Each morning, my husband gives the kids breakfast and starts to get them ready for school while I sleep for a little longer. (Yes, he’s the best husband ever. I also do dinner and bedtime by myself each night. It's our system.)
But each morning, I hear—in my sleep and as I wake up—“I hate these tights! They are scratchy!” and “These are too tight! They’re twisty!” and “I hate this! This has a BOW!” and "THIS SHIRT LOOKS SILLY!"
I have two girls: one turning five in April, and one who turned six in September. Like most mothers of girls, I imagined the dresses and shoes and headbands I’d buy for them. The little lady coats.
And I did buy those things for them--and had so much fun picking out miniature versions of clothes I'd like to wear--and they were happy with them until about last year. That is when the youngest began refusing to wear her clothes. Any of them. She wears ballet tights and tee shirts. Now, exclusively.
Her older sister caught on and now insists every article of clothing—including her socks—doesn’t fit. “I cannot wear these socks! They are so uncomfortable! I’ll BE SO UNCOMFORTABLE ALL DAY!”
And as Molly cried over her socks, and Ellie cried over the buttons on her sweater this morning, their brother lay naked on the living room floor watching Despicable Me, completely oblivious to time, my voice, his father’s voice, and likely, the urge to pee.
People – who know nothing about me apparently – have told me to resist getting upset and battling with them over outfits. I find this, like Ellie’s new corduroys, impossible.
“You have no idea what you have. One day I’m going to throw away all your clothes. I’ll give them to a little girl who appreciates them. And you’ll go to school naked,” I told Ellie this morning.
“Good,” she answered. “Give them to a little girl. I’d like to go to school naked.” I believe her.
I heard my husband tell Molly that from now on she has to pick her clothes for the next day out the night before. I laughed to myself. That only gives them more time to decide why they won’t wear what they’ve picked out.
I am outsmarted. I have shopped at fifteen stores, gone through catalogues with them, asked them to circle what they like, let them choose their clothing to buy. They change their minds as soon as I cut the tags off of their new leggings. Ellie liked a dress from Old Navy this fall. I bought her seven in different colors. She no longer likes the teeny, tiny button on the back. “I CAN FEEL IT ON MY NECK! GET IT OFF!”
Letting go of my expectations and disappointment may be the only way I can survive this stage without losing my mind. You may, however, run into a pair of very sweet girls with expensive shoes, glittery head bands, but who are otherwise entirely naked. Those would be mine. You can recognize their brother because he is the four and one-half year old whose pants are so short you can see the top of his socks. He’s been wearing those pants since he was two.