Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Half-Sleeved Half-Pint

Ever since we found out that we're having a baby boy, I've been busy digging in the closet for all of Raina's old clothes. Presently, my bedroom is lined with plastic bags of varying sizes filled with R's clothes to give away to all the neighborhood's little girls or to preggie mommies expecting baby girls or to AMVETS. So far, have given away just one -- some of R's 2T stuff -- and the mommy of the little girl I gave it too was astounded that the clothes were in such good shape.

One reason they are in good shape is because R always wears a bib when eating. But the biggest reason is Raina herself.

Ever since Raina turned 18 months old, I've been asking her what she wants to wear. I think it gives her a feeling of control over her life, plus it helps her make decisions. Raina took to it pretty quickly -- and I was glad about that. The downside? Raina would wear the SAME clothes over and over again. I didn't know I could get sooooo sick of seeing my daughter wear the same outfit every third day.

My first resort was to keep a longer gap between laundries. If something was dirty, she couldn't wear it. But even if I did laundry just once a week, it was tiresome to see the same clothes the very next week. She had a Monday outfit, a Tuesday outfit... one for every day of the week. Then I resorted to hiding some clothes that I just could not BEAR to see her in. But then, the whining would start.

A typical morning in our household:

Raina and I standing in front of her closet.

Raina: I want to wear that striped half-sleeve t-shirt with shorts.
Me: How about wearing a dress instead? You haven't worn that in so long.
Raina: No. I want to wear a half-sleeve t-shirt.
Me: (appealing to her vanity) But dresses look so cute on you!
Raina: Half-sleeve t-shirts look cute too. See, it looks so cute!
Me: How about a sleeveless t-shirt? You never wear those and you have so many of them.
Raina: No. I want to wear a half-sleeve t-shirt.
Me: OK. How about a skirt instead of those shorts? You never wear a skirt.
Raina: No. I want shorts!
Me: (Now resorting to blackmail) Raina, I am going to stop buying you any new clothes if you won't wear anything other than half-sleeve t-shirts.
Raina: But I want to wear half-sleeve t-shirts. I want new ones!
Me: (cunningly) Miss Cindy said she would really like to see you in a dress.
Raina: (thoughtfully) Maybe I'll wear a dress tomorrow.

And I have to be satisfied with that. Sometimes, that tomorrow never comes. When it does, she'll wear the SAME dress she always wears when she's in a conciliatory mood. It's like beating my head against a brick wall. But that's the whole point, I guess, to give her control. I just wish she wanted to wear what I wanted her to wear.


Terri said...

Our four-year-old took control a long time ago, without bothering to check with us. I'm hoping this is just a phase, but somehow tells me this is a lost battle.

upsilamba said...

LOL @ muser and terri.

you guys should ask your moms, I bet the genes trickled.

On a recent India visit, I happened to go over my older cousin's wedding pics. There was a pic of 10 yr old me,in a cute dress, a matching bow and sigh! with Bata chappals. I accused mom of her poor dressing sense and she said I made a huge fuss when a matching half-shoe was given.

So as long as Raina and Kuki looks decent and cute, don't fret.

A Muser said...

Terri: I agree; we need to temporarily withdraw from the battlefield -- and strategically plan for the day they become teenagers and start to wear clothes that'll make our eyes bug out.
Upsi: My husband's and my mom took care to squash those rebellious genes really early. It's a Punj thing I think. But my mom's clothes control lasted only until I was a teen -- then all hell broke loose and I drove her around the bend with my teeny skirts and backless tops :))) Hey maybe if we withdraw from the battlefield now, Terri and I'll have better luck down the road.

Anonymous said...

clothe issues are so 20th century ;-)!

- s.b.

Moppet's Mom said...

Moppet is 16 months old and LIVES in her chaddi banyans. On the rare occasions that I wrestle her into a cute dress she sulks and mopes and pulls at the dress in disgust.

My mom tells me that at age 3 I used to insist on wearing one particular salwar kurta - with the kurta tucked into the salwar!

So I guess my chaddi-banyan baby is karma.... :-)