My first three children have never cared much at all about what they wear. Abigail will occasionally comment that something feels a little too confining or too tight around her toes (she likes her toes to be able to wiggle), but JB and I have never, EVER had a clothes argument with Isaac, Sidge, or Abigail.
Enter Hannah. It doesn't matter WHAT I pick out, it is absolutely unacceptable to her. I immediately hear phrases such as:"Oh Mama, I canNOT wear that." And if I don't listen, she plops on the floor and literally starts sobbing. She doesn't throw fits exactly, but there is great gnashing of teeth and lots of tears.
And of course, I am HUGE on consistency. So now that I have told her what to wear, I have to follow through.
And for what? So she can wear something that I, not one of the most fashionably with-the-times people there is, can have my daughter wear something that I deem appropriate?
About three months ago, I decided to heck with that idea.
Don't get me wrong. I think the parent should be in charge and that the child should listen. Thus the reason that when I pick something, I have to stand firm and make this girl wear it. But there are so many things I fight with Hannah about every day. Do I really need to fight clothes battles?
So now, each day, I tell her to go pick out her clothes. I only have two rules: (1) they have to be appropriate (aka "modest"? I hate that word) and (2) they have to be weather appropriate. I also reserve the right on Sundays to make sure it is something a little "nicer" just because I want her to wear some of those cute clothes in her closet now and then.
The pictures below is what Hannah put on yesterday for co-op. She wanted to put her head down in the second photo so that we could see the bow she picked out:
Now coming up with what she should wear, is not without discussion. It still takes a long time to get to what you see in the picture above.
Here's how this conversation went:
Hannah comes downstairs in brown corduroy dress without a shirt on underneath. This breaks rule #1 and #2. It is too cold to wear an "overalls" style dress without a shirt on. And you can't wear a shirt that shows your chest (especially because it is winter.)
Hannah: "Mama, this is what I pick to wear."
Me: "Okay, but if you want to wear that dress, it requires a shirt."
She returns with purple monkey shirt. She wants it over the dress.
Me: "This is really supposed to be worn under the dress. That's what the dress is designed for."
Hannah: "Okay Mama."
We put the monkey shirt on under the dress. Hannah immediately wrinkles her nose.
Hannah: "Oh Mama. This will not work. No one can even see my shirt or see the monkey on my shirt."
Me: "Well, you can put it on over the dress."
Hannah: "Yes. That is what I will do."
Now the shirt is long, so I pull it all the way down. For some reason, Hannah has an issue with shirts going down over her bum.
Hannah: "Oh Mama. That's way too long. It can't cover my bum. I have to pull it up. Like this."
Hannah: "And I need a bow. A blue bow."
Me: "Okay. And what shoes are you going to wear."
Hannah: "My white sandals."
She runs to the laundry room and returns with white, summer, sandals, thus violating rule #2. It is too cold for sandals. I tell her she has to pick out warmer shoes.
Hannah: "I'll pick my pink tennis shoes. I love those shoes."
Me: "All right."
Hannah: "No socks."
Me: "No, you have to wear socks because it is winter. So get some socks and pink shoes."
Hannah: "Okay Mama. It's a deal."