Baby its Cold outside…Maybe?



Its 7:45 and I’m heading out the door to bike the kids to school. I’m wearing a hat, a long down coat, mittens, and a scarf. My 9 year old is wearing a hoodie. There was a frost last night. It’s a balmy 30 degrees out right now.

“Hey Bud, think you’re missing something…”
He grabs his helmet. “Okay let’s go.”

This is new. A year ago he’d put his jacket on because he was cold and knew he’d be colder once he started riding.

Has aging a year really made him dumber? His younger brother once tried the bike ride without gloves and stopped mid-way to put them on claiming he was too cold. So… does the six year old have the knowledge that the 9 year old doesn’t? My mind is boggled.

Maybe written in the DNA of being 9 years old is a “don’t wear a jacket “gene.

My 9 year old is not the only 9 year old wearing an inappropriate amount of outerwear. Recently I watched a pair of brothers on the playground roughly the same age as my boys. The oldest was wearing knee socks, gym shorts and a t-shirt. The youngest was wearing a down coat, a hat, and gloves. So could it be that it’s less about warmth and more about the age of control?

Is choosing what to wear in the winter allowing my 9 year old is spreading his wings? If I allow him to make this choice will he feel confident making other choices knowing that I trust him to make this minor one?

So I’m given a decision to make… I could force the norm on him: When it is cold we wear coats, and hats and gloves. Or I could allow him to make his own choices: learning by natural consequences. I have all these options and no real answers. Honestly I see college students standing in snow storms wearing shorts and Birkenstocks. So clearly it is possible he’ll be in his 30s before he wears a coat and an appropriate pant length. Will anyone want to marry a guy who purposely wears shorts in 20 degree weather? Will I never have grandchildren? I digress. Our day continued with the following conversation:

“Do you have gloves and stuff if you feel colder later?”

His back arches ready to fight “Yes! In my backpack!?!”

“Ok. Great. Lets go.”

I make my choice and close the door with my arctic clad 6 year old and my inappropriately dressed 9 year old biking to school.

Sometimes the hardest part of being a parent is shutting up and letting them learn.


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