Shopping for a winter jacket when your child has sensory processing issues

This is a post I started over a year ago about transitioning into the colder weather and getting our daughter who has sensory processing issues to wear a winter jacket. 

Every time around this year when the weather starts cooling down rapidly, I start to get panic attacks about what my daughter is going to wear to school. Last year she was wearing her thin fleece jacket that she had worn since the previous year until the very last possible moment. After many, many unsuccessful attempts at buying her a coat that was warm enough and one that she would be willing to wear, she picked out a nice warm down coat that passed her strict standards and mine. What a relief!

Well, lo and behold, one year later, my husband and I found ourselves running around trying to find her a new winter jacket yet again, since she has decided that the one we bought last year feels "too puffy" and that she does not like polka dots anymore.

This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but when you have to experience the brutal Chicago winters and you have a child with sensory processing issues, the thought of trying to find another winter jacket just about did me in.

Winter gear is not easy for HJ. It takes several shopping trips to the mall to find a hat that she will like (no pom-poms, has to feel just right on her head, has to be the right material), and gloves and/or mittens are still an issue -- if anyone knows of a pair that my child will possibly wear, please let me know!

Well, over the Thanksgiving weekend, we decided to tackle the problem head-on and headed to REI to see what kinds of non-puffy, warm coats they had for seven-year-olds. At this point, price was not much of an issue. It was more about getting a coat that she would wear to school and that would keep her from freezing at the bus stop and during recess.

Although she had her heart set on a blue fleece jacket that was exactly the same as the thin jacket that she already had in another color, I convinced her to try on a reversible fleece lined North Face jacket that was a little warmer, although it had no hood.

Success.

She was thrilled. She promised to wear it to school everyday. She wore it out of the store. And, parenting fail on our part, we didn't realize that HJ's little sister would obviously want one of her own as well. It was hard to convince her that all the puffy hand me down coats that HJ had previously rejected when she was four years old were fine when HJ was now raving about her new jacket. (Although prior to this day, Lila was the type of child I could normally bundle up like crazy without any complaints.)

So basically we walked out of the store paying significantly more than we had planned, but nevertheless with two happy children who were now set for the winter. As a bonus, I can now buckle Lila in her carseat without taking off her jacket each time, which is a nice convenience when you are in and out of the car as much as we are.

Here is Lila on her way to the bus stop wearing her new jacket thanks to HJ.

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Unfortunately I couldn't convince HJ to take a picture, especially so early in the morning. But she did walk out the door wearing a hat, scarf, her new jacket, and boots. Not too bad!

HJ sent a text to her cousins in southern California the other day when we had our first snowfall. "We got snow! How about you?"

Their response, "It was so warm we we went to the beach!" And they sent us this picture...

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Makes me want to move to California every winter to avoid this problem all together!

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