Nope nope nope.


I love winter!

Adam, Olive and I are in Edmonton, Alberta right now. We are here to visit friends and family, and also because Edmonton in February is just THE place to be, obviously.

Preparing for this trip was kind of embarrassing. We had to dig deep through our wardrobes to find the most meagre shreds of warm clothing- toques, mittens, and a jacket that offered protection against more than a mild breeze and some rain. As I surveyed my jackets I realized that I hadn’t owned a winter coat, a REAL winter coat that could protect my fragile human body from the elements, in over eight years. That’s what living in BC does to you. I own three umbrellas, but no item of clothing that can offer me more than the most cursory covering.

Olive also needed to be outfitted for winter., and this was of course the more pressing need. We found her a great second-hand MEC snowsuit, and trolled kijiji for lightly used Stonz boots and warm mittens. I was excited for her to see snow – REAL snow that piles into drifts and sticks around for more than a few minutes before melting- and as I eagerly amassed this winter wardrobe I was surrounded with visions of her gleefully throwing handfuls of snow into the air, cheeks rosy from delight and the brisk winter air.

Well, you can see from the photo above that she was not having any of that shit.

 Olive, meet Winter. Winter, Olive.

The initial plan was to let her play a bit, then Ergo up and walk to a library about ten minutes away to stock up on books for the week. But, and I am not sure how I didn’t see this coming, Olive hates her snowsuit.

Actually hate doesn’t seem a strong enough word. Olive absolutely LOATHES her snowsuit. This seems to be a near-universal toddler trait so I am not sure why I thought she would love it (or even tolerate it) but I approached the situation with a sort of blithe naiveté that seems quite quaint when I reflect back on it.

It looked promising initially, I brought it out with a flourish and excited, high-pitched mom voice, “Olive! LOOK! It’s a snowsuit! Just for you! Oooh, and looook! It has a polar bear on it!”. She smiled and approached the snowsuit, started excitedly petting the polar bear. I got this! I smiled to myself. “Olive! Do you want to put your snowsuit on?” I asked eagerly. She nodded and smiled, and The Process began.

The Process, which will be familiar for most parents of toddlers, usually looks something like this.

  1. Catch the toddler.
  2. Lie the toddler down on top of the snowsuit.
  3. Look away for one second, one second, to grab mitts.
  4. Catch the toddler again.
  5. Lie the – now screaming – toddler down on top of the snowsuit again.
  6. Wrestle the toddler’s legs into the snowsuit bottom.
  7. Wrestle the toddler’s arms into the snowsuit top.
  8. Realize that you have forgotten to put mitts on before putting the sleeves on.
  9. Remove toddlers arms, revel in the brief cessation of crying as the toddler believes she is getting out of the snowsuit.
  10. Put the mitts on the toddler without accidentally bending pinky fingers.
  11. Wrestle the (now enraged) toddler’s arms into the snowsuit again.
  12.  Jam boots onto the toddler’s angrily flailing feet.
  13. Replace mitts, awkwardly tucking them back into the sleeves she has pulled them out of.
  14. Put hat on toddler. Surprisingly, she is OK with this.
  15. Replace boots that have been kicked off in a fit of fury.
  16. Pick up the toddler, who is now arching her back and going limp as a wet noodle.
  17. SUCCESS! Now you can go outside and have fun!

Look at all of the fun we had!



Sigh. So clearly my Winter Wonderland fantasies were not going to be fulfilled. We returned indoors to get saddled up in the Ergo and walk to the library. She was similarly impressed with this situation:


We got about two blocks before she went full exorcist on me. Twisting, arching, and finally throwing her head back and letting out a primal howl, a scream of indignation at the cold, the snowsuit, the mitts, the boots, the toque – the goddamn toque! She was so over all of that bullshit! Do you hear me! OVER IT.

In her frustrated flailing she blew a boot, and then a mitt, and then two boots and then, standing in the middle of a frigid Edmonton sidewalk in -18  degree weather, trying to pick up these assorted flying items of clothing with a snowsuit-clad Tasmanian Devil strapped to my front, I conceded defeat.

You beat me this time, Winter.

We made a hasty retreat back to the house, took off the boots and the mitts, the snowsuit and the toque. We ate homemade carrot ginger soup and read The Three Little Pigs over and over and over again. And hopefully, we’ll try again tomorrow. Winter has won the battle, but we will win the war!

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  • Reply Jenny February 3, 2014 at 6:14 PM

    OMG I laughed so hard reading this!! Bahahaha!
    Soooo been there but would never be able to articulate the scenario so well! Thank you!

    • Reply sweetmadeleine February 3, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      Oh glad it’s not only me! How do people do this EVERY day?!

  • Reply Deborah Calderon February 3, 2014 at 6:33 PM

    She had the same reaction to Santa. Hmmm. Might be a pattern, Santa, winter, snow. Better keep that child in the warm on the coast.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine February 3, 2014 at 11:23 PM

      Ohhh interesting theory! I will have to do further testing… Sno cones and sled dogs and such 😉

  • Reply Rachael February 3, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    Having grown up in Victoria and now living in calgary, I understand this all to well. Not funny. Too close to home 😉

    • Reply sweetmadeleine February 3, 2014 at 11:24 PM

      Isn’t it horrible? I feel like I’m not really a Canadian anymore without cold weather horror stories!

  • Reply Lindsey McDougall February 3, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    Awesome Maddy you hit the nail on the head with this one!! Haha

    • Reply sweetmadeleine February 3, 2014 at 11:26 PM

      Ha! If you (as a seasoned Albertan & experienced mom) have any tips to make The Process any easier, I am alllll ears!

  • Reply Corinna Dooley February 3, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    I’m in Edmonton too and the air did have an extra bite to it today. May suggest you take out the book “Thomas’ Snowsuit” by Robert Munsch at the library tomorrow!

    • Reply sweetmadeleine February 3, 2014 at 11:26 PM

      I think that would be an awesome book! And hopefully it warms up a touch, too!

  • Reply Valerah February 4, 2014 at 5:43 AM

    My guy doesn’t seem to mind him snow suit at all!! So funny….

  • Reply Heather H February 4, 2014 at 6:40 AM

    I like your description of getting her into her snowsuit. As a fellow Canadian and mother to a determined 2 year old, I definitely relate to this post but I think my daughter is just used to her snowsuit (since we live in Halifax and see a lot more snow than BC! ;)) She hated it a lot more last year (at age 16-18 months) than she does now…perhaps because she can play a bit more in the snow this year than she could last year. Thomas’ snowsuit is a great book though! Thanks for the laugh this morning 🙂

    • Reply sweetmadeleine February 4, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      Oh so there’s hope for next year? We will persevere 😉

      Sent from my iPhone


  • Reply Dana February 4, 2014 at 7:40 AM

    This cracked me up – reminds me of Randy in a A Christmas Story. “I can’t put my arms down!”

  • Reply jamieramirez February 4, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    next time, maybe give it about 2 hrs. to get her suited up, i mean. if you can put the stuff on her really casually and slowly, and always let her feel like she’s in control of the process, i bet she’d freak out less. or make it into an adventure or a game. and if she wants to regress and take items back off again, let that be okay. if she feels confident that she doesn’t *have* to keep anything on, she’ll likely be less resistant. maybe you can find that kid-universal costume-loving streak in the process (if she’s not too young). this is all theory, of course. but honestly it sounds like she was most upset about being wrangled & restrained & crammed, and then the suit, which continues to be a confining garment after the apparent struggle is over, makes it feel like the struggle has not actually ended (for her). sorry if i got all serious, but i just didn’t find this funny like some of your readers—i felt sorry for little red-faced olive. she looks positively devastated!

    • Reply Stephanie February 4, 2014 at 10:05 AM

      Jamieramirez…do you have children? If you do, sounds like you are blessed with freak of nature angel babies. I myself have tried Every version of the above you have so cleverly suggested, but sometimes it just doesn’t work.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine February 4, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      Aw! I felt sorry for her too, but I promise there wasn’t actual wrestling involved 😉 I kept thinking we’d just get the dressing part over with quickly so she could get outside and start having FUN! but once it was apparent that she was just not enjoying herself we went back inside and she was all smiles again. I’ll take your advice and try a bit slower next time, and I think just wearing it more often will help her get used to it.


  • Reply Stephanie February 4, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    We put our 3-month old in her snowsuit for the first time last week to go out in Colorado snow for the first time. She wasn’t too exhilarated the first time, but afterward she actually put up with it long enough for daddy to pull her around the back yard in the sled. I’m hoping since we live in this climate she’ll get so much use out of cold weather clothes that she’ll just end up resigned to the wearing of them eventually.

  • Reply Kate February 6, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    This post cracked me up! Hilarious! However, I have a 3 month old, so give it a year and I’ll know all about it!!

  • Reply Michelle February 8, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    We live in Queensland but have family in New Zealand. We went on our first snow trip when our eldest was 18 months – as a kid I only saw snow in books but thought it must be magical for all kids and I too had visions of tobogganing, snowballs and laughter. Nup; yodelling limp noodle. I thought why wouldn’t you pack up and move somewhere warmer rather than do this with a toddler every day? He basically curled up and refused to move every time we went outside, muttering ‘it cold. It cold’, and the only thing that reanimated him was a dip in the hot springs at Lake Tekapo. And then he didn’t want to get out!

    • Reply sweetmadeleine February 8, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      “It cold! It cold!” Oh, poor little guy! I saw a cartoon yesterday that summed it up perfectly: “The air hurts my face. Why do I live somewhere that the air hurts my face?” 😉

      • Reply Michelle February 8, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        Hahahaaa! So true! That’s why I DON’T live somewhere that the air hurts my face. He was fine the next time we hit thebsnow… 2 years later.

  • Reply Dawn September 11, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    LOVE this! Soooo Funny and true, definately have been there. Great job. Reading it, I thought your story was like Thomas’ Snowsuit parent edition. Our guy was the same, we developed a two parent mid air suiting technique that worked pretty well until our speedster first tried sledding, that incentive and his growing ability to navigate the suit once in it helped a lot. thanks for making day, I truly laughed out loud!

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