We ran into our three-and-a-half year old neighbor, Savannah, her mom, and one-year-old brother as they were on their way back from some junior sledding on one of the small hills around here. Savannah's mittens were wet and crusted with snow, and you could see that there was some snow packed down into the tops of her boots, too. (Remember how much that stings?) Her cheeks were red, and her nose was running.
Seeing her reminded me of how uncomfortable the snow can be when you're little. You don't really have the body awareness to stay warm and dry, and the cold, wet yuckiness inevitably sneaks up on you when you're playing. That and having to pee when you're wearing a coat over a one-piece snowsuit are real drawbacks to fully enjoying the snow when you're a kid.
We stood chatting with her mom when Savannah interrupted the conversation. "Excuse me," she said, so politely that we all turned to listen. "Do you want to know why my nose is stuffy?"
Of course we did. "Because I was crying before," she informed us. "My mommy closed me in my room, because I wouldn't follow the directions to get dressed, and I cried." If she was looking for shock or condemnation of her mother, she didn't get it from us. But we did nod sympathetically, I more so than the others.
"My gosh, Savannah, the same thing happened to me when I was little!" I told her. "My mom wouldn't let me come out of my room until I got dressed, and I cried and cried because I really, really didn't want to put my clothes on all by myself." To this day, I can still see the other kids in the neighborhood playing in our court, as I tearfully watched them out the window. The sunshine seemed so warm and bright, and their shouts and laughter so merry.
"What did you do?" she asked.
"I got dressed," I shrugged. She obviously doesn't know my mother. "How about you?"
"Yeah," she sighed, "Me, too." She paused and looked pointedly at her mother. "But I didn't like it."