It’s almost Spring. I can’t wait. Spring means no more dealing with the constant battle of keeping mittens on my son’s hands. Here in South Dakota we are still feeling the cold hands of winter and will continue to do so for a few weeks yet. My son has experienced 3 winters in his short life and each one of those years we battled wearing mittens. As a newborn, his tiny hands would stay in a relentless fist and yet somehow manage to push off a mitten as easily as he did his socks. To combat this, I used mittens under his bunting and then followed up with a pair of adult wool socks that went up to his armpits and were impossible for him to pull off. Mama 1 – Sebastian 0!
The next winter, as a precocious 1 year old, I continued to put on mittens over clenched fists followed by wool socks up to his armpits over his coat sleeves. His hands stayed warm but my ears were frozen from the screams of disgust he issued at not being able to hold a stick or pick up a pinecone. Now that he was more dexterous, he was able to pull off the socks and the mittens would be a lost cause for me. Mama 0 – Sebastian 1!
This winter, he is 2 years old and can not only express his unhappiness about mittens with his actions but with some very impressive toddler vocabulary. I would almost consider letting his fingers succumb to frostbite to avoid the ear-piercing shrieks and toddler tantrum that would be induced by the mittens being placed on his hands. I thought I had completely lost the war and that we would just have to avoid going outdoors when the temperatures were too low. Then I found a pair of kid-sized extra small ski mittens with cinches at the wrist and at the top of the mitten. These were long enough on him that they went up to his elbows and he couldn’t get them off. He could still hold a cup or a large toy outside but not much else because they mitten was too large for his fingers to be able to grip anything. We can to a somewhat peaceful truce and could continue to play and hike outside in the freezing temps. Mama 0 – Sebastian 0!
The real win of the war came when I found the MyMayu wrist gaiters. While they are almost as hard as wrangling snow boots on over thick wool socks and kicking toddler feet, you learn how to use them after a few attempts and like the boots, the effort is worth the result. With the gaiters, he can wear his appropriately sized gloves and grip toys and cups while being unable to pull them off and discreetly hide them when Mama’s eyes are diverted for 2.2 seconds. They cinch up and over the coat and he has not yet pulled off a mitten when wearing these. From what I’ve observed, he doesn’t even try to rip off his mittens because he can still use his hands and they aren’t freezing. Win Win! Mama 1 – Sebastian 1!
I’m now much more confident thinking about next winter’s war of the hand-gear. We may try to use gloves instead of mittens and I think I will keep the gaiters “handy” in case he takes offense to those. Or, I’ll have them in my pack for the frazzled parent on the trail with me whose little kiddo is refusing to keep his hands warm and dry. While they are not the easiest contraptions to use, I am very appreciative of the time they allowed us to play outdoors this winter.
Christel Peters is a Branch Lead for Hike it Baby Spearfish and the Mama to Sebastian. When she isn’t chasing her adventurous toddler on the trails she is one of the Blog Editors for Hike it Baby. Do you have a story that should appear on our blog? Let us know!! email your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org