On winter, and toddlers

Posted by Stacy Chandler on January 23, 2014 

Nora checks out the falling snow (and possibly is looking for Santa) just before bed Tuesday night.

GEOFFREY CHANDLER

It seems as though winter is causing some confusion in my house.

 

It all started on New Year’s Day. We made a big to-do about having black-eyed peas and collard greens for dinner, and we explained to Nora that it’s a family tradition and we hope it brings us good luck (and some wealth!) in the new year. We had recently read a book from the library talking about New Year’s Day traditions (“Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas,” highly recommended!), so she seemed to understand and she was really excited about digging into those New Year’s peas. She was also excited about the new calendar that went up on the wall in the kitchen.

 

But then Jan. 2 rolled around, and we had some regular old dinner and things were back to normal. No problem, except halfway through dinner Nora pointed at the 2014 calendar and said: “It’s not New Year’s anymore, right? Why is THAT still there?”

 

It’s still the new year, we explained, it’s just not New Year’s. This did not compute. Now, deep into January, she’s sort of made peace with the fact that the 2013 calendar is gone and the new one is here to stay, but every now and then she asks about it, and we have to begin the task of explaining to a toddler what a “year” is all over again. Do we have any champagne left? Sheesh.

 

This week, of course, the snow presented a fresh challenge. When it became clear on Tuesday afternoon that it really was going to snow, and — bonus! — at a time when Nora would still be awake, I broke the news.

 

“Guess what?” I said. “Tonight, around dinner, it looks like we’re going to have some snow!”

She paused for a moment, taking in the enormity of the statement, which turned out to be even more enormous than I’d anticipated.

 

“Snow?” she asked. “IS IT CHRISTMAS?”

 

Sigh.

 

You can’t fault her for linking the two, though. Every Christmas book and movie is set in a snowy landscape. Because apparently Santa doesn’t bother with the South? So we’ve had to explain that it doesn’t snow everywhere at Christmas, and even in those snowy places it snows well after Christmas, too. So snow doesn’t automatically mean Christmas. She understands, I think, but I’m not sure she she totally believes me. So maybe I should have left out some milk and cookies Tuesday night, just in case. And Santa, if you’re reading this, we already got rid of the tree, but we sure wouldn’t mind waking up to an early spring!

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