Cerebral Palsy Winter Weather

Snow, Cold, and Cerebral Palsy

Through my eyes, the weather outside is frightful. Through Roa’s eyes, it’s a winter wonderland!

I don’t want to be negative about the snow. For goodness sakes, we live in Minnesota! I love to frolic in the white stuff- sledding, snowmen, and snow angels. Yet frolicking isn’t quite the word I can use to describe my snow play with Roa in tow. I bundle him up, dress myself, head out into the wintry white and slowly trump and trudge through the deep while prompting Roa to “lift his leg, help me walk, keep on going”… Similar prompts heard indoors, yet with the added joy of wind whipping our faces and snow sneaking into our boots.

snow cold cerebral palsy winter wonderlandWhile I complain, Roa is just tickled by the snow. Especially the freshly falling flakes. He turns that head up to the sky and catches tiny crystals on those long lashes. It is quite magical. He reminds me of that. So, I continue to layer the clothes and cover as much skin as I can to get him out into the white!

Luckily, last season, I discovered that Roa’s Tumble Forms feeder seat fits right inside one of our toddler sleds. Pulling him around and pushing him for a ride down snowy hills while strapped in a 5-point harness is manageable for 15-20 minutes of outdoor time before I get tired or he wants out. Other than that…we walk around and sit and dig. Me: cold and bored. Roa: glad to be a part of the great, frozen outdoors as long as I am there to think of things to do with the tundra.

This climate is tough with cerebral palsy. Cold weather is hard for Roa’s body to handle as his muscles tighten against the chill. Finding things to do outside that keep him entertained is almost as challenging as dealing with the cabin fever feeling we get inside when temperatures don’t allow outdoor play. Those days, limited space for gait trainer time or free-walking lead to a lot of iPad play, TV, and blanket forts when mom can’t be right there to read to him or help with play.

We considered moving. California called to us briefly when considering a job opening for Bryan. Yet we didn’t want to leave the beauty of the changing seasons behind. We considered a mid-range climate area where snow is short, sweet, limited, and temperatures don’t fall in the double-digit below zero degree mark. Yet, Bryan’s current job keeps us here. Now that we are building a house, we are completely tied to the Minnesota temperature extremes for years to come.

Maybe Roa will move some day. Either on his own (if physically able) or with us after he communicates just how rotten trying to roll a wheelchair or maneuver a walker through the crusty, slushy mess is. Maybe when he is older we will come to our senses and head to Arizona where you have to drive north to hit the snow. No more shoveling the pile of plowed snow to help the school bus wheelchair ramp lower. No more battling to keep winter hats from falling over eyes or heavy jackets under wheelchair vests. No more tight cold fingers shoved into mittens.

Ahhhh….yes. A little more ease in the already cumbersome land of CP. Yet, right now, as a I drink my cup of joe, snuggled in a blanket, watching the fireplace flame flicker…. I think about how I would miss watching snowflakes fall onto long lashes covering big, brown eyes that look up in such wonder.

1 reply
  1. christina
    christina says:

    I live in WI, with my lovely fiance and my CP. And honestly I can’t wait to move, he says when I am done with school we will look into it. I was born & raised in WI but with CP as I got older its miserable

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