The temperature is falling, the leaves are turning, and I'm practically rolling in cider doughnuts and pumpkin-flavored snack foods. It's my favorite time of the year; and yet, I'm having trouble enjoying the season, because I can't keep myself from thinking about the miserable weather that's sure to be following close on the heels of the crisp, pleasant fall we've been having. I am not at all emotionally prepared to be the parent of two toddlers during a Wisconsin winter.
Snow pants, mittens, and jackets have been bought; sleds are waiting patiently in the basement; and there's a lot to look forward to in our first winter where the twins will be more on the "small human" side than "needy potato." Sledding at Elver Park! Christmas! The kids' first sips of hot chocolate!
But then I think of sidewalks to be shoveled and eaves to be cleared; I think of the inevitable dirty diaper created, as if on cue, the moment a child is fully enclosed inside a snow suit; I think of driving on icy roads with two little people strapped into car seats behind me. I think of how much I hated power failures before I had to worry about keeping kids alive during one.
And my concerns are hardly limited to the catastrophic. I'm imagining a case of cabin fever lasting from December to March, or whenever we get around to thawing out next spring. (There's no Polar Vortex III scheduled for next January, is there?)
Even if the first few snows will be fun to frolic in, by the time the pristine white turns mucky gray from all the road pollution and the temperature drops into the negative numbers, it's hard to find a lot of joy in the season, especially when your kids are too young to understand why their feet are cold, let alone to join you for some cross-country skiing or ice-skating. It also occurs to me to wonder, if we're going to be stuck indoors for four months, whether knocking Christmas trees over is hereditary. If so, I suspect we're going to have two pint-sized problems this December.
I shouldn't worry so much (although it's something of a habit with me, and not one that I'm likely to break myself of anytime soon). I should be raking leaves, enjoying the last few warm days, and perhaps driving around the state in a desperate hunt to find a grocery store that still has Sassy Cow's pumpkin spice-flavored eggnog in stock. Will winter be on the miserable side? Maybe. But we will load up the Netflix queue, re-light the pilot on the gas fireplace, and stock up on cocoa and tiny marshmallows. We'll build a lopsided snowman, wear three pairs of socks, and we will eat unholy amounts of chili.
And when we run out of cartoons to watch and of our warmest, fuzziest socks are all in the laundry...well, I don't know. What do all of you do with your toddlers when the Wisconsin weather situation turns grim?