Saturday, December 3, 2011

Children's clothing, a "sensitive" subject.

My little Mariam is extremely sensitive to various types of clothing.  She's always been this way, even when she was tiny.  She'd fuss and pull at things I thought looked adorable and wanted her to wear.  I sighed and tucked away many outfits that she outgrew without even giving them a second chance.

You know the type.  Her socks have to be perfectly aligned along the toe, all tags need to be cut out.  She hates even soft pants that have even the slightest flow around her leg - she fusses and says they are "all floppy."  She will take thirty minutes trying to find a pair of underwear that seem "just right," and misses a lot of outdoor play because she is attempting to find the absolutely perfect combination of shirt/pants/underwear/socks/coat/hat/mittens/shoes to wear.

When I pulled out her fall/winter clothing, I set aside everything that I thought would give her fits.   I limited her choices, but gave her clothes I thought she could "live" with.   She loves to wear dresses, and I'm fine with that, except for the fact that I want her to be warm in the winter.  So in her drawer I left her favorite soft dresses and some leggings that come to just the right place (and tightness) on her ankle.  It's worked pretty well, and I accept that these are her sensitivities and she may or may not outgrow all of them.  I just don't want her missing so much life because of clothing issues.

One of the hardest things has been trying to get many small children out of the house when one is so particular.  If I give her too much time, she will change her clothing several times, end up with something that does not match remotely (at home I don't care,) and still not be ready when it is time to go.  (The last minute shrieking over shoes can really wear a mama down....)  Since I am aware of her sensitivities, I have been trying a new tactic.  When it is almost time to go, I help her get ready last.  I choose her outfit. 

She doesn't really like this, but honestly, if we wait for her to choose and get ready on her own we will be an hour late to everything.  I am careful to only choose things I believe to fit her basic proclivities, and then, don't allow too much fussing.  It's just the way it is, Squinky.  You've got to get dressed and this is what you're wearing and no, you can't throw a fit, it won't do you any good.  She is coming to accept this well, but with a caveat.  She wants me to assure her that she can change her clothes when she gets home.

I am okay with that.  It sounds like a good compromise to me.

So, that first picture above is what happens as soon as we hit the door and re-enter our home.  That is a little Mariam clothing pile, coat, shoes, socks and all.  She doesn't talk about it, she just remembers how things are and within five minutes I know what to expect.

Sometimes, parenting means finding a compromise everyone can live with.  I win on some things - such as wearing something other than a slip and Snow White slippers outside in the winter, and she wins at other times, as long as she is warm and covered.  It's a Win-Win situation, with much less last-minute stress and trauma for everyone.

The picture below?  Well, obviously this is a much better choice, don't you think?  (That is a pajama shirt, covered by a Tinkerbell-type dress, with a winter hat tied around the waist.)
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  1. I love your picture of the little pile of clothes. My girls love dress up and many times when they wake up or come home, the first thing is a pile of clothes and then onto the dress-up. I think I finally just convinced Fatima that she can wear shirts underneath dress up clothes, the way Mariam is with her tinker bell so she won't be cold. Now I just need to work on having more patience like you.


  2. My 4-yr-old boy is like this, though he seems to be outgrowing it a little - meaning he doesn't fight as much about it, but still has strong preferences. He likes long sleeves even in 90 degree weather and he prefers cotton to all other fabrics. He even has preferences regarding MY clothes. Sometimes in the middle of a snuggle with him he says, "I love you so much. You know why? Because you're wearing this shirt." And then he'll bury his face in it. :)

  3. Looks like a sweet little girl. You are doing a great job.

  4. Oh my gosh, this had me laughing so much! Your baby girl is so much like my baby girl! I swear I have never seen a child so picky about clothes! Except, perhaps, my son. When he was little I had to cut the feet out of all his blanket sleepers. And then he wouldn't take off his socks.

    It they keep this up, I'm only buying them burlap sacks when they're older! LOL