My parenting patience is directly related to the temperature. The colder it is, the more frustrated I am. Two kids, three errands to run, ten degrees and windy outside, infinite layers of clothes needed, and zero children are ready in time.

It’s school vacation week, and Hubby is away. Thursday is my day “off” with the kids, so they had to come with me to the animal shelter, the pharmacy, and the grocery store in the morning. For this, our first outing of the day, I managed to stay calm, despite significant delays secondary to a sudden craving for Cheddar bunnies, an overwhelming need to finish a Lego creation, and the wrong socks.

Then, the layers. We can’t even step outside without full gear, including snow pants. These kids cannot resist climbing the mountainous banks, slamming into the snow walls, dumping snow on each other. Just walking from the back door to the car will require me pulling at least one if not two kids out of too-deep piles and cleaning snow out of their necks. I have to bring extra gloves because the first set gets wet within one minute.

So it takes forty-five minutes to get out the door anywhere. We made it to the shelter, the little building dwarfed by the snow in the photo below. The kids love playing with the kitties, helping to brush them, feeding them too many snacks. But then, they get hot, and they want to take layers off. Uh- uh, I said, No way! It took too long to get all those layers on in the first place!

But, they insisted, and so layers came off, with lots of tugging, pulling, and yanking, only to go back on again within thirty minutes. More tugging and pulling and yanking. Ugh.

Once we got home, I didn’t want to go anywhere else. So we stayed in most of the day. Our planned activities were over and done within an hour: we made rice krispies treats, played with modeling clay. What next? Sure, some free-play, Legos and magnetic tiles and talking animals. But really, there was a whole lot of Curious George involved. I know the AAP recommends no more than two hours of screen time a day for kids, but when it’s this cold and annoying out, on goes Curious George.

This evening we had to go out again, and it was much, much colder. The kids again pulled their snow-day dawdle. I froze. When Babyboy went for another snowbank base jump despite my order to GET IN THE FREAKING CAR, I picked him up and put him in the car. I had my gloves off so I could get the kids in the car seats. He was covered in snow, so my hands got wet. He struggled, so it took an extra long time to get him buckled in. My hands were close to frostbitten, or at least, they felt that way; as they thawed, they hurt so badly, I got nauseated.

Of course, I dream of the days when we’ll be able to go outside without putting any layers on at all. I know my parenting skills will improve…

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