Drowning in Taffeta

by doodaddy on January 27, 2009


Belt Pride

From the prize bag, Boo today selected a bejeweled pink belt — $3 from Target. And, much as I hate to admit this, she made it look good.

Beats me how it happened, but my daughter has become a clothes fanatic: she changes at least five times a day and usually more. She wore three different bathing suits in the bath yesterday, rejecting the second one for the incredible reason that "it got too wet." In the bath.

Once, I was proud of her fashion sense. I’m still a little proud but mostly it’s a pain in the ass.

Sometimes she’s re-dressing to procrastinate, of course, as in, "No, I can’t come to dinner: I have to put on my ballet clothes!" Or she’ll want to wear "baby clothes" when we’re lavishing too much attention on baby Blueberry. Most of the time, though, there’s no discernible reason why her internal regulator suddenly decrees that her outfit must be changed.

You’re probably about to tell me that I’m crazy to complain: it’s a creative endeavor, she does it almost entirely independently (alas! except when buttons are involved), and, well, it’s pretty darn cute.

But you’re forgetting about the pile.

Every day, there are socks and dresses strewn on the stairs. Three perused and rejected pairs of pants in the bathroom. And shoes? Don’t even get me started. Just from where I sit here in the kitchen I can see an unused bib (Boo was playing baby again), a reindeer hair rubber band, a ballet skirt, the pants she was wearing before the ballet skirt, and a mysterious pair of green underwear. (Into the laundry with that last one; Boo’s habit does our washing machine no favors, either.)

We fill baskets, bags, tubs, and take them back to Boo’s room. I could, no joke, spend an hour a day just re-sorting the clothing if I were so inclined — or if I had an hour a day.

The only disciplinary plan that’s suggested itself to me (got any more suggestions? I am open like a convenience store) is "clothing jail": anything left out gets disappeared into a garbage bag for a day or a week. And that seems too harsh for a three-year old; that, and there would be no end of tantrums about not having the right Dorothy-from-Oz shoes (of which she has four pairs in various colors and sizes).

All of which is to plead with you, loyal readers: if you don’t hear from me for a week, send help. I’ve probably gotten myself tangled in a pile of tights with pictures of little kittens on them.

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tagged as , in clothing,housework,mischief ·

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynnie January 27, 2009 at 6:24 am

Just last week I did the laundry and discovered that in the time it took me to wear one pair of jeans and three shirts my three-year-old had worn 15 whole outfits! I don’t know if this says more about her lifestyle or mine.

My plan is to just not do laundry that often. Then, when her wardrobe gets down to the dregs she won’t have the motivation to change clothes as often because only the “bad stuff” will be left!


mom, again January 27, 2009 at 6:58 am

She’s not too young to help with the constant sorting, replacing, washing, folding & putting away. Esp. if some of the more costumy outfits are designated ‘toys’ and stored in a dressing up box or basket (which you will have to check once in a while for non-costume clothes). Once you’ve established her role in helping with laundry, only then should the clothing jail come into it. You aren’t disciplining her for the mess left by creative dressing, you are disciplining her to encourage responsibility for the creative dressing.


Xbox4NappyRash January 27, 2009 at 11:10 am

Despite your best efforts, she’s gonna end up a girl you know…


doodaddy January 27, 2009 at 11:26 am

@Lynnie – Starve the beast, huh? We’ve certainly gone down that road out of necessity, but long-term I think we’re going to need another solution. Like a bonfire, maybe.


doodaddy January 27, 2009 at 11:28 am

@mom, again – Yeah, I know that’s what I should be doing, and I have, a couple of times. Thing is that to “teach and put away” takes four times as long as just to “put away.” And with the new baby — well, free time is pretty much nonexistent around here…


doodaddy January 27, 2009 at 11:28 am

@Xbox4NappyRash – Sweet. How do you get away with saying stuff like that? I’d’ve had my head chewed off 20 years ago.

Maybe it’s your Irish good looks…


Malke Rosenfeld January 27, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Sadly, you have described my life in this one post.

By the way, I’ve been checking in on your blog for a while now, and I’m really enjoying reading. Thanks.


doodaddy January 28, 2009 at 8:31 pm

@Malke Rosenfeld – Hey, thanks! Your dance math thing looks really neat — is it just in Indiana, or is there some sort of national organization?


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