Saturday, May 21, 2022 |
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Getting our 2-year-old son dressed is usually my job. I get to be the one to help him with the transition from cozy pajamas into the day s play clothes.
It’s a job I enjoy most of the time.
There are days when he willingly wears whatever I bring out for him. But more often than not, he’s got his own very strong ideas on what shirt, pants, socks and shoes he wants to wear.
The little guy has a mind of his own, and he loves to have control over what he wears for the day. Noodles means he wants to wear a cabled sweater or vest. Skulls and Happy Holidays are requests for specific holiday-themed socks. (Yes, I know it’s March, but he is so in love with these socks that they have stayed in the drawer.) Rocketship means he is hoping I’ll let him wear pajamas all day.
This weekend, we had quick agreement on the shirt with guitars on it he was going to wear. But the pants I chose weren’t cutting it. Jean pants, he said. Easy enough to swap out.
Sometimes, it’s not that simple and we end up with a full-on scream fest over clothes. Because the whole getting dressed thing is usually my job, the tantrums over clothes are usually mine to deal with.
He can be happy as can be in a dirty diaper and pajamas. Somewhere between that and the final stage of clean-diaper-and-clothes, he loses it. Some days, the meltdown comes when it’s time to take off a favorite pair of pajamas. Others it’s when we put on the new diaper. More often, the fit comes when it’s time to put on the day’s clothes.
See, my little guy is a bit picky about his wardrobe. He may not always know what he wants to wear, but he’s very clear about what he doesn’t want.
And he tells you.
Rather forcefully, most days. It’s a string of “no,” “take it off” and “put away.”
A few days ago, Dad and I traded jobs. He was the one with the morning dressing duty. A few minutes into it, I heard a familiar sound: A scream.
“No!” “Take it off!”
Then came the familiar parental attempt to deal with the screams. I walked into the room, and as soon as I saw what was happening, I knew what was going on.
Mr. Picky had struck again.
Dad sent the screamer out of the room, wearing socks, a diaper and the problematic shirt.
“He hates that shirt,” I said, once our son was gone.
I got a skeptical look. But it’s true.
It’s an adorable shirt. Gray and brown stripes, with a white collar and some red trim. Every time I take it out even when he’s asked to wear stripes the screams come fast and furious.
I’ve learned to not even try putting it on him, but it s remained in the drawer. Poor, unsuspecting Dad didn’t listen to the kiddo’s early protestations and put it on him anyway. Then, the tantrum.
When the pants-less toddler toddled back into the room, he looked at me: “Take it off,” he said.
I did. He got a new shirt to wear, and pants and shoes. Then, the little guy went happily about his business.
And I got ready for work, having learned one good thing after that last tantrum: That striped shirt goes in the rummage sale pile.
• Mommy Talk is written by Marci Laehr Tenuta and Janine Anderson. Mike Moore writes Daddy Talk. Laehr Tenuta has three children, two boys and a girl. Moore and Anderson each have one son.
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