I’ve always had a pretty deep seated dislike for winter. Mostly because I’m always cold and Steve’s always hot, and, well, open windows in the middle of January makes me cranky. Living in a neighborhood less than 15 minutes from almost anywhere we wanted or needed to be, I got used to dressing rather inappropriately for the weather. Hair doesn’t fit under a hat today? No biggie, the car heats up pretty fast. Can’t find my gloves? Oh well, it’s only a minute or two to get into the store. Boots aren’t going to last another season? I’ll survive with just flats and sneakers. (And by survive, I actually mean I went out as little as possible, and spent my days complaining about how cold my feet were.)
Last year, it was all I could do to keep the rabbits water un-frozen, and they were our only animals, in a shed less than 10 feet from the back door. This year, there are twice as many rabbits, plus ducks who both constantly need and are constantly wasting water, and goats who refuse to drink from their pan if it appears dirty at all (apparently, they have yet to realize that if you have hay hanging from your mouth while you’re drinking, it’s going to get in your water).
BUT! This year, we’ve got wool socks. It’s not a coincidence that Steve and I both found pairs of wool socks in our stockings on Christmas, and without conferring with each other first.
When hauling water out to the barn in single digit temperatures before dawn, there’s no way to pretend that winter clothing is optional. Now, I’m not talking insulated coveralls or boots with ice cleats. A fleece hat, a warm pair of waterproof gloves and a pair of wool socks have been instrumental in changing my views on winter. Even in the days last month that were subzero, having the appropriate apparel made all the difference.
Here’s the thing, though–I never would have let my kids out dressed the way I did! A down vest is not an appropriate substitute for a jacket, nor are flats reasonable footwear for trudging through four inches of slush. I’m still puzzling out why I don’t take the same amount of care with myself as I do with the kids. I force them into warm jackets and make sure everyone has hats and mittens before going out, but forget to put on my own coat! I make sure they each have a nicely balanced plate of food for lunch, then content myself with grilled cheese crusts and a few bites of leftover cantaloupe. But I came to realize that just like having the appropriate clothing for winter means that I am better to take care of our animals, I’m learning that having the appropriate tools for myself means I’m better able to take care of my family.
One of those tools I’d had sitting around for quite a while (just like that hat I never bothered to find last winter!). “Laying Down The Rails” is a wonderful set of books on instilling good habits early in childhood, that I’d originally bought to incorporate into our homeschool curriculum.
We’ve taken the first baby steps in the series this week, and I’m excited to share more about our homeschooling journey, and our efforts to include habit training as part of that, in my next post!