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Winter wear is wearing on my ability to be a good pet parent

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Let's go out — no, let's go beck in. The Storm boys did not approve of the recent snowstorm.

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

The recent snowfall, along with residual ice, was hard on many people. But I suspect few had as trying a time as parents of young children.

With school out of session for most of the week, it is a certain bet that at some point parents had to listen to their children pleading, “We want to go outside!” Those of you shrugging and thinking, “So what?” likely don’t know what sending a child outside in the winter entails.

My mother used to tell a tale of getting her little angels ready to play outdoors during a Michigan winter. She would zip us into snowsuits, wrap our feet in two pairs of socks and stuff them into boots, tie on our scarves and pull on our hats and mittens. We would waddle out the door, and without fail, at least one of us would fall over in the snow and decide to come back inside, or worse yet, pound on the door and shout, “I have to go to the bathroom!”

On one particularly trying occasion, my mother had dressed and undressed us for the wintry day several times. When my brother Rob, declared he wanted to go outside again, my mother sat down on the staircase and told him, “Honey, I don’t think I have the strength.”

“Well Mom,” my brother declared, “Maybe you ought to try a little Geritol.”

For those of you not old enough to remember, Geritol was a nutritional supplement heavily advertised in years gone by. The commercials promised increased energy, which is why, I am sure, that my brother made his well-meaning suggestion.

My mother laughed whenever she told that story, although at the time I am sure chuckles were in short supply. I suspect our snowsuits were put away for the week.

I thought of Mom and her efforts after the recent snowfall, as I prepared my own two angels to go outside. Ollie and Einstein, my delightful little dogs, were eager to go for their usual walk. But getting them ready was no easy task. 

Neither of the Storm boys cares to wear either a sweater or a coat, yet I was not about to let them outside without some sort of covering. I had to fasten their harness on them, then detach their leashes. Their coats were layered on top of the harnesses and the leashes fastened through an opening on the back of the coats. Booties were a total failure, as they pulled them off as quickly as I put them on their paws. So they waddled out in coats-only fashion, only to walk a few steps in the snow then turn around to beat a hasty retreat to the house.

It was hard to blame the boys, as the days were icy cold and the snow seemed less like a cause for wonder than a dirty trick that Mother Nature had played on them. Still, as the days passed and the snow lingered, the struggle to get them ready grew more pronounced. They tried to wiggle out of the hated coats and, once outdoors, to skirt the hated snow, tossing me accusing looks over their shoulders. Yet they also kept standing by the door and whining to go outside. 

It was an endless loop of frustration.

Just before the snow finally began to melt, I sat on the floor, surrounded by little coats and leashes, while the boys paced impatiently. They had already been out twice, glared at the snow and trotted back inside in a huff. I distinctly remember thinking, “I don’t know if I have the strength for this.” 

I swear, I could almost hear my mother laughing.

I wonder if they still sell Geritol?

Contact Janet Storm at jstorm@reflector.com or 252-329-9587.

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