She Says… An Ode to Wrinkles (And Being 3)

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Oh wrinkles.

How you ignite such passionate ‘tude in my once-tough and flexible child.

No more. No. Now a tiny little wrinkle in his socks… or his pants… or his long sleeved shirt under his jacket… or his mittens — don’t even get me started on his mittens — turns him into a whining, screaming, tantrum-throwing mess. A puddle of conflicting emotions that somehow renders him completely incapable of using his astonishingly large vocabulary.

Maybe it’s my fault. My fault for living somewhere that requires that we wear a jacket for a good portion of the year, and boots, hat and mittens from November to March. Or that I get giddy as a schoolkid when I see the first snowflakes falling and can’t wait to get the whole family outside to feel them melt on our tongues. Maybe it’s my fault that I have encouraged him to enjoy shoveling the driveway with his tiny shovel, or making up games like sliding down the slide on his swingset into a huge pile of snow.

Because you know what? NONE of these things are fun if your three year old is blubbering over his clothes.

Or won’t leave the house because his boots “aren’t right”.

Or flailing his body around madly when his snowpants lift up his pant legs.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I would have described Owen as resilient, open, flexible, tough. So tough that he doesn’t even bat an eyelash when he cracks his head on the floor while doing some silly stunt or has a fever of 102. But lately mere mention of putting on mittens melts him into a helpless heap. (Mittens, by the way, have to go OVER the ends of a long-sleeved shirt and UNDER the sleeves of his coat. If either of them get pulled up or down or sideways, IT’S ALL OVER).

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We got a dump of snow a few days ago that was fluffy and light and glittery. We talked about sledding for days while the temp hovered around 0 (and below). Finally, on Sunday the sun came out and the air warmed up and it was sledding perfection.

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You know, except for the fact that we couldn’t even get out the door because of the tantrum Owen was throwing over his clothes. Again. Finally in a desperate effort to meet our friends and actually have fun (YOU WILL HAVE FUN, DAMMIT), I said, “Fine. Don’t wear any mittens. I will bring them just in case and you can let me know when your hands are cold.”

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The stubborn kid would not wear his mittens, no matter how cold he got. Our sweet friend even offered her kid’s mittens for him to try, and although that perked him up slightly, he didn’t go for it. So after a few runs of AWESOME sledding down a HUGE hill, he returned to his blubbering, whiny state. The perfect way to pretty much ruin a day of fun!

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Benjamin’s parents are probably giggling reading this, because apparently he was famous for this same wardrobe issue. Especially with his socks. “Particular” does not even begin to describe it. So I guess Owen comes by it honestly. But honestly? That doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.

Anyone else have “particular” children? Any tips for me for how to help him with the wrinkles (other than wearing a spandex suit from head to toe? I’d like that invented to go under snowclothes, please…)?

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13 responses to “She Says… An Ode to Wrinkles (And Being 3)

  1. I found these mittens called mini-tens on a deal-a-day site last year and they are brilliant. They have cuffs that go up past the elbow, so they won’t slide down or come off easily. I’ve seen other versions of this type on One Step Ahead or other kid stores. Maybe that would help? Sorry. 3 year olds are their own particular brand of crazy.

  2. Sorry- mimiTens. Here’s their site. http://mimitens.myshopify.com

  3. Yes. I hope it doesn’t happen to you, but be prepared to go through this for a few more years just in case. I’ve had to drive my kid to school many times, having missed the bus when my 4-year-old won’t put on his shoes or jacket (or has removed them after I put them on him because his sleeves or socks rode up or down inside). And God forbid my 7-year-old get an itch somewhere under his clothes – the screaming! The flailing! We went through 3 years of battles over shoes, when the tongue isn’t straight or the velcros aren’t tight enough (but they insist on tightening them so much that the Velcro doesn’t line up and therefore won’t stick). My 4-year-old has ripped a brand new shirt (given to him as a gift) because he couldn’t handle the feeling of a collar and buttons.

    Sorry – I’m not trying to make it sound awful! My kids are wonderful most of the time. But almost every piece of clothing brings new challenges. It often seems the worst with clothes that feel different from the norm; i.e., boots, dress-up clothes, etc. We try to avoid some of the more “offensive” items just to keep peace (pick your battles, right?), which does make it easier. And it has definitely gotten better in the past year or so with my 7-year-old. You might just have to tough it out for this phase. It could be a very long tunnel, but I think it’s safe to say there’s a light at the end!

  4. My kid (Owen’s age) is so particular about clothes he cried for 45 minutes and it took 3 of us pinning him down to get his snow suit on. I usually cave and let him wear his light jacket and no snow pants but that day it was 10 degrees. Only kid I know who icefishes in a light jacket. Not to mention he wears boots 4 sizes too big EVERY SINGLE DAY (even in summer) and has to have a camo shirt and camo pants on 24/7.

    How did I almost forget? No socks. Ever. It is negative five degrees here right now and he certainly won’t be wearing socks. Why? He says they, “make him cold”.

  5. I’m sure you can decide this better than I, but here’s any idea: what if the clothing “particularity” is really about control and/or attention? Maybe Owen has figured out that if he’s extremely picky about this sock or that mitten that he gets to run the show and Mommy and Daddy pay a lot of attention to him. Ignoring it and letting him figure it out or suffer the consequences might be an eventual, though potentially very painful, solution. Good luck!!

  6. Well, my darling daughter chose to be super picky starting at 2, so I’m a year and a half into this battle. I’ve surrendered. She picks out her clothes every night before bed because she will NEVER put on anything I choose. I now know that she wants her left sock and shoe on before her right. The coat must come off as soon as she gets in the car and then back on (zipped and hood up) before we get out. She refuses mittens and scarfs and all other accessories. Luckily we live in Oklahoma, but it’s a cold winter for us!

  7. YES! 100 TIMES, YES! There’s not much that makes me crazier than the clothing tantrums! “My jacket is bothering me,” “My sock is all bunchy,” “This mitten doesn’t feel right!” I don’t think it’s about attention, I think you nailed it- some kids are just particular. I used to think it was just the age but now I’m convinced it’s a personality thing. (And partially age, no doubt.) My oldest still has these moments at 5 and my youngest could give a rat’s patootie if he’s wearing 2 left shoes, with wet mittens, and a shirt that’s on backwards.

  8. oh boy… Sounds like a good time to figure out which battles are worth fighting. I would just bust out my “mean mommy voice” and let him know, mid-tantrum, that “I can’t understand you when you talk that way, you need to sit and calm your body down. If you don’t stop screaming then you can’t come with us and we will go and have fun and you can stay home” and then follow through with it.
    My daughter isn’t particular (though she hates tags in clothes), but she is very insistent and will melt into a puddle of tears if someone so much looks at her the wrong way.
    I’d say the best way to deal is to give him tons of prep, so like “when we go out this afternoon you need to wear your gloves, you can pick the red pair or the blue pair, but you need to wear one, you don’t have a choice” etc.
    Really happy I live in southern california right now! 🙂

  9. @Liz McC, These are amazing! I’ve never seen them before. I have other ones that have a “sleeve”, but they are super tight and I think that’s why he hates them. We’ve tried many, many brands, but these are something really different. And he could wear short sleeves! I love them. Thank you so much.

    @Julie, Benjamin just said, “There is a really scary comment on our blog right now” about your message. Ha. My heart goes out to you for dealing with this for years and years — I REALLY hope we’re not in the same boat, but who knows. Kids are funny.

    @Christy, Oh my. At least it’s good to know I’m not alone, and that my kid isn’t a total weirdo. Let’s hope they grow out of this!

    @Casey, I’m sure you’re right there’s an element of control/attention going on. Isn’t there always, with bad behavior? I totally agree about letting him suffer the consequences (see letting him go sledding with no gloves, above), but even that doesn’t seem to quell the firestorm sometimes. And if he did that today he’d absolutely get frostbite. In general, though, I think you’re right and my kneejerk response is to move on without emotion or attention on my part.

    @Amber, Kids are so crazy!

    @Meg, You nailed it. I will immediately start dressing Emmett in itchy, scratchy, bunchy clothes so that he never gets too comfortable 🙂

    @Caroline, These are all very good suggestions. We’ve tried each one at various times and none have made an impact (even the leaving him inside all by himself while we went out and shoveled/played in the snow). I am hoping the tincture of time will solve this one.

  10. Oh geez, I wasn’t trying to scare you guys! I realize what I wanted to be advice just ended up sounded like me complaining about my kids. That was not my intent. What I meant was that I’ve gotten so used to the clothing tantrums for so long that it has just sort of become routine to deal with them. And it IS getting better – so while I do think some kids are just particular about their clothing, I also think it’s something most kids will eventually grow out of. I didn’t mean to sound so negative – sorry!

  11. @Julie, No, no, we thought it was funny. I’m glad to hear he will hopefully grow out of it at some point.

  12. Totally dying that wrinkles, of all things, make him nuts! Ryan is so crazy about so many things that it is always a breath of fresh air to hear about another kid melting down over something so random. Our biggest area of frustration lately is that we are not allowed to move or reorganize anything without Ryan’s approval. “MOMMYYYYY?!??! YOU PUT THIS TOY IN THE BASKET?!? IT GOES IN THE BUCKET!!!” It’s been especially bad lately with the influx of Christmas toys and my desire to get organized and decluttered. I keep moving things, he keeps flipping out. Good times!

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