My Son is a Polar Bear

Magnolia Ripkin
Written by Magnolia Ripkin

Can somebody please explain to me why my preteen refuses to wear a jacket and long pants? Is this a boy thing or just my dude?

He also eschews long pants for those nasty basketball shorts. He has five pairs of them, cycling them through the laundry every week, while his brand new “good school” pants sit in the drawer with tags still on. Joining the merry band of neglected clothing are brand new hoodies and jackets which hang in dark closets, sad and unused. 

It is nearing Christmas, people… why can’t he wear pants and a jacket?

As the Fall progresses, the weather is getting colder and living on the west coast, that means rain… epic sideways rain that falls like a tsunami of sadness. It makes puddles so deep there are emergency rescue rafts on every telephone pole. And yet, despite the frigid sopping cold, there goes my boy with his jaunty backpack, walking in it like it is Florida sunshine. 

The battle was fought in earnest on this year’s school picture day. I said pants, he said shorts.I said dress shirt, he said t-shirt with a Pokeman on it. The battle raged on for an interminable time until we came to an uncomfortable truce. He could wear shorts if he put on a good shirt, and I would only order the pictures that didn’t look like I dress my child in burlap sacks. 

Good mothers would tell me to accept his independence, and let him learn about discomfort the hard way. What is the phrase the competent moms use? Oh ya, natural consequences.  Those moms seem so zen about things.

Me… not so much. I come from the European model of parenting from back in the day when my Mother (and live in Grandmother) would stick their beaks out the front door while I was eating rye bread and meat for breakfast. They would meet like a weather judging committee and bring down their ruling of the day. 

You vill vear rubber boots, und the socks your Auntie knitted for you, vool tights with a varm dress, the beaver hat and your parka” and that would be that – I was dressed for the day, and the weather. There was no discussion. If I put up too much of a fuss, they would pull out an even scratchier pair of tights that were more like horsehair than wool to remind me what uncomfortable really means. 

So I tried to use the edict method with my kid. “It is is raining buckets and I think I see sleet – at least put on a windbreaker.” This got me nowhere. The saw-off was a long sleeved shirt…. and shorts. 

He insists he doesn’t get cold, and doesn’t feel the wet. Ok buddy… so now I lay in wait to pounce the first time he makes even a slight mewling noise about being cold. 

I will jump on that shit and pull out the sweater made of hedgehog quills I have from my childhood and make him wear it. 

Bad Mom for the win!


About the author

Magnolia Ripkin

Magnolia Ripkin

Our Editor-in-Chief Magnolia Ripkin is sort of like your mouthy Aunt who drinks too much and tells you how to run your life, except funny... well mostly funny... like a cold glass of water in the face. She writes a flagrantly offensive blog at Magnolia Ripkin Advice Blog answering pressing questions about business, personal development, parenting, heck even the bedroom isn't safe.
She is the Editor in Chief at BluntMoms. Other places to find her: Huffington Post, The Mighty and Modern Loss. You can also check her out in two amazing compendiums of bloggers who are published in “I Just Want To Be Alone.” And most recently, Martinis and Motherhood, Tales of Wonder, Woe and WTF

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