My children are nudists. Dressing them is another one of the many battles that occurs at our house on a daily basis. I used to see children running around in their diapers and I assumed their parents were lazy. Now, I know that their parents were simply exhausted.
My children have luckily learned that clothes are mandatory outside the house, but behind closed doors, they are transformed into tiny strippers. Unfortunately, Audrey learned how to open doors before she learned this lesson, which led to me chasing a naked child down the sidewalk on more than one occasion. I knew that there would be clothing battles with two girls in the house, but I had no idea that the clothing battles would begin at such young ages and that the battle would be “Me” against “Them”.
Yesterday, I wanted to leave the house and I was prepared for battle. I tackled Abby first because she is smaller and easier to force into submission. I managed to put all of her clothes on her writhing body and the only casualty was one of my fingernails. Her eyes immediately filled with tears once she was dressed and she repeatedly cried “Stuck” as she tugged at the offensive clothing.
I then chased Audrey (naked) around the house for thirty minutes while she cackled and literally bounced off of the walls. I ran after her waving her pants over my head like a white flag, while simultaneously screaming “This is NOT funny. It is time to put on your clothes.”
I tried other tactics as well:
Superficial: “Look at how cute these skinny jeans are!”
Peer-pressure: “All the other big girls wear clothes. You want to be a big girl, don’t you?”
Bribery: “You can have 2 lollipops. One, if you put on this pair of pants and another if you put on the pair of pants to replace these after you get lollipop all over them.”
Desperation: Finally, I just sat down and cried. Amazingly enough, without plotting at all, I had found the one thing that would cause Audrey to dress herself.
As Audrey finished pulling on her pants, I glanced over at Abby who was now miraculously wearing nothing but a diaper. I pulled a shirt over her head, put on both of their shoes and went into the backyard. I reflected on the fact that in a strange way, I had won the battle. Other parents may have seen a kid in diapers and thought I was lazy, but I saw 2 kids that were wearing enough clothes to form one complete outfit AND an extra pair of shoes.