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
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
"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.
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