Friday, April 23, 2010

Clothing Tantrum

On a typical day, my 3 year-old has more costume changes than Madonna in concert. She strips down and re-dresses head to toe about four times a day. And that’s NOT counting the morning get-dressed drama.

In the morning I literally feel like Seconda is Meryl Streep and I’m Anne

Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada.

“I SAID I want to wear a dress!!!!!”


“No no no!!!! This one is too BIG!”

“This one is too SMALL!”


“I told you a million times I WANT THE PINK ONE!”


“No no NO!!! You are making me VERY ANGRY!!!”

Many women would need a Xantax to get through our daily get-dressed drama. MANY women. Thankfully I am a martyr mom and my nerves are steely. But by the time we’re out the door, I’ve already depleted my entire store of patience for the day. For both kids. I’m running on empty from 9am.

Here are Sec’s current wardrobe criteria:

1. She will not, under any circumstances wear pants.

“I DON”T WANT TO BE A BOY!!!!” is the explanation. I always reply, “Mommy is wearing pants. Is Mommy a boy?” and all I get back is a dirty look, like she’s saying, “I’m holding myself to higher standards than YOU, Ma.” Incidentally, she won’t wear pants at night either, only nightgowns.

2. She will not wear skirts.

That is, unless they are used as petticoats, under dresses. I have tried to pitch skirts as “dress bottoms” but she’s not buying it. She’s watched enough Disney to know real princesses wear one pieces.

3. She will not wear long sleeves.

I don’t blame her. Back when I had svelte arms I’d wear short sleeves exclusively, too. But I had sense enough to put a sweater on. Or a jacket. This is NYC after all, and spring is capricious.

4. She will wear not wear any dress devoid of the color pink.

Look, I like pink, I really do. Have you seen my hot pink sneaks? But come on, diversify the color palette.

5. She will not wear anything that does not zip up the back.

This is the most recent limitation and it is wildly annoying. Because while I can live with pink short-sleeved floor-length gowns every day, having to find ones that zip up the back is asking too much. But if I put on a button-back or a halter or even a pullover that is too roomy in the neck I get: “IT’S OPEN IN THE BACK! BUCKLE ME BUCKLE ME!” This kid wants to be laced up like a Victorian, tight, tight, tight. I have been known to mutter under my breath, “You’re a flippin’ nutjob . . . . ”

The whole process is exceedingly unpleasant. David has made it clear he’ll take no part in it. The burden has fallen to me. Which, honestly, is fitting. In a sense I feel like I am getting an Inferno-esque dose of retribution. For years, David has had to wait endlessly before we go out, while I toss dresses and blouses and shoes on and off, filling our bedroom with rejected apparel, running back to look in the full-length mirror. The punishment fits the crime.

Now I know I’m not the only one with this dressing drama. Is your kid as much of a diva as Sec? And how do you deal without blowing your top?