Baby,  Essay

Warmth and cold

We’re learning how to put on clothes for cold weather here. Feeling confident that Lux is warm when we’re outside makes an enormous difference in how I relax and enjoy the time. After an hour or two at the playground on an afternoon that was much colder than I realized, Lux was bone chilled and crying as a result. Clearly my internal temperature was no metric of hers. I wanted to rush back home and declare, we’re never going outside again!

But of course we went out again, only a few hours later. Long underwear, cotton t-shirt, sweater, jacket.

Hat, thrown to the ground. Plopped back on. Cheerfully tossed. Just as cheerfully tied, though not a strangle knot, let’s hope. Tugged, tugged, off again. “What’s the secret to the hats?” I ask my mentor-friend who runs our waldorf playgroup. “Repetition repetition repetition,” she replies. Ah.

When Lux was a newborn I found myself experiencing cloth on a new level of delight—this one is so soft, this one is so cozy, this one is so carefully stitched. Now again this happens to my senses, but this time I notice only: warm? Oh, is this one lined on the inside? Thick corduroy on one side, soft flannel on the other? I’m at consignment shops across the city spinning through the racks, digging into the bins, grabbing bits of sleeves between my fingers asking only: wool? But it’s thin thin cotton, 100 renditions of the same.

Do you know which items stand out on these hunts? The funny rumpled homemade sweaters, the ones with goofy rainbow yarn and crooked buttons. Those beam the promise of warmth as if each haphazard row captures a little more heat, kept close by your side.

Did you know they make smartwool socks for toddlers?

And the hunt does make you treasure what you’ve got. Shoes from a cousin that finally fit. Thin, yet soft sweaters, and why not just top it with another one? A red wool hat I picked up at a consignment sale. In a chance of 1/20 ,the register I ended up at was run by the woman who had brought the hat. “I’m so happy to see you take that,” she said “both of my children wore it for years.” A good one.

Do you have a few warm things you’re tugging out from under the bed, glad to see again?


  • joannabc

    nice sentence, RR: “Those beam the promise of warmth as if each haphazard row captures a little more heat, kept close by your side.”

  • Sonja

    It actually hasn’t been cold *enough* for a lot of P’s fall/winter gear. He gets very upset if he’s too warm and tends to run hot – he’s a lot more warm blooded than I am! I was happy to find out the one time he wore it that he does enjoy his hat 🙂 He actually asked to have it back on when it started warming up! I’ve found it depends a lot on the kid – some kids just won’t do hats. I personally am dreading the challenge of mittens, of which toddlers are infamously unfond. Ugh.

  • Bridget

    Another beautifully written post, my friend. And I’m with you. I’m fairly certain Parker’s never worn normal jeans before. They just seem too rough on their smooshy skin. Lined jeans, sweats, long underwear. I’m sure there’ll come a time, but so far, the softest of soft is what I normally pick.

    We just got snow boots for him the other day. Cutest. And I think Lux in her Hunters is about the most adorable.

  • Abbie

    Smartwool socks for toddlers? Dear me, just the thought of that is too much! I bet they are freaking adorable.
    I see you’ve gotten Lux a Patagonia down sweater- those are the best! I wear mine all winter long. I bet they’re even better for littles.

  • Allison L

    Dressing my babe for the cold has been a struggle for me too! Especially because the hubs and I can never agree on whether we are hot or cold (I am cold he is hot usually, except at night when it switches) She is also so small and most the winter jackets and warm things are 3-6 months, which are a bit too big for her still… and buying something for a month or two seems silly, but I can’t very well let her freeze.. so I better get a move on buying her some warm clothing especially because it is getting cold up here in Massachusetts!

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