Not every kid loves a snowstorm
Originally published January 7, 2011
Unless you were fortunate enough to be out of town over the holidays, you probably followed the news from the national weather service very closely. A snowstorm was predicted for right after Christmas, and sure enough, Brookline got hit. The day after Christmas Brookline declared a parking ban, and for the last week of the year the town resembled a winter wonderland.
During the snowstorm, Nomi and I were curled up at home with Muffin and Squeaker, and they enjoyed staring out the living room window as the snow fell. Nomi and I shoveled our sidewalk on Sunday evening, even though the snow was still falling, and one of our neighbors took over on Monday morning when the snowfall was starting to subside. Muffin and Squeaker watched intently as he shoveled the walk, and encouraged him with frequent banging on the window. It’s not every snow shoveler who gets a fan club.
Last winter, when the kids weren’t even a year old yet, we had pondered taking them out into the snow. I had the bold thought that we could plant Muffin and Squeaker feet first in the snow, take some pictures, and then bring them inside. In the end, we decided not to expose our kids to the harsh winter conditions; I was still worried about surface area to volume ratios and how quickly a baby can become cold. And besides, last winter the kids weren’t really walking yet. I didn’t think they’d relish a chance to crawl in the snow.
But the kids are older now. They had just turned 17 months old the week before the recent snowstorm, and they’re now toddling around like, well, toddlers. So Nomi and I had the grandiose idea to expose our children to the joys of playing in the snow. After all, kids love to play in snow, right? At least, we did when we were kids back in 1978…
Over the previous weeks, in anticipation of unpredicted but anticipated snow, Nomi had gotten snow pants and snow boots for the kids. We’ve acquired a lot of clothing and toys for free from friends, but the problem with trying to get snow pants and boots is that most parents only buy one pair of each for their child.
We needed two of each; we’re always going to need two of everything. So Nomi ended up buying a second set of snow pants and boots for Muffin, as the set that we had gotten from friends fit Squeaker quite nicely.
So finally, it was time. Nomi and I put on our coats and hats and wriggled Muffin and Squeaker into their heavy winter wear. Clothing, check. Snow pants, check. Coat, check. Boots, check. Hat, check. (Shouldn’t it be spring by now?) We each picked up a child, took them outside, went around to the back of our building, and plopped them down onto the snow. Then we waited, anticipating the playful laughter and joyous giggling that we expected to erupt at any moment as the kids discovered how much fun they could have with snow.
You can probably already guess that that wasn’t quite what happened.
Squeaker slowly looked around at the snow, unsure what to do with it all. I think her thoughts went like this: Should I try to form a snowball and throw it at my sister? Maybe I should start building a snowman? Or maybe I should just stare at my parents with a blank expression on my face.
I’ll do that.
As for Muffin, she didn’t giggle or laugh. Instead, she wailed, quite loudly and impressively. Perhaps she was thinking of all those fairy tales where the parents abandon their children in the woods. Then again, I suspect it was more likely the cold that was bothering her. In the end, we declared the experiment to be “not exactly a success.” I snapped a few quick photos and we brought the kids back inside mere minutes after taking them outside. We then proceeded to remove the boots, coats, mittens, snow pants, and hats that we’d just struggled them into. Very quickly, they went back to their usual, playful selves.
It’s going to be a long winter.
This week’s column is written by Michael A. Burstein.
About this column: The adventures of two Brookline parents and their twin daughters, Muffin and Squeaker. This column originally appeared on the Brookline Patch website. Copyright 2011 by Brookline Patch.