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