Some Things Should Not Be Optional
Sometimes I think cavemen had it right when they just went barefoot with a club and some kind of animal skin for clothes. Simple. Quick to put on and take off. Durable. I guarantee cavemothers did not have the issues we modern mothers have today in getting our young dressed and out the door.
I mean, really. We have so many accessories and different items of clothing it's no wonder we are nearly always late everywhere we go. Even with a child who is totally agreeable to donning all clothing, it can be a big task to get them appropriately dressed.
And now, with the change of seasons upon us, there will be even more clothes my children will have to wear. Tights, leggings, socks, coats...it's a small irritant to my older girls. To my youngest child, it is downright torture. Cruel and unusual punishment, she'd say.
Now, I don't know what her deal is. Perhaps she has a problem with the different textures and the feel of the clothing against her skin irritates her. Perhaps her body temperature is naturally a little high and wearing clothes makes her too warm and uncomfortable. Perhaps it is that she feels the clothes we have provided for her do not allow her to express her personality accurately.
Whatever the reason, I have a child who has an extreme dislike, a hatred even, for clothing of any kind. We have discussed this before, this little clothing issue. You may remember seeing pictures like this:
I keep thinking she will outgrow this little phase and come to understand that clothing is not really an optional thing.
We're still waiting on that day...
Every morning I could practically foretell the future in my home. I will gently wake my peaceful little angel on the two mornings a week she goes to "school". I will work through several different outfits before I find one she deems worthy of wear. I will choose her favorite undergarments (which have to be washed every day so she can wear them again) and we will begin the dressing process.
We will get her unmentionables on with only a minor huff of irritation.
We will get her favorite shorts on and adjusted just the way she likes them.
I will pull her shirt over her head...and this is where the problem usually begins. She will put her arm through one arm hole and begin to work on the other arm and get it ever so slightly stuck in her shirt. And this is when I hold my breath. It could go either way, folks. Some days she merely frowns and pushes her little arm through the arm hole and we move on.
Today is not one of those days.
Suddenly this sleepy-eyed child with tousled hair and sweet curls has thrown herself to the ground, one arm flailing wildly and the other thrashing about, still trapped inside her shirt. For some reason this always reminds me of a wild animal with some kind of restraining device attached to him and he's desperate to escape.
I try in vain to get her to be still so I can help pull her other arm through. She will have none of it. And at the peak of her frustration, she will begin to strip. Not just the offending shirt. Oh, no, she will stop at nothing in her quest to be free. The shirt will be ripped off and thrown on the floor. Next the shorts will be hurled across the room. The favorite undergarments will soon follow suit.
She'll lay down on the floor and suck her thumb, sweet little curls getting in her eyes and her long eyelashes batting at me.
And we'll start the whole process again, except I will be required to choose a whole new outfit and have to seek her approval for it. She's already irritated, people, so this is no easy task.
Finally, she will be (mostly) dressed. Last week I was forced to take her to school with no shoes or socks b/c we just didn't make it that far in our battle.
Last week my husband took me along on his business trip to New Orleans. One afternoon we were returning from a walk through the French Quarters and making our way back to our hotel, which unfortunately was located right on Bourbon Street. Right there on the street, in broad daylight, a young woman pranced by us with nothing but a lot of body paint on.
I am dead serious. A full grown, naked woman sharing the sidewalk with us. I think she was holding a sign as she walked, but I also think it's a fairly safe assumption that NO ONE knows what that sign said.
I couldn't help but wonder what this lady was like as a 3-yr-old. Did her aversion to clothes begin innocently enough like my child? Did she get easily frustrated when she couldn't get her arm through the arm hole of her shirt? Did she have a difficult time choosing acceptable undergarments every day like someone else I know?
I suddenly began to feel quite anxious.
I also quickly announced to my husband that my daughter was NEVER allowed to come here and get any bright ideas of a future career. Once she spotted grown ups with no clothes on? This could be the discovery that began her life of public nudity.
Oh, no, you don't, little lady...
And I think I have a good idea what the exhibitionist's sign may have said..."It all began when my mom gave in and let me go to school with no shoes on."