Why don’t you just chill, Mum? (Apparently this is not jumper weather)

In his speech on my wedding day, my father told a story of me as a young child, perhaps as a friendly warning to my new husband, that I have always been a person of my own mind. One chilly winter’s day, he said to me: Darling, it’s very cold. How about you put on a jumper?

To which I earnestly replied: Papa, if you are cold, why don’t YOU put on a jumper?

These days, nobody needs to encourage me to put on a jumper. At the slightest hint of chill in the air, I will put on a jumper, a blanket, the heater, my slippers, and I still feel cold because I have to look at my own children … who refuse to put on a jumper.

It’s an annual battle, come wintertime. My boy wants to wear shorts all year round. I buy him long pants. They don’t get worn. School jacket. Barely worn. I worry about him feeling cold or getting sick, and I wonder what people must think when they see him. Do they think he has parents who don’t care?

Last year, we turned the corner with our daughter at least, thanks to the Oodie craze. For the uninitiated, an Oodie is an oversized, some might say overpriced, super-cosy (so I’m told) jumper with a hood. Usually, it has a playful pattern of food or animal characters, such as avocado and toast holding hands, or a French bulldog wearing a beret. In short, it looks like the kid has borrowed a hoodie from a fun-loving Sumo wrestler.

Now I find myself saying, take the jumper off, having meanly implemented a no Oodies at the dinner table rule. Aside from the sloppy dining aesthetic and the unappetising act of baggy sleeves dangling in communal food, once food gets on that thing, it needs to be washed, and boy is it a pain to wash. It takes up the entire washing machine and can take two days to line-dry. Other than that, it keeps the kid warm, so I have to concede it is a winter winner.

I arrive to collect my son from school. I look like I’m heading to the ski fields. He looks like he has spent the day in Fiji.

Where’s your jacket? I ask him. In my bag, he replies.

I think about suggesting he puts it on, but then I remember he is a boy of his own mind. If I’m cold, I’ll just have to put my seat warmer on for the drive home.

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