get him his own x-country skis for Christmas and we want to go sledding. We even thought about getting him toddler snow shoes.
Walking on ice or slippery surfaces
Getting Noah to walk across a parking lot that may have slippery sections means guaranteed whining and crying. I'm not sure if he's terrified of falling or if he just doesn't like the sensation of sliding. We hope he learns that controlled ice is fun though because I love skating and already have skates wrapped up for him for Christmas along with two books about winter. I am looking forward to holding his hand and pulling him around the lagoon near our house. If I were a kid I know I'd love to be pulled around a frozen lake while holding onto Mommy and Daddy's hands.
Wind and Snow in general
Every time I open the garage door after a fresh dump of snow Noah starts crying. His favorite saying these days is "all done!" He especially dislikes wind and blowing snow. Most kids are at least happy in their ski sled or chariot with the cover over them on windy days (of which Calgary gets a lot!) but not Noah. He hasn't let us cover him in his chariot since he was a baby. He wants to sit up and look around which causes the cover to rest on his face. If he's sleeping we can sneak the cover over him but that would be the only time. We hope that he'll like his new ski sled better and let us cover him in it because the cover is more transparent.
Doing anything with mittens on
Noah seems to think his hands are broken when he is wearing mittens. He won't hold a snack, a juice bottle, a shovel, a toy, or even play at the playground. He will ask for his mittens when his hands get cold so we have slight victory there but he won't do anything with them on. This is problematic when we are outside hiking, skiing or skating. If it's cold like it was last weekend and Noah takes his mittens off to eat a snack his hands just don't warm up again. We need to teach him that he can at least hold a granola bar, a cookie or a cup with his hands covered. Yesterday we went for a lovely walk and because it was above zero with no wind, Noah was able to take his mittens off to enjoy his snack and drink. We were all happy. Tomorrow might not be the case though.
I feel like all I've done is complain for five paragraphs so I'm going to conclude this story with some happy photos of Noah enjoying winter. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how to deal with some of the frustrations we are having. We can't be faulted with not trying to set a good example for our son or of not being enthusiastic enough about winter in front of him. I all but sing and dance when I'm out getting groceries to cheer him up about the snow. Actually, I do sing. The only thing I don't do is dance. Maybe that's what's missing. A zumba routine to the tune of Frosty the Snowman?
|Safe, happy and warm in the chariot last winter. Sound asleep and blissfully content.|
|The beloved monkey hat|
|The scarf wasn't so bad last winter nor was the Toaster suit|
|Cross-country skiing last winter with Daddy|
|Winter hiking last year and happy|
|Last winter's introduction to sledding|
|The one thing Noah loves about winter - the hot tub!|
|Shoulder season hiking this fall and showing interest in the snow|
|Sleigh ride on Christmas Day last year|
|Chasing ducks at the zoo last winter|
|The five minutes Noah was happy snowshoeing last weekend (notice the absence of his mittens)|
|Happy and without mittens|
|Playing with his friend last April - winter lasts a long time here in Calgary!|
|Playing in the snow last spring|
|More outside fun.|
|The only toy a kid really needs|
To follow more discussion on the topic of kids and winter, go to The Outdoor Baby Network. I started a discussion in the Forum.