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    “Sweater, n.:  garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.”

    Ambrose Bierce

    My daughter is a furnace.  It’s Fall; people are starting to wear toques on their heads and Pip still wants to wear shorts and a t-shirt when she goes outdoors.  She doesn’t like the feeling of clothes on her body.

    I remember the type from my teaching days.  I’d have the students all lined up to go outside for recess and there would be one or two kids without jackets.  I’d insist that they gear-up for the weather, but when they returned to the classroom twenty minutes later, I knew they’d be coat-less.  I remember one young boy explaining matter-of-factly, “I’m hot-blooded Miss Pantuso, so I don’t need a jacket.”

    Now it’s my daughter who refuses to wear her jacket.  She likes the feeling of fresh air on her skin; even if the air is chilly.  People have said things to me like, “Oh, kids are so active, they run a lot warmer than we do,” or, “She’ll tell you if she’s cold.”  I suppose those things are true, but right now my daughter is sick.  She has a cold.  She’s coughing and sneezing and requiring nose-blows every other minute, so am I being a responsible parent if I let her go outside in a light sweater when I’m ready for a parka?


    My husband frequently reminds me that one doesn’t get a cold by being cold.  (He’s another furnace, by the way.)  I understand that you catch colds from viruses and bacteria, but isn’t your immune system compromised if your body temperature drops?   I know that there have been times when I’ve felt a chill and the next day I wind up with a cold.

    Truth be told, I’m a rather cold person to begin with.  My body never felt better than when I was living in the tropics.  I like heat.  My muscles relax, my shoulders open, and my neck grows an inch.  I’m a turtle; a tropical turtle.

    I like to think that the saying, ‘cold hands, warm heart’ was created especially for me.  I certainly use the phrase enough when people shake my hand and announce with horror, “My goodness your hands are cold!”  I’ve come to realize that the reason I’ve never been a fan of winter sports is because my appendages freeze so quickly!!!  My husband cannot believe how cold I get.  He finds it refreshing when my hands touch his face.  “Forget the cold compress, honey,  just touch me.”

    So perhaps my daughter and husband have more efficient circulatory systems than I.  Perhaps I should listen to my daughter when she says that she’s warm enough.  And perhaps it will be a long and challenging winter.

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