It all started when I asked Ari to get his coat on this morning.
“I don’t like this coat. I wanna wear the blue one!”
After trying to explain single digit wind chill factors to a 28-month-old child, he reluctantly donned his coat. (Truth be told, he probably wanted me to stop talking.)
Then it was time for his hat. He refused to wear the warm, fuzzy one that wraps around his chin. He compromised by putting on his Gerald the Elephant hat from Halloween. (Though he tried to pull it off several times on the car ride.)
Two hours later, it was time for us to go outside again. Fortunately, Ari agreed to wear his coat and his hat.
“How about mittens?” I asked, tempting fate.
“Okay. I want mittens.”
“Really?” I asked. Ari NEVER wears mittens.
“Really,” he replied.
Ari held out his hands and allowed me to slide his mittens over his hands. I was elated, but played it cool by saying “Now your hands will be toasty.”
I was giddy Ari was wearing mittens. I grabbed my phone out of my purse with one hand to take a photo of this monumental moment. However, by the time my finger found the shutter button, one mitten was on the ground. I put the phone into my pocket and knelt to pick up the mitten. That’s when Ari broke away from the grasp of my left hand and took off down the sidewalk.
“Ari!” I yelled.
His pace quickened from a walk to a jog.
“Ari! Stop! Ari! Stop!”
I was doing my best to run down the sidewalk after him, but my long coat, the diaper bag slung over my shoulder, and the view of the salt covering the frozen ground made me weary of sprinting.
Despite my pleas for Ari to stop running, he picked up his pace. As he approached the end of the sidewalk, I could hear his giggles, but couldn’t quite reach him.
“Ari, STOP! That’s the parking lot!”
But Ari continued running and laughing. And that’s when I flung my arm as far in front of me as I could and grabbed the hood of his coat.
“Gotcha!” I said.
He was still laughing as I stopped him from running into oncoming traffic. I paused and looked around. We were only two feet onto the black top, but it was two feet too much for me. There were cars actively looking for spots. Thank G-d I caught up with him before…
“You need to hold my hand,” I told Ari.
He laughed, “I run away!”
“You need to stay with me in the parking lot — always.”
I didn’t have the energy to discuss this with him. I was out of breath, thankful I caught him… and thankful I didn’t shatter my knee or break my hip running over the icy pavement. I held his hand the entire way to the car, scooped him up, secured him in his car seat, and gave him a kiss on the cheek. As soon as I pulled away, Ari tossed his Elephant hat aside.
NOTE TO SELF: Let him be cold. As long as he’s safe, walking around without mittens or a hat isn’t the end of the world.