It always starts off with the same argument.
“Is it even worth it?”
“No. But what’s the alternative? Being stuck in the house for the fifth day in a row?”
“Yeah. But it’s just so much work. So much thankless, unpaid labor. And I’m just so lazy.”
“Exactly. You’re lazy. In the end, this is actually the easier way.”
“Look, you can once again spend the day sitting on the floor playing peek-a-boo for HOURS upon HOURS, making precious memories and junk but slowly going insane in the process. Or you can leave the house and have strangers entertain him with their googly faces while you play Trivia Crack on your phone. It’s your choice.”
“Do you want the weird hermit baby who doesn’t know how to act in public because while his brain was forming vital connections he only had you for company?”
“You’re right. You’re always right. We’ll…(sigh)…we’ll leave the house today.”
Now, one, this above argument is between myself (Gollum ain’t got nothing on me, precious). And two, it has happened pretty much every day since winter started.
It’s the burden of every at-home parent. Once winter hits, you’re stuck between a home and a snow drift. Suddenly, leaving the house turns into a Herculean task. Only worse, because Hercules never had to stuff five chubby, squirming fingers into a tiny mitten (and then spend an additional 20 minutes looking for that other goddamn mitten, which was JUST RIGHT HERE).
But not leaving the house means ten plus hours of trying to entertain your baby so that he forgets that all he really wants to do in life is hurl himself down the stairs right after he pulls your steaming hot cup of coffee off the end table and unto his still somewhat soft skull.
Which means leaving, even if it’s just to go grab a cup of coffee with a firmly gripped lid, is the lesser of two evils.
And so it begins.
First, I have to take off his pajamas. Because he’s always wearing pajamas. Because I’m always wearing pajamas. Because it’s winter and the part of my brain that cares about non-elastic and footless clothing is hibernating.
Then on goes the onesie. Followed by the baby version of yoga pants. Then real pants on top of those (or, in most cases, just slightly bigger baby yoga pants because baby jeans still have buttons and I, in pure white girl form, literally just can’t even right now). Then a long sleeve shirt. Then that sweater with the bunny on it which is too big but I don’t care because it’s cute and it’s the only thing clean that least clashes with the slightly bigger baby yoga pants (I mean, it still clashes but like a purple and red kind of clash as opposed to a neon orange and zebra print kind of clash).
Then on goes one Batman sock. Then the other. And then the first one again because in the time it took me to put on the second one, he has already pulled off the first one.
Next it’s the snow pants, which may seem like overkill but I made the mistake once, ONCE, of not dressing him warm enough on a particularly cold day and his howls of cold-induced pain haunt me to this day.
Then comes the shoes, which is what I imagine stuffing a turducken is like, only worse because one, the turducken is not alive and wiggly, and two, at least with turducken you get to eat it afterwards and there are VERY strict rules in the U.S. about eating your baby’s toosties (I looked it up).
Then comes the five minutes where I just sit there internally debating whether to put on his big, heavy-duty, puffy winter coat or the thinner, more stream-lined yet slightly less warm pea coat. Because while I should put on the big coat, the straps of the stroller don’t fit over it and so then I’d have to adjust the straps. And I hate doing that. Mainly because I don’t know how. And so I just fiddle with them for an exasperating 12 minutes until I’m red-faced and screaming “Screw it!” and go back to what I did every other time, which is to make them stretch within an inch of their life over the big puffy coat. But even though I’m successful I feel bad because they are probably too tight over the baby so I take him out, take off the puffy coat, put another sweater on him and put on the pea coat.
Can’t forget the mittens. Which is like trying to herd five violently independent worms into a space the size of a grape.
And then…the piece de resistance. The piece very resistance. The hat. Which according to my baby’s scream is made of pure fire and not wool, no matter how much it looks and feels like wool.
Yes, in the time it takes to get my baby fully in his winter gear, Frodo has already gone to Mordor, dropped off the ring and is busy saying his slightly homoerotic goodbyes to Sam.*
And that’s not even counting all the time and effort involved in taking everything off once we actually get somewhere, or the struggle to find a place to put the huge pile of tiny human outerwear, or the struggle to repeat the entire process and get it all back on, only this time with a judgmental audience who all have Twitter accounts and camera phones at the ready.
The good news is that spring is only 44 short days away.
I’m crying right now. I know you can’t see it. But I am.
*Please forgive all the “Lord of the Rings” references. It’s on in the background while I’m typing this and I’m too lazy to come up with actual, decent metaphors when Peter Jackson is just lobbing slow groundballs at me.