Thursday, March 23, 2006


THIS is today's struggle. Will NOT get dressed. At least not in clothing you could wear somewhere. So she's walking around in a pair of Strawberry Shortcake panties with a blanket wrapped around her, putting on the mug in the picture anytime I mention getting dressed. As you can see, she did allow a bath, and now her hair is all up in a pretty braid. I have forcibly dressed her (I do outweigh her considerably, which is pretty much my only advantage, since she has the determination of a badger and the agility of a weasel. Also, I'm thinking she might be one of the mutants from "X-Men." Something like Elbira, Elbowettika, or just Elbow Girl*, because she has the ability to transform her body from that of a normal small human child into something with 17 elbows in the blink of an eye.) several times now, and as soon as I'm not looking, she whips off the clothes and is back into the princess nightgown. So I hid the nightgown, and now we're having THIS standoff.

I've tried timeouts. I've tried deprivation. I've tried REASON (note to self: save time and go bang your head against something hard and unforgiving): "Isabella, we have to go to the store and the office and places, and you cannot wear a NIGHTGOWN to town! And it's 40 degrees! It is too cold!"

"But clothes are not sparkle-y and pretty enough to way-errr!!"


Just wait until she's big enough to muck out stalls.

Oh, and she sprung this one on me, today, in what I swear was a Darth Vader voice:

"Jack is my father."

Now you know. Sorry, Alex. I didn't want you to find out this way.

*Edited to say that I have decided that, barring copyright infringements, her X-Men name shall be "Bowflex."

UPDATE: Success! Belated success, but still! The critter is now finely decked out in a little Hanes sweatsuit and, well...a pair of purple Crocs. A compromise, and at this point, she's not going outside, so I didn't kvetch about the no-socks Crocs. After all, when we go out and tend to the horses, what will her father and I be wearing? Crocs. Do as we do, and all that.


  1. This is probably not your intent, but everytime I read a post about obstinant children (yours included) I thank God for the disconnect vas deferens of my fiance! :)

    I was a terribly stubborn child (and pretty close to moreso now) and I just KNOW that it would be suicide for us to create more of me.

  2. Well, for what it's worth, I was a pretty big challenge, and my mom seems to think I was worth it. ;-) Also, it takes about a million episodes like this to cancel out ONE early morning, "Mommy, I love you SO much," and a big hug. Seriously. Also bear in mind that I wasn't "ready" to do this until in my mid-30's!

  3. Bowflex, eh? And what will be her contribution to the mutant community?

  4. Boy, is that ever a familiar scene. Katie spends a lot of time clad in underwear and, sometimes, a t-shirt. Of course, our climate makes clothing seem sort of optional, so I see her point, and I figure that there is only a short period in most of our lives when we are just as cute in our birthday suits as fully clothed. (Of course, I've been known to take Katie on errands in her Santa Mouse p.j.'s when I couldn't convince her that they weren't appropriate, so I've already lost that battle.)

  5. kevin: Easy--she morphs into an impenetrable mass of ever-moving elbows! She wouldn't be a "feature player," maybe, but she'd be great on defense or whenever they needed a stall tactic. She could hold a few bad guys off for a while. And she's only three years old, so who knows what skills she'd develop under the tutelage of ol' Xavier?

    Melora: I am SO glad you said that! I have really been worried about Bella's nudist tendencies around the house. As soon as we walk in the door, she starts shucking clothes. Always leaves the underwear on, thank goodness, but it's a constant battle at home. I think I'm going to try getting her "lounging clothes" like Mommy and Daddy change into at home, and see if that works. Stuff that doesn't look like pajamas, but will work as pajamas. So glad you commented! (And I adore your name. It's just so pretty, rolls off the tongue.)

  6. I just find this all so humorous. Natalie won't wear anything but skirts with tights only (no leggings).
    Little divas.

  7. I hated clothing when I was younger. In fact, I hate clothing now. When I get hoe from work the first thing I usually do is take off my clothes and march around in bra and undies (no more because we live with the in-laws for now). Anyway, I'm so looking forward to these moments with my own kids although I know when they happpen I will be as frustrated as you sound. LOL.

  8. I guess I'm not sure why you're fighting her on this. It's her body and her choice of what she wants to wear. If she refuses to wear clothes in the house, then let her be nekkid. If she gets cold enough, she'll put on clothing. Once you take the fun of the battle out of the equation she's going to stop the nonsense.

    As for outside and going places, ask her once to get dressed. If she refuses, scoop her up in your arms and put her in the car in whatever she has on. If she's only in underwear or a diaper, then who is going to be more embarassed, you or her? My guess, she is. Just make sure you make a sign that you put on your purse that says "She chooses to dress herself and I'm not responsible for her bad choices". Oh, and bring a change of clothing for the car that she can change into once she feels like a total ass. This does work. The Boy went thru a similar phase, and he showed up to preschool stark nakid once, and that was it for the battles. But then I'm a bitch!

  9. Jack may be Bella's father, but I'm most definitely her mother. Don't knock that nudist thing. Clothes are soooo overrated.

    That reminds me - always CALL me before you come knocking on my hotel room door at BlogHer, ok? You may find me at the door in my Strawberry Shortcake panties and a blanket.

    I so love that Bella.

  10. Michelle--we're very picky in our fashion choices over here, too. Why am I not surprised that Natalie is, as well? Gotta love it.

    Margalit--there really are a lot of reasons I wouldn't take that tack with *this* kid:
    1. She's three years old.
    2. I'm not taking a toddler outside, never mind out for an extended errand in public, in her underwear or a summer nightgown. Part B to that is, *I* would definitely be the more embarrassed, being the parent, and would probably have Child Services called on me in the blink of an eye as well.
    3. I know this kid, because I WAS this kid. Now, that doesn't mean I know what will work with her every time, but it does mean I know what won't. And meeting her head-to-head with force ain't gonna matter a hill of beans. Not in the long run. My own mother had a beautiful way of simply limiting my choices in such a manner that *I* chose the "right" thing to do, while maintaining my dignity and the idea of some control over my own life. I seem not to have that innate skill, nor to have developed it sufficiently yet. Here's to me getting better with time!
    4. By virtue of my own shortcomings and illnesses lately, she has been deprived of a regular schedule, the company of her peers, and any sort of real "routine" that is unchanging from day to day. That's not her fault; it's ours. If *I* wasn't getting out of my pajamas for weeks on end, there sure wasn't any reason for her to get out of hers. I'm changing the "rules" on her now, and it's upsetting. She will be SO much happier as of next week, when we're doing the same stuff, at the same time, every day. And especially next year when she can start preschool "for real."

    If I'd been determined and it was critical to go out, I'd simply have muscled her into her clothes, carried her to the car, and strapped her into the seat before she could do anything about it. She'd have fussed, but would have forgotten all about it by the time we left the driveway. All these struggles are "home" issues for us, as this is the most pleasant child you'd ever want to meet in public. I really do believe much will be solved when a simple routine is instituted.

    Now, when I was 7, and refusing to get dressed for school? *Maybe* my mom should have sent me in pajamas. Or, knowing myself and how I was as a child, it might just have scarred me for life. Most likely the latter, and I'm not even being flip.

    mochaaaaaah...I truly believe she learned the clothes-shucking behavior from her parents, who would walk in after work and immediately undress. The part she seems to have missed, though, is the part where we put on our "Mr. Rogers" comfy clothes instead!

    And? If I get to BlogHer and you do not, in fact, have Strawberry Shortcake panties, I will be sorely disappointed. Sorely.

  11. Kristina--I was the same as a child...two societal demands that were toally unreasonable to my little tiny mind were clothing and bed-making! I mean, what WAS the point? ;-)

  12. My sister had a tear-off-the-clothes thing going on when young. In fact, the mailman brought her home naked one day because she would jump the fence. Scary eh? I can really tell you love your daughter. She sounds like a lot of fun to watch grow up.

  13. THat kid, she's a cutie! And I"m going through the SAME thing with my 8 month old! (A bit of a different story, I know, but still, the same thing with the squirming and such!)

    Please note new name and profile, etc..

  14. Funny you should mention that. I've got a picture somewhere around here of me wearing Strawberry Shortcake panties. Let me see if I can find it...

  15. I'm scared our son will get these symptons as well since he can be a stubborn little shit at times. But so far it's enough to sit down and chat with him for a minute or two and he's back to nornmal. God I hope this coninues

    Nice weekend


  16. Anytime I do something to upset my mother she says "I can't wait for you to have kids. God will pay me back." We would have to ask your mum if you were ever like this?

  17. Who KNOWS what sets them off? We've got a Dora nightgown that could stand alone in a corner from consta-wear.

    So, do the Strawberry Shorcake undies guarantee potty training success? Inquiring minds NEED to know...

  18. My daughter, who's also three, LOVES to be naked! You never know when she's going to come out of her room wearing nothing at all, except maybe her boots!

    When Kiernan doesn't want to get dressed, I tell her to go pick out her own clothes. And she'll actually bring them to me and ask if they match. It's to cute! Maybe letting Bella pick out her own clothes will help with getting her to wear something besides a blanket and Strawberry Shortcake panties.

    Note: I keep all of Kiernan's jammies in the top drawer of her dresser, and the things that she can wear on the bottom so she can reach them. She can't pick out what she can't see. ;)

  19. Oh belinda! i love that kid! I smile all the time thinking of her falling asleep standing up.

    You're a lucky woman!

  20. digi--I'm laughing so hard I'm crying! Naked AND fence-jumping? How did you keep her from going feral? ;-) I'm sure she LOVES these stories today!

    cece--(that's gonna take some getting used to) Yeah, the infant clothing resistance is powerful. How can that be? They're so TINY!

    Mr. Fab. must be stopped.

    adventuredad! Here, at "my house!" Cool. And yeah, we're at least beyond the screaming tantrums now, and those were short-lived, just like everyone said they would be. She's just like me and her father, so we can't really be surprised.

    VGal--you don't EVEN have to ask her, because I'll smooth admit it! Bella is the answer to all those times my mother just shook her head and said, "I hope you have one just like you." It's the universal mother's curse!

    zelda--in my case, Grandmommy accomplished the potty-training. In one night. You heard me. After we'd just struggled with it (while listening to my mom brag about how Andrea and I were both out of diapers by 18 months--and we were) and fretted over it for a year, she goes and spends one night with Grandmommy, gets some new, pretty, "big girl" panties, and she totally got on board the potty train. Some kind of mojo, I'm just not sure what. I have a friend (with 7 kids!) who always said that she had found she could start potty-training on *her* schedule, and drag it out for months or a year, OR she could wait for the kid to be ready, and do it in a week. Hmmmm.

    kari, since you are about the umpteenth person to suggest the dresser arrangment (everyone in my family suggested same), I think I will actually DO it! I think our daughters would get along great, and I think we should keep them apart at all costs, lest they stage a coup!

    jess, thanks...I have a similar fond image of Parker in the restaurant ordering "BOOB!" I love these children.

  21. This is so funny!

    I have one kid who's always naked too. And I'm a person who's always cold so it often literally pains me to see him walking around on our freezing tile in nothing but a diaper.

    And for the record, I'm not above forced-dressing either. There's a reason 3-year-olds need parents. I might give in and take mine out in red pants, an orange shirt and a pink/green striped hat if they were being frustratingly stubborn, but naked? I don't think so!