There's a November chill in the air here in Boston. We've started waking up to frosty mornings and the last of the foliage falling from the trees. It's not winter yet; the sun still warms things up into the fifties most days. The Grape asks me, almost every night, when we'll get a Big Snow.
He's madly, deeply in love with the concept of a record snowfall.
He has no idea what he's wishing for.
We got bupkes last winter—one measly "snow event" that provided barely enough of the white stuff for two mornings of sledding. And by mornings, I mean the hour between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., at which point I realized we have a problem.
The Grape loathes cold weather.
Asks for mittens and a hat when it's fifty-five degrees outside.
Pleads with me to stop the wind from blowing in his face. (I know he won't think I have that kind of power much longer, so perhaps I should shut up and enjoy it.)
Demands to know why we cannot immediately stop whatever we're doing and board a flight to Bermuda.
I don't know where my little thin-skinned cold weather wimp comes from. I like winter. I come from a long line of winter people. My mother was a huge believer in the benefits of the outdoors. I could count on my fingers the number of days in any given year she pronounced the weather too inclement for outside play.
And yes, we lived in New England.
In elementary school, my brother and I owned enough foul weather gear to survive a North Atlantic crossing.
In a row boat.
And no, our present pickle has nothing to do with lack of preparedness. The Grape has layers and layers of first rate winter clothing to insulate every inch of his precious person from the elements.
Keeping with family tradition, I did my best to ensure that the Grape was a winterized infant. Like most Finnish kids, he took long naps snug in his carriage on some bitterly cold days. Outside was the only place my kid ever slept like a champ. I ignored incredulous glances from nosy strangers and congratulated myself on being off to a promising start.
This was important to me, because before the Grape joined us some three plus years ago, I was an avid skier. I'd like to get the Grape on skis this year. I have this idea in my head that skiing is a fun, outdoor activity the whole family can do together for many years to come, and I confess I've been looking at a good deal of snowy travel porn lately.
One of my friends remarked years ago that when kids turn three, winter starts getting fun again. They're finally coordinated enough to remain upright while wearing boots in a snowbank, and old enough to follow directions in ski school. Active vacations are no longer held hostage by the demands of an infant's onerous sleeping and eating schedule.
Still, I fret.
Am I doomed to have one of those whiny indoor kids who only wants to drink hot chocolate by the fire?
I also fear that skiing, like the Grape's earliest sledding experiences, will work out better in theory than in practice.
Yet hope springs eternal. Maybe if the Grape sees other kids flying down the bunny hill, smiling, laughing, begging to go again, he won't notice his hands are cold, his ankles are stuck in a not-quite upright and locked position, and his nose is frozen. Peer pressure is a marvelous motivator.
And if all else fails, we can always try to bribe him with hot chocolate.