Looking after the Kids: Wendy Best
Snow, frost, icy wind which will cut you in two, rain and even a snow bomb – we've seen it all over the last few weeks. So why do I seem to be spending half my time asking the girls to wear a coat?
You'd think at 18 and 14, they'd know when it's cold to wrap up warm.
I concede the British weather is difficult to predict but why can't a coat of some description be kept in a bag?
There are days when I've successfully had a coat worn to school but not brought back – "I left it in the locker/classroom/PE department", "it was too heavy to carry" or "it was too hot".
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So what are you going to wear now it's raining and cold? I ask. "I'll get it when I get to school – it will be all right" or "I've got a cardigan on" is generally the response.
I remember when the girls were tiny, dressing them in snug all-in-ones and wishing I had something similar.
Today, of course, we have the Onesie – an odd fashion hit if ever there was one; and the girls think nothing of wandering around the house wearing one of these things – the elder daughter even had a tiger version a year or so ago.
They are fleecy and warm, probably too much so for a centrally heated home, yet they insist on wrapping themselves up.
Yet travel to school, go to town or head out with the dog and wear a coat? Wear sensible shoes? Not likely.
Children seem to hit a wall just as they hit double figures when sensible shoes are simply not cool.
I don't know a parent who hasn't had a battle Royale over school shoes and what are acceptable and what aren't.
I've been in shops and heard the conversations between parent and child and we've have had a few ourselves.
It's usually an exasperated parent saying along the lines of: "No, you can't wear heels to school" or "No you can't wear slip-ons" or even "I know you like those shoes but they don't fit you".
Eventually a compromise is reached and, even if it's a sulky one, the next time you go to school for a parent's night you see all the children wearing similar styles to the one on which you compromised.
A friend of mine couldn't believe her eyes when her 20-something son was heading out into the snow. On his feet were daps, yet there were inches of snow outside.
So when does being sensible and dressing for the weather conditions begin?
If I'm honest, of course, my friends and I didn't take coats when we went clubbing in the middle of winter, declaring that we didn't feel the cold.
Yet now if going out, I wear layers and layers to ensure I stay as toasty as possible.
Age – like the British weather – is a funny thing.