It starts every morning, bright and early, at approximately 6:30: the stomping, the arm crossing and the not-so-adorable pout of a cute yet tenacious four-year old. I cringe, because I know what's coming next. Even before I take a sip of my coffee a loud cry (it's actually more of a scry: that ear-splitting combo of screaming and crying), is released from my daughter's apparently very healthy lungs. All of this because of her outfit.
Who knew a simple question like "What would you like to wear today?" could ignite such passion. Here's the short version of her answers to my suggestions: "NO socks, NO leggings, ONLY pink and purple, sleeveless, and I WANT TO WEAR SHORTS." I take a deep breath and try to overlook the fact that it's no longer summer and that we don't have a closet full of suitable gear to satisfy her demands. Still, I'm stuck pondering - actually stewing is more like it - over her attitude, obstinacy, and relentless drive to get what she wants (and drive me crazy in the meantime). Did I mention that this takes place at 6:30 a.m.?
I recently set out on a mission to find out: am I a solo dweller on this island of 4-year-old morning mayhem? I began inquiring with friends, fellow treadmill mates, parents at school, and our always-cheery Starbucks baristas (seriously, they're always cheery, how does that happen?). Why is it so darn hard to pick out clothes for a 4-year old?
I quickly discovered that this girls-getting-dressed dilemma is an epidemic. Phew! I was shocked and so relieved to learn that there are lots of parents out there like me who are trying to negotiate, cajole, and simply "deal" with our diva-esque daughters.
As I asked around, I managed to gather a few helpful nuggets from some superstar parents from around the neighborhood. Now I'm sharing my favorites with you. They come with no money-back guarantee if they fail but I'm happy to take 100 percent of the credit if they work. Either way, I'm just glad to know that I'm not alone in this madness. Misery loves company, especially when that company is wearing mis-matched socks and a sparkly rainbow tank top in 55-degree weather!
Here are gems to help us get our girls dressed in the morning:
"I just let her wear what she wants. It is going to be her problem if she walks into school with the same DIRTY pink and purple dress five days in a row. I have given up!"
"We select two outfit choices at bedtime. In the morning, she chooses. Sometimes, she fights me on it, but I just walk away!"
"I pick an entire week's worth of outfits for my daughter and put them in clearly-marked drawers for each day. My daughter never questions it, she just wears what is assigned for the day." (Sounds like a dream child - and mom - to me.)
So, friends, now it's your turn. Do you have any insight or advice about how to get a little one dressed in the morning that will help us parents avoid hearing damage/loss? Does this happen to you? Any help or venting is much welcomed and appreciated!
Wendy Widom is CEO of Familes in the Loop (FITL), Chicago's hippest hub for parents and kids.
See more of Wendy 's stories here.