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    March 28, 2012

    Playing dress up

    Dressing my kids is not my forte. Like, AT ALL. I was reminded of this tonight when Jack peeled off his jeans and there was a HOLE in the knee. 

    How did that happen? I'm serious. My kids play hard, just like all the other kids, but I've been wearing MY jeans for YEARS and *I* have not busted through the knee. I call foul on Kid Clothes Makers. 

    It doesn't matter, though, since those jeans were getting too short anyway. As was the long-sleeved shirt he wore today. Should I be able to see bare wrists? Then I remember: he IS turning five in May. He MAY be need to move up from 4T. 

    (Length only, however. I'm pretty sure both my big kids would be fine with 18 month size waists.) 

    But dressing them... I feel like this should be a FUN thing, but most of the time I am just BEWILDERED. For one thing, I can't tell with sizes. I would have sworn half the things I bought Molly last year would be huge and she'd be growing into them, but nope! Those super cute overalls with the embroidered pink hearts lasted all of two months. And there's no point in buying anything for them if the waist isn't adjustable. Even a regular elastic waist is often too big. So THAT is frustrating. 

    Then there's the whole issue of buying a bunch of clothes they are going to 1) grow out of or 2) trash. So as much as I love all the matchy outfits at Gymboree and those miniBoden dresses (SWOON), my kids wear Target and Old Navy (good for skinny kids!) and whatever my mom finds on sale at KMart. I'm not picky. If it fits, they wear it! 

    I do go through phases. Sometimes I get an email about a sale and I cannot help myself. Sometimes we need Easter dresses and wedding attire. And this last year I did preschool shopping in the fall and went a little nutso (although, when you require an entirely new wardrobe each year, you HAVE to go a little nutso at the outlet mall.) 

    But trying to make them cute every day? SO BEYOND MY CAPABILITIES. 

    I have Jack, who will wear anything I lay out for him, which is often a pair of fleece pants and whatever long-sleeved t-shirt is cleanest. Lately I've been making more of an effort to look in the closet and pull out a button down shirt or a polo for preschool days. He HAS those clothes, might as well WEAR them. The collared shirts plus the haircut have perhaps improved my standing in his teacher's eyes. 

    Molly, on the other hand, has Strong Opinions. I have no energy to deal with those, so as long as what she wants to wear is clean, fits, and isn't one of her poofy dresses, she can wear it. I'd almost given up on making her wear jeans or regular pants (she prefers leggings, as those are "the pants that go with dwesses") although lately I've convinced her on the Old Navy skinnies. (Which are still falling off her barely-there bottom.) But things must be pink or have a certain flower on them or not be brown or SOMETHING IS ALWAYS WRONG WITH WHAT I PICK OUT and it is SO tiring. Today I told her that her panda bear dress was getting a little short (the SLEEVES are too short) and there were TEARS. Whatever. She wore it anyway. Sometimes I feel like I'm getting Looks for, ah, "indulging" Molly in her attire, but you pick your battles and this is not one of mine. 

    If things match, if they are clean, if I can scrape Molly's hair off her forehead: that is a good day. 

    I have no idea how people manage all these super put together kids. I know a few of them. I am BEFUDDLED. Their hair always looks like someone did more than run a wet comb through the front. Their clothes are from fancy stores. They look trendy. They have a style. Maybe I am just too busy watching TV? (Also, I can't even do this for MYSELF.)

    Oh, and all the internet buying clothes in advance? Like next year's coat? Or super cheap pants that will fit in kindergarten? TOTALLY OVERWHELMING. I would forget. I would never remember where I PUT those clothes. I have a tiny stack of too-big clothes for each kid (usually gifts from extended family who have no idea what size they wear) that I keep in their respective closets. And whenever I do the too-small sorting (OH HOW I LOATHE THAT TASK) I try to remember to peek in the pile and see if there's anything that can be added to the drawers. But otherwise... just the storage and organization requirements feel burdensome. 

    I think maybe this is just one of those things where I am irrationally overwhelmed, but without any inclination to do otherwise. I had thought, having a girl, I'd be dressing her cutesy every day, in matchy outfits with matchy hair accessories and always the right kind of shoe and never weird socks and she'd have PLENTY of these outfits. But I didn't count on how much work that is, let alone that my kid would have her own opinion. And also have hair that does not HOLD hair accessories. (Poor kid, just like her mother.) 

    OH EMMA IS AWAKE. SPLENDID!

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    This is what my kid looked like today. Too big shirt (from the neighborhood consignment store, she likes that it has music notes on it), clean-ish jeans and what's up with those cuffs? Mismatched socks. The orange one might even be a baby sock. And I just don't really care. We do try slightly harder on preschool days, but it's spring break!

    http://www.thirdbookphotography.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/shea-3small.jpg

    People with kids that have hair that looks like they did something more than run a comb through it... have kids with easy hair. NOTHING I do with my daughter's hair stays more than ten minutes. And even if I wait to do her hair until right before we leave, she ruins it while sitting in her carseat. Or sitting on the couch. Or BREATHING. *sigh*

    I only buy one size up for my kids and I only do it if the clothes are dirt cheap. I know I should do it if the clothes are semi-cheap because it'll be cheaper than buying all full price clothes but who knows what they're going to like to wear in a year? And who knows what season they're going to be wearing which size because age does not correlate with size. And even if I buy something, I forget I did. I do tend to peek in the bin when seasons change and I'll pull stuff out that will ALMOST fit and then they wear clothes that are too big for them. Shirts mostly. So my 2-yr-old will wear a 3T shirt with a 18 month pants. Because that's how we roll.

    Also, here's a link of making all pants adjustable: http://www.kundhi.com/blog/2009/11/24/how-to-add-adjustable-elastic-to-kids-pants-in-5-easy-steps/

    You know that bubbly drawer liner stuff? That you can also use to open jars? Get some of that and cut up little pieces and hot glue them inside Molly's hair clippes. Technically, I was supposed to do that on the clips I mailed you but I guarentee that I forgot. That ought to help keep the clippies in her hair.

    I've only had to start buying clothes recently for Elizabeth. Up until last year, they just kind of showed up at our house. All brand new and adorable. It was a great deal. Elizabeth does have the benefit of being the only baby in our entire family, and not only the only baby, but the next youngest is 26. Last year, she was sent FIVE Easter dresses. Five! This year, none. Apparently her novelty has worn off.

    OMG, I LOVE Old Navy for the kids, except! I have bought Asher FOUR PAIRS of jeans there since September (in 5T Skinny!) and he has ripped through THREE PAIRS. In both knees, and in one pair, the pockets AND THE CROTCH. So now he wears sweatpants and knit shorts to school, period. Because I need to save that one pair of jeans for times when I need him to look marginally nice. It kills me though. GAH.

    And I bet our kids could share clothes. Asher can still wear his 3T shorts, but they look like hooker shorts, they're so short.

    For about the past 3 years,my 6 year old has blown holes in all of his jeans before he outgrew them. Part of the problem is that he sits on his knees instead of cross-legged on the floor. I've tried Wranglers, Gymboree, Old Navy, Levi's and Children's Place. My latest trick is putting denim patches on the inside of his jeans on the knees before he gets a hole in them. Jeans are the only pants he wears except when I make him wear khakis for church.

    I am willing to pay for Gymboree as they often have sales and I have coupons - the clothes last for more than one kid. Their straight jeans in the slim fit work for my skinny boy.

    I buy almost all my kids' clothes from Kohl's and Target. Or Once Upon a Child, which is a consignment shop. Hello! I am not spending lots of money on clothes that my kids are going to literally roll around on the ground in. I do buy a few things on sale at Crazy 8 though. Crazy 8 is my weakness.

    Oh! And! Ren is the pickiest dresser of all time. He wears sweatpants or fleece shorts. THAT IS IT. He will not wear jeans or khakis or anything not fleece. And he won't wear collared shirts or anything that has ribbing around the wrist. I mean, I could force him to, but it would be an all day fight of him trying to take the clothes off and me trying to get him to keep them on. I know because I have tried it, and it is just not worth it.

    The worst part is that I was probably even pickier about my clothes growing up. I drove my mom CRAZY. Oops.

    First off - we've been spoiled with TONS of hand-me-down clothes that not only fit my girls, but that they like to wear and I deem age-appropriate.
    Therefore, I am ALWAYS overwhelmed when faced with having to buy them actual new clothes that aren't the standard socks/underwear/occasional tee. I think its the sizing thing which infuriates me since sizes differ by brand so drastically. And don't even get me started on trying to buy kid shoes that fit and last longer than a week....

    Perhaps Molly is going thru a phase? My oldest went thru the phase of being super picky about her clothes when she was 3 and now her younger sister is following suit. Cokes wore this denim jumper will a red satin under skirt thing EVERY SINGLE DAY until it literally fell apart. Its sitting in my pile of clothes that need sewing and will likely stay there indefinitely.
    CoCo quickly found a replacement - a polka-dot dress - that she now wears EVERY SINGLE DAY OR ELSE THERE ARE TEARS. So not worth it to wage war on selling her something else.

    For the record, my oldest still has her moments with wearing the RIGHT outfit, but now that she has a school uniform to wear, our deal is she can change into whatever she wants (usually layers of mis-matched crazy colors/patterns) when she gets off the bus in the afternoon.

    I knew a kid who wore a Batman costume on the regular. TO CHURCH. And I don't remember anyone being judgey about it - he was ADORABLE and clearly he just wanted to be Batman. So I am guessing that people see Molly and think: ADORABLE.

    But the whole idea of Dressing Children really does seem daunting. Expensive plus temporary plus tiny equals impossible task.

    I was reading and thought "THIS IS ME!" For winter I buy about six pairs of exactly the same jeans, and long sleeve shirts. For summer I buy a bunch of mix and match skorts and tees. I do not do their hair- like at all. Anything I try and do, like braids or something, is completely ruined within five minutes. And yet! The other preschool kids are all color-coordinated and hair curled, and one girl has no less than two huge bows in her hair AT ALL TIMES. It's like, professionally done or something- every day. I've even talked to her mother and she gave me the "you'd be surprised how easy it is, blah blah, curlers, etc." And I roll my eyes... on the inside. Because it is impossible that it is easy. This year I am struggling with the summer wardrobe, 4T still doesn't fit around the waist, but is too short. 5T cannot even PERCH on their hips and falls down immediately. I may have to start sewing all their clothes- which will be a disaster.

    I buy Sophie lots of mix-and-match leggings, tunics, t-shirts, and shorts from Target and Kohl's for school, since the clothes she wears to school tend to take more of a beating on the rip/stain front. I buy nicer clothes from Gymboree, Crazy 8s, and the Children's Place more for non-school wear.

    However, since I am an only child and Sophie is my only child, she is the only grandchild of my parents, so my mother goes a little crazy buying clothes, so I don't always have to buy a lot. Recently, I mentioned that Sophie's shoes were getting too small and the next thing I knew, my mom showed up with four new pairs of shoes for her LOL. I have to watch what I say or my retired parents are going to go broke!

    I absolutely cannot buy clothes a season or year ahead, because Sophie is so big and grows so erratically. On her 3rd birthday in August, she was wearing 4T, so I started buying fall clothes in 4T. A month later when it began cooling down, those clothes were all too small/too short, so I had to go right to size 5, no T! Now, at 3.5 years, she is wearing size 6! And size 13 shoes!! I should mention that I'm 5'9" and my husband is 6'2", so she comes by her super height and huge feet naturally. However, this makes clothes shopping extra hard, since I don't want her to look like a tween yet and once you get up into those sizes, the clothes look less and less little girl-ish.

    I think no matter what your child's size, clothes shopping is always a challenge!

    I read this and got hung up on: "Oh, a WET comb! Brilliant!" So you have it all together as far as I'm concerned. I just try to brush my 3 yr old's hair each day, and it's a challenge. But the wet comb! That is a good tip. It's sure to make her look extra put-together :)

    Same here....very skinny child who outgrows pants in length before he ever fits in the waist. Adjustable waists are a MUST. Shorts are a little easier since they make them extra long these days. By the time he fits into the waist, they're just about right in the length. I think there's a pair of shorts floating around that he wore when he was one that may JUST be too short this summer as he turns four. Those have an adjustable waist, too. Crazy. Sleeves are short almost instantly on him, and so many types of clothes get too short in the torso, too. Anytime I see a shirt that looks wider than it is long, I know it's a no-go for him. He complains about everything I pick out anyway (he usually wants sports pants or the same shirts over and over), but I feel the need to fight the battle so I'm not annoyed when he outgrows stuff and only wore it sparingly. I usually buy a year or so ahead if it seems logical and the deals are good. I figure I'll just pack away what I buy into a single crate in his closet and just remember to pull it out as seasons arrive. Pleasant surprises, usually! And as for hair, my son has the cowlick from hell. It either needs to be crazy short or extra long (and of course we usually like it somewhere in between) to avoid it standing up all the time. I'm ready to go buy little boy gel.

    I may as well have written this, with the exception that Nora's hair is ONLY JUST starting to become a problem because she is only just starting to have enough to even really notice whether or not I've combed it. And it's thin, fine, wispy, and wavy. So I can't really do anything with it anyway. I try clips, but they do not last. I'd do that hot glue thing if I had a hot glue gun, but I do not, and have no plans at the moment to buy one.

    But the clothes? I try to snap up decent-looking sweatpants for Jack, because it's all he'll wear. Right now, he's wearing shiny blue track pants that are so incredibly ugly, I can't even tell you. But they have elastic waists, so he likes them. Nora is easier, but sometimes she picks her own outfit, and it doesn't so much go. But sometimes *I* pick and just let everyone assume that SHE picked, because it doesn't so much... go. But it was clean! And warm/cool enough! And on top!

    I try to buy in advance, but traditionally forgot I've done so and they never wear them. That is NOT cheaper, as it turns out.

    Oh! And I kept meaning to comment on your post about giving up chocolate? And how it's not about dieting? RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. I gave up chocolate and candy, and I want it all the time. ALL THE TIME. I want it right now. I had given up only sugar in my coffee, but that wasn't hard enough, so I added the chocolate and candy thing, and, damn. I really like my chocolate and candy treats.

    My sister has two little girls and they are always so cute and put together! I consider the day a success if I manage to get both kids out of pajamas and Kalena's hair brushed. (Spoiler: NOT TODAY.)

    Kalena has opinions on what she wants to wear, but can definitely be persuaded. Will doesn't like to get dressed, so I usually have to talk him into it by holding up a shirt with a dinosaur on it. And Daniel, of course, is in that wonderful stage where I pick everything and it is all TINY and ADORABLE.

    I swear there was a period last year when Benjamin was coming home from school with a hole in his jeans at least once a week. And then I didn't know what to do, because I can't be replacing jeans WEEKLY, but can I send him to school with hole-y jeans? Is patching them even an option?

    I am kind of obsessed with dressing my daughter and if she is dressed well, with combed hair, then my day is headed in the right direction. I probably have about another week or so of this before she starts expressing an opinion.

    Me too, Maggie. Overwhelmed.

    It's now or never. This might be a common line heard to teenage girls every time Halloween approaches. This is because parties are there life and they will do everything or dress something just to snatch the attention of the guests. Exciting to hear that there are only a few days away before the celebration.

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