warmth…

Baby, it’s not cold outside! I live in one of the coldest places in the U.S., Minnesota. It’s the butt of many weather jokes and the coldness is really, truly insane sometimes. Granted, I grew up in Texas and saw snow for the first time in college (staying up until about 4am watching it that first day). But, Minnesota cold is famous and rightfully so. Above zero temps are rarely seen in January or February (with super dangerous wind chills often) and, maybe worse than that, its almost always below freezing from October until April at least. That’s a long winter.

Then comes this year. Yesterday, it was 64 degrees, the day before 60-something as well. That’s crazy. Unheard of. It’s, I think, making us all nervous because we feel some evil trick just might be being played on us. Maybe this will be the worst winter in a hundred years? Please, no!

It’s so warm now and so very sure to be cold soon and this got me started thinking about warmth. I’ve read some wonderful stuff on warmth lately (see links at bottom) and I’m working away on some mama-made wool long johns for the kids (more to come on that later), so warmth is on my mind. Kids need to be kept warm. Everywhere I go, even here in “Siberia,” I see little kids and babies without hats, gloves, coats, even socks and shoes. This is much more of a problem on the in-between days like today when its 40, 50 or even 60 degrees and us adults can just throw on a jacket and deal with the uncomfortable cold. I mean, really, when its 10 below, no one forgets their baby’s shoes!

Children desperately need warmth in any cool weather and even inside the home. When they are cold, little ones don’t notice (especially if they’re having a good time!). The problem is that their energy is being used more to warm their bodies than to learn, grow, digest or stay healthy or any of the other things their bodies should be doing. Cold sends us humans into a shut-down survival mode, preserving essential functions to protect life but certainly not operating optimally. Children cannot retain body heat like we can, so even when an adult is comfortable a child may still be freezing! My rule of thumb (from much reading on the subject) is that if their hands and feet are as warm as their chests, they are warm enough. We achieve this many ways: -socks all the time in cool months
-slippers or indoor shoes inside the house (we’re working on this)
-wool hats and/or hoods and gloves outside (ear coverage is essential),
-scarves (post coming soon about Z’s new scarf)
-wool long underwear (or sometimes tights)
-lots of layers of natural materials (a few thin layers trap heat better than a thick layer, thanks to this post for that info), this means wool undergarments, cotton shirts or dresses, wool sweaters or vests, etc
Kids might protest these measures at first if they’re not used to it, but its our job to do what’s in their best interests! And, I definitely notice I have happier children with better attitudes when I have truly warm children.

Of course, warmth has other meanings. Our food is warm (think: hot soup) and warming (think:spices) during these cold months. And, we keep our homes warmer. We pull out the warm blankets and drink warm beverages. We sit by a warm fire. And, hopefully we treat each other and our children with warmth (this is, of course, the most important kind of warmth, and a year round goal to be certain!).

So, even though its not really cold here yet, we are dressed warmly enough and trying to cultivate all kinds of warmth in our home and our lives!

Some good links about warmth:

The Parenting Passageway: here and here
Are So Happy’s Warmth Week
Flowering Child
Rhythm of the Home
and, this article

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