Daddy Talk: Dressing for the Weather
My two boys now have a smart speaker in their bedroom, and one of its most consistent and useful functions is to help them select the day’s wardrobe. If you happen to be passing within ear range when they wake up, you’ll hear, “Alexa, what’s the weather today?” It’s a valid question, especially in the dead of winter in Mississippi. Because who knows. It could be 75 or 25 degrees.
I know that we’re all acquainted with this irregular cycle. The eccentric weather trend will continue until the late days of March when, typically, summer begins to set in and we’ll all turn on our air conditioners for the next eight months. But it is amusing watching the kids being forced to adjust as they start making their own decisions about how to dress.
I first noticed the humor on Christmas morning. If you’ll recall, it was about 15 degrees on December 25, 2020. Our kids received some “major” outside gear on that morning. Namely, our driveway became home to a basketball goal, and the kids got rollerblades, which they intended to use to play street hockey.
Upon learning about the basketball goal, Tanner immediately ran out into the driveway with only a track suit on to shoot some hoops. He came back inside about 40 seconds later upon realizing that the basketball was actually an ice brick from an igloo. Isaac, itching to get on his “street hockey” gear, bundled up more deliberately and spent a surprisingly long amount of time scooting up and down the street on his new skates, hockey stick in hand. Given the amount of gear, if any neighbors happened to glance out at the frosty scene, they probably thought Goldberg from the Mighty Ducks movies was prepping for a new season.
Of course, our photos from two days after Christmas show everyone wearing short sleeves and enjoying the sunshine. And this is why the smart speaker is so helpful as we’re now into the school semester again. But we grown-ups know that even with a morning briefing, it’s hard to stay on top of what’s going to happen. I’ve used various weather apps on my phone for years, and I still end up at work sometimes with the wrong coat, or no coat when I should have one, or I’m looking out the door at the rain saying to myself, “It wasn’t supposed to rain today,” as if that assertion could immediately clear up the skies and change the weather.
But the most difficult child in our house to get suited for the weather is Lydia, the six-year old. She has often dressed herself, but nowadays, she does not seem to take our advice as easily as she used to. On freezing mornings, I may get her out the door for school successfully with a jacket, but by the time I drop her off at the curb, she has stuck the jacket in her backpack, insisting on walking inside with no outer covering to keep her warm. She tells me, “I don’t need my jacket,” and she obstinately walks past the incredulous teacher assistants through the biting wind and into her kindergarten class (where, I hope, her teacher is not writing up some sort of child welfare report about neglectful parents). Perhaps for Christmas next year, we’ll get her a smart speaker, so she can at least pretend to know what the weather will be doing each day, just like the rest of us.