Coating My Son

I’m convinced my 2-year-old is part reptile. That’s the only logical explanation. The little dude is never cold so he’s got to be adapting to his environment like a cold-blooded crocodile.

I don’t know how many times I have fought him this winter to put a coat on. Normally he’ll flop around on the living room floor like an oversized fish out of water while I yell at him and chase him around with his coat in my hands. He’ll scream, cry and arch his back so it’s virtually impossible to put his coat on.

He usually walks to the van in tears because I pinned him down and made him put it on. What am I supposed to do, let him freeze? I was particularly firm about his coat-wearing habits in December when he had a cold. I wasn’t about to let him make it worse just because he was being stubborn.

But sometimes my willpower is low and I have to admit that I have let him go to the grocery store, church or even out to eat coatless. You should see the looks I get from strangers as he shivers his way inside.  I know what they are thinking, “Buy that kid a coat for heaven’s sake!” I’m surprised no one has taken pity on us and slipped me a $20 as coat-investment money. Little do they know about the battle we undergo each time we leave the house.

Seriously, the child has a very nice winter coat and at least a dozen jackets he refuses to wear.

But winter weather attire isn’t the only warm protection my 2-year-old shuns. He’s been boycotting blankets and covers his entire life. He refuses to sleep with anything but pajamas covering his tiny body. Sometimes I try to cover him with blankets when I kiss him good night while he is sleeping. Then, only minutes later, I hear him thrashing through the sheets as he rolls out from under their imprisonment.

He must be a lot warmer than I am.

I know it is my obligation as a good parent to keep him safe and healthy, but how much do I infringe upon his freedom to insist that he does what I want?  I usually make him wear a coat, but I’m not about to straight jacket him into bed at night because I think he’s probably cold. Maybe he’s not.

Things are actually getting better as far as coat wearing goes. I recently convinced him, now that winter is almost over, that his basic tan coat is actually a hunting/army combination jacket. It has a large ranger badge on its side sleeve that helps validate my story. Sometimes now when I tell him we need to get our coats on he’ll scream, “I want my badge one!”

Now I know he’s not wearing it for the right reasons. He doesn’t care that it’s keeping him warm. He’s wearing it because the kid loves to dress up. He thinks he’s in costume and I’m okay with that.

We have a lot less fights than we used to. And that might lead to fewer glares from concerned, yet clueless, strangers about the welfare of my children.

Luckily, it’s almost spring.

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