Chic, picky, and two years old

DONNELLE BELANGER-TAYLOR
Last updated 08:56 08/12/2011

I'm not the world's most organised person, and laundry is one of my personal demons. If clean clothes make it out of Mount Foldmore on the couch, then they are truly honoured. It's a particularly intense battle at the moment. Vieve has developed a sudden and strong interest in choosing her clothes and dressing herself... six or seven times a day.

When I say "interest", I mean screams of "No. Other! No. Other!" if she's not impressed with the offerings. An attempt to help her get out of the stranglehold she's created by inserting head AND arms into the neckhole will generally cause her to shriek, jump up and down and then throw herself backwards on to the floor. And one can not be seen in the same ensemble twice, darling! Ahh, redheaded two-year-olds.

Her sartorial choices are rather spectacular. I think my favourite was the turquoise tog bottoms worn as a one-shouldered asymmetrical top (head and one arm through one leg hole, arm through another), along with rainbow BabyLegs leg-warmers and a turquoise teddy bear.  Splendid.

Rainbow zebraShe's also been to Playcentre wearing a size 4 Thomas dressing gown and the rainbow leg warmers, but as expected she immediately went to the costumes and dressed first as a chicken, then a zebra (with rainbow legs), and then as a nudist builder (nappy and hardhat).

Unfortunately it was raining and chilly, so I had to insist that the Thomas dressing gown join the builder outfit. Classy.

We're working on getting her to understand temperature-appropriate garb. She's usually quite happy to add things, so cold isn't such an issue, but hot is another story. One stifling hot evening she went to bed in lightweight short summer pajamas. Next time I went in, she was wearing two pairs of the beloved rainbow legwarmers on legs AND arms, a long-sleeved shirt, and had a thick woollen jersey stuck on her head.

She's also become much more sensitive to grubby or wet clothes. Whereas she practically used to bathe in the paint and the waterplay at Playcentre, now a wet sleeve is cause for complaint. I've made it clear that she has a maximum of two changes of clothes per session, and fortunately she seems to accept this rule.

If only it held true at home! It's better now that we've rearranged furniture so that nap-time doesn't mean the entire contents of their wardrobe being strewn across the floor, and they can't access them as freely as before. I don't mind them having some choice, and I certainly don't mind the repetitive doffing and donning that allows her to master the skills, but I do object to washing quite that many clothes! They always seem to get just too dirty to re-use later, even if only worn for 10 minutes.

My eldest son never had any interest in clothes or dressing himself. Vieve's twin brother Finn will express a preference, and will have a go at getting dressed and undressed, but he is nowhere near as picky as she is. How long does this stage usually last? What's your experience?

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29 comments
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moo   #1   08:59 am Dec 08 2011

This is so gorgeous! As a non-parent I have no idea about how long it will last - but get plenty of pictures is all I can say!

JCC   #2   09:13 am Dec 08 2011

Oh Donnelle! I think it's going to last forever! :)

I had a very good friend at school who always had that very 'female' problem of a wardrobe full of clothes, and nothing to wear! She would bring a spare set of clothes to school, and change during the day even if her original clothes were not grubby/wet/damaged. And later in life (teenage - uni) it would take her ages to get ready for any sort of social activity, as she had to try on a million different combinations before she was happy! We would always tell her to be ready at least half an hour before the actual time, so we could get to places actually on time!!!

motherofsix   #3   09:15 am Dec 08 2011

Had one like this - the entire outfit had to be changed each time including matching hair ribbons etc. Sorry but she is now in her 20s and still the same. On the up side the washing has been her problem for quite a few years.

Cat   #4   09:43 am Dec 08 2011

oh dear, mine are just the same! I'm going nuts getting them to just take an item out of their wardrobe without the entire contents ending up on the floor. The fold & put away to wear ratio is about 12:1

Not to mention how the clean & dirty clothes always get mixed up. I would LOVE advice on how to improve the situation (apart from me getting stressed & frustrated, ... which doesn't actually improve the situation at all :P)

Another brilliant blog Donelle, you capture such a real, funny & very human side of things & express it so eloquently :)

JeM   #5   10:06 am Dec 08 2011

I have the same with my 21month old - it's all "No, Other one!" too. Constantly. We have nappies ripped off the second they're put on, followed by her quickly trying to jam both legs into one leg hole so the pants go back on before we notice the nappy is gone. Nice try kiddo. Shorts become tops, socks become gloves, and everything must be worn with a pair of gumboots (we've actually had to hide the gumboots). My beautiful child now generally looks like a hobo. So now I am going with a 2 item only approach - instead of her pulling out 20 tops, I will show her two that I want her to wear and say "which one?" so she thinks she's getting a say in it.

Simon   #6   10:11 am Dec 08 2011

From my personal 'n of 1' study, this doesn't seem to be a boy problem.

Mahina   #7   10:23 am Dec 08 2011

Lol I am sorry to say that I am living proof that this may not be a stage that comes and goes, but rather a life time trait that will be with her well into her twenties!

gbsmama   #8   10:39 am Dec 08 2011

She will probably be a fashion designer. Maybe you could hide some clothes away, limiting her options? Although she'll probably make off with her brothers then...

Amy   #9   10:44 am Dec 08 2011

Uh guys? Who's the boss here, you or the kid?? If you don't WANT 5+ changes of clothing each day, then put your foot down! Don't let them create extra work for you! If you don't want to stifle their creativity etc, then make the rule of one or two changes. Your child always needs to know that you're in control, not them, you da boss! :-)

Mellymoo   #10   11:39 am Dec 08 2011

My almost-9-year-old still appears to be in this "stage", so I'm not impressed with all the other commenters that are suggesting it's a life-long condition...


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