…and it’s wreaking havoc with the rhythm of our days.
That might be a wee bit melodramatic, so let me back up.
I want the mood in my house to be pleasant and peaceful, and that doesn’t happen naturally. My husband and I are teaching our kids to be kind, and gracious, and loving. We’ve worked (and are constantly working) on choosing a pleasant voice, on not rolling our eyes, on being responsible for the energy you bring into the room.
The thing that’s undoing it more than anything else? My three year old doesn’t want to wear clothes.
(This will come as no surprise if you follow me on instagram. I don’t share naked pics of my kids, but there have been plenty of my little guy sans pants in places where pants might be considered appropriate.)
picking big brother up from baseball camp, in a rash guard, underpants, and dress shoes
This started–not coincidentally–when the weather warmed up. We started potty-training about that time, and while we were in process, I encouraged my child to go naked from the waist down. (I don’t know why this works, but it works. Pinky swear.) After a week, we had achieved potty training success, but he didn’t want to wear clothes anymore.
I’m pretty easygoing about what my kids wear. My oldest wants to be sports-ready at all times. My eight-year-old wears her refashioned creations all over town. My six-year-old’s pattern mixing gets pretty crazy. My three-year-old used to wear the same shirt every day before he refused to wear any shirt at all.
And when I say refuse, I mean refuse. He screams before, during, and after the dreadful pants-putting-on time, and it’s only getting worse. When summer began, he’d scream until the clothes were on his body–and then he’d stop. It was like the thought of the clothes was worse than the clothes themselves.
After that, I was able to pop him into the minivan in his underpants, and slip his clothes on when we arrived at our destination. It was like something in his brain said, “oh, we’re here now–time to put on clothes!” and all was well.
at the library
But as of a few weeks ago, clothes are not okay. Not before. Not during. Not after. He’s only happy in his clothes when he forgets he’s wearing them–which does happen, but not reliably or often enough to count on.
This seems like such a silly thing, but listening to a 3-year-old screaming for half an hour sets everyone on edge and destroys any semblance of peace in our home (or minivan).
He’s my fourth child–I feel like I’ve earned a few notches in my belt by now–but I have no idea what to do about it.
If you’ve got suggestions, I’m all ears.
***** ***** *****
I’ve always heard that it takes five words of praise to balance out one negative comment, so on that note, here are
five six good things to balance out my naked child:
1. Dinner in the backyard…in July, when it’s usually too hot.
2. 55 degree mornings, which are unseasonably cool and 100% delightful.
3. Walks with my kids, one on one. My new gadget has me looking for opportunities to pick up steps, and my kids quickly caught on and want to join in for some mama time.
4. Homemade gluten free/dairy free/soy free pizza, which isn’t “healthy” by a long shot but was much enjoyed by everyone anyway.
5. Staying up too late, drinking wine (adults) and chasing fireflies (kids). Just because it’s summer, and because we can. (Last year, everyone fell apart if we didn’t hold fast to our 7pm bedtime. This year, it doesn’t seem to matter if we fudge it and I’m loving it.)
exploring–with clothes on. phew.
on the trail
6. Exploring our city’s new parklands on a glorious July afternoon.
(Please note that these activities can all be enjoyed naked–if you’re three–except for #6, which was miserable for the first half hour until my kid forgot he was wearing clothes and focused on having fun instead.)
Talk to me about coping strategies for kids who hate their clothes, or about the little ways you’re experiencing common grace this July.