Wednesday, 2 March 2016

How Many Mittens Have Your Kids Lost This Winter?

It's March!  Winter should be shuffling off sometime this month.  I can't wait.

The thing I'm most looking forward to leaving behind (for maybe 6 months) is all the extra "outdoor clothes."  And all the "where's my _____??" that we do every morning.  Today we actually discovered Emma must have left her snowpants at her after-school care.  Lucky both girls have 2 pair!  (I will take some of the blame, as I do try to collect everything at the door, but some days the kids are so antsy to get outside that I just can't gather everything - time to learn to take your own stuff, kids!)

Today I want to gripe about mittens.  Do your kids lose mittens like crazy?  I can't say my kids "lose" them, more misplace and/or forget them.  We have to have about 3 pair of mittens or gloves (and I mean the cold/snow playing/nylon winter mitts) per kid, otherwise we'd be doomed to freezing hands.  And it was a struggle to buy a new pair each in early January (we're deep into winter so, of course, no stores have mittens) when we got holes in the ones from last year.  The new ones have holes now too, but that's another story.

I know my kids have cubbies and backpacks and their own spaces to keep things at daycare and at school.  So where do the mittens go?  Rose told me one day she left hers outside at recess.  Pretty sure it was cold out that day - why did you even take them off, kid?  (The answer to that was they were wet - ok, I'll give you that, but weren't your hands cold??)

Emma is a great helper for Rose to find things she's lost at school.  I'm not sure how many times Emma has gone through the school lost and found and retrieved items that belonged to Rose.  I tried at the beginning of the year to put our name stickers in every piece of clothing, but somehow that doesn't help them get found.  And then we had to buy 2 rounds of mittens over the winter and wear them right away, so I don't think they got labelled.

And then there's the storing of winter clothes inside my house - I have no room for hanging winter pants (2 pair each) and coats and then also store hats, mitts, scarves etc.  We have a tiny entryway - just big enough for the door to open - and then there's a set of stairs.  At the top of the stairs is almost immediately a set of stairs to go downstairs.

We use this little landing as our shoe and coat area.  It's not enough space for 2 kids in full winter gear to stand together and get boots on.  I've tried to organise with pigeon hole shelves and baskets, different types of shoe racks, and hooks behind doors and down the basement staircase.  We're as good as we're going to get there.  But all the mittens have a basket in my shelf unit that no one seems to know is there.  Hats and scarves go in another.  Grown-up winter gear has it's own slot also.  I know the system, I don't think anyone else here does.

This winter I've tried to get the girls to put their mittens on the heat vent.  You know the little cone shaped thingy that goes over the vent that you put your mittens on to dry out?  That's my landing space for any mittens worn outside. It's been working ok - until the morning that someone didn't do that (after I nagged 5 times the night before) and mittens are wet.  Cue the tears.  This is one of the many reasons we have extra (sometimes with tears in them) mittens around the house.

Anyway, the forecast for next week has plus 5 and 7 degree weather in it.  Let's hope we can downgrade to our fun knit mittens once the snow starts to fade away.  We have a ton of awesome knit "not for super cold weather" mittens that don't get much wear over the winter.  Guess they're our transition time mittens - although they don't work well in the wet weather of spring either.  Hmm...

Please share with me your family's winter solutions:  How do you keep mittens from getting lost or forgotten?  How you store all your abundance of extra winter outdoor wear?  How often do your kids forget snowpants or something at school?  I'd love to commiserate and share winter woes!


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