Home > Uncategorized > You Can Lead a Horse to Water, but You Can’t Make Him Wear a Coat.

You Can Lead a Horse to Water, but You Can’t Make Him Wear a Coat.

When my son was a baby, probably about eight or nine months old, I walked into his bedroom one morning and discovered that he had stripped off his blanket sleeper and his diaper during the night.  Apparently sleeping naked on pee-soaked sheets on a chilly winter morn is preferable to wearing the warm pajamas that your mother so lovingly provided, as he was sleeping the sleep of the just.  That’s where it all started, my friends.

Fast forward to today, since, happily, he never froze himself to death.  This child has proven to never, since infancy, been willing to stay warm.  Every day of the nearly eleven (ELEVEN! Be still my heart.) years of this boy’s life has been an epic battle of keeping enough clothes on him.  The most recent battle?

The Winter Coat.


Like this. via cheezburger.com


He won’t wear one, he just won’t.  Granted, we live in the south, and we have relatively mild winters.  Be that as it may, the boy still needs to have a warm coat.  His current outerwear of choice is a fleece lined hoodie.  A hoodie is not a winter coat, my friends.  I don’t care what the lining is, it’s still a hoodie.  If it’s twenty-five degrees outside, a hoodie is not going to do the job.

So, I recently announced that we need to go get a new winter coat.  I may as well have announced that it’s time to coat your butt in honey and sit on an anthill for the reaction I got.  There was whining.  There were vehement protests.  There were pleas, threats, offers of bribes, counteroffers, and, finally, the appearance of the mean mom face and growl.  Off we went to Walmart.

And I know, I know, some of you are saying WALMART?? and you’re judging a little.  Okay, I don’t blame you.  So allow me to explain myself.  This boy “lost” no fewer than four winter coats last year.  By design, I am quite sure.  The result of the Great Winter Coat Debacle of 2011-12 is my steadfast refusal to pay more than $20 for a coat that is entering a high risk environment.  The kid gets Walmart coats until he changes his stance on the matter.  The rest of my family wears proper outerwear purchased from quality retailers, I assure you.

Coat shopping was torture.  Torture, I tell you.  I would sooner take a beating than repeat the process.  He can’t move his arms in this one, that one’s too puffy and this one over here isn’t even as warm as his hoodie.  Every protest was met with the loving response of a compassionate mother.  “I don’t care, you’re getting a coat.  Pick one that you hate the least.”  So he found the least objectionable coat and I finally, finally bought the boy a warm coat, over the refrain, “But seriously, Mom, I don’t need this.  I’m not going to wear it.”

You might now be envisioning great outerwear battles that go on in my home on cold mornings.  Nope, I’m not going to do it.  Even a stubborn woman has to draw the line somewhere.  I did, after all, pass on great quantities of stubborn to my hot-natured boy.  If he’s taught me nothing else, he’s taught me to pick my battles.  Really, if he wants to be cold, it’s no skin off my nose.  I have provided a warm coat that will undoubtedly hang neglected in the closet until he outgrows it.  But whatever.  I’ve done my parental duty.  It’s my job to provide the things that my children need.  It’s not my job to dress them until they hit high school.  I don’t have the energy for it, and besides, there’s surely a life lesson in it somewhere, right?

  1. robin claire
    January 15, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Great story!!

    • January 15, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      Thanks! The boy keeps life interesting.

  1. January 21, 2013 at 10:12 am

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