How To Show Your Toddler Who's Boss

October 27, 2018


How To Show Your Toddler Who's Boss

We were late for a birthday party, but that was nothing new. Working, renovating and taking care of the kids had me on the ropes. I was trying to do it all and semi-succeeding, but I was never on time.

The party was a good thirty minutes away at a bakery. A bunch of five year olds, their parents and any tag-a-long siblings were going to make a dozen of their very own, custom created cookies. It was going to be a messy endeavor and the outfit my daughter was wearing was definitely not appropriate.

Brand new and black.

When I asked her to change, she was fine with the idea. Ever agreeable, she pulled out a little pink dress that we were both happy with and I said, Great. Let’s go.

No.

That sound came from my very opinionated and fashion conscious three year old. She was perfectly behaved and agreeable in all other areas, but terribly stubborn when it came to clothes. I knew I was in for trouble.

When I found out I was having another girl, I was thrilled. I'm a total girl mom. I love make up and hair and clothes and couldn’t wait to dress those babies up in pink and frills. Shopping for outfits was a favorite pastime and dressing my first was always an uneventful pleasure.

And while I was a frugal shopper, I was ok with the occasional splurge because I knew that I'd be getting my money’s worth with two kids to cycle them through. It was a great plan until number two was old enough to speak.

No was her first word and she used it often.

I remember pulling out a gorgeous outfit for her first day at preschool. I had all of my eldest’s clothes neatly packed away and was so excited that she was out of diapers and could start wearing some of the trendy stuff. She was two and a half.

I want my kids to be independent strong willed people...

I presented her with a pleated plaid mini skirt, a crisp white blouse, black vest and cute, black boots. Funky, fun and one of her older sister’s favorites. I had been waiting for this day for a long time and I was so excited to show her the goods.

No. Ugh. I hated that word.

No, what? I asked.

No. I hate that.

Ok, what do you hate? Which piece?

All of it.

All of it??

I was stunned. She loved fashion. She was always playing dress up, always wearing her sister's clothes around the house. What gives. Now it was my turn.

No. These are beautiful clothes and you are going to wear them. We kept them for you and they are very special.

No. They aren’t and they aren’t my style.

This was an unexpected development and certainly not part of my grand fashion plan.

What style?? You’re not even three. You don’t have a style.

I do and I hate them.

Well, that was the end of that and the beginning of a whole new fun stage called guess what I want to wear today…oh yeah, we don’t own that.

And every morning it was the same thing.

Get dressed, I have to go to work. I taught at the same nursery school she attended.

I want to wear that dress.

What dress?

The one the girl on Disney Channel wore yesterday.

We don’t own that dress. Pick something in your closet.

No.

That word, again.

I don't do fashion, I am fashion, Coco Chanel quote

I want that dress.

This went on virtually every morning. Every. Morning. There was no making her happy. She would request these elaborate outfits we did not own and insist that was all she was wearing to school that day. And the crazy thing about it was that if we did have it, she wouldn’t have wanted to wear it.

So, when she said no that afternoon of the birthday party, I knew we were in trouble.

No what? We gotta go.

I want another outfit now, too. I don’t like mine anymore.

Tough luck, we’re leaving.

No.

Well, while I was arguing with my toddler, my five year old decided she needed her Barbie with her at the party and went outside on the covered porch to get her doll. Of course, she got distracted, as five years old do, and started playing on the swing set.

I watched it all unfold from the window in the bedroom I was trapped in, arguing with a toddler, once again, about clothes we didn’t own, but that she saw someone wearing in a baking episode of That’s So Raven.

Playing Dress Up Begins At Age Five Kate Spade Quote

I knew we had to go, so I told my fashionista to pick something and went outside to grab the other one. I had literally just stepped onto the porch when I heard the door slam behind me.

My head whipped around to see my little one on the porch with me, grinning. I knew it wasn’t good.

You see the porch door locks automatically. It’s got one of those opens from the inside regardless of the lock position handles. However, if you were outside the door only opened if the lock was in the proper unlock position. The girls knew this and I knew the little one knew this and when I saw her face, I knew.

Is that door locked?

Yup.

I checked and yup, it most certainly was. You have got to be kidding me.

Apparently, Little Miss had had enough of the outfit negotiations and decided to play instead. She thought it was hysterical. She laughed and laughed. I did not see the humor in the situation.

The birthday party was starting in about ten minutes. Far away. And I was locked out of my house, with two kids but no spare key.

I wanted to cry and ring her little neck at the same time.

Now, I could’ve just thrown my hands up, but my five year old was so good and patient and she wanted to see her friends. This wasn't her fault and I didn’t want her to be left out. Plus, she had been looking forward to baking all week.

So I did what any mom on a mission would do. I went to the garage, grabbed a hammer, wrapped it in a rag and slammed it through a pane in my pretty french, dutch door. There was glass everywhere, but I carefully reached in an unlocked the door.

I told the kids to stay put while I ran into the house, locked the door and the storm door behind me and came out another door to grab them.

We got the gift, got in the car and got to the party about forty five minutes late.

I was that mom.

My five year old had a great time. She was covered in flour from head to toe. She laughed with her friends, ate treats and got the neatest apron and baker’s hat as party favors. Years later she would wear it with my mom when they made cookies on Christmas Eve.

My three year old sat with me. In the car. No friends. No treats. No party. That was her punishment for being a pain in the tail. She missed the baking and the fun and had to stay buckled in her carseat in the parking lot, listening to NPR.

That’ll teach her to mess with me and she’ll be learning a valuable lesson, I thought.

Marilyn Monroe Give a girl the right shoes quote

On the way home, my confection covered party girl giggled and spilled all the sugary preschool cookie making details. I was sure that my toddler was sorry now.

So I asked her.

Do you understand why you missed the party?

Yup.

And...

And I don’t care, my outfit was bad so I’m glad I didn’t go in and no one saw it.

… and I don’t like those cookies anyway.

Great.

Turns out the lesson learned was mine.

Never argue with a stubborn toddler when you’re late to a birthday party.

You will always lose.

Do you have any toddler tales?


30 comments:

  1. Don't give up. I see too many families where the toddler "rules the roost" because it's easier not to argue with them. Toddlers need rules and need to know that they don't always get their way, even when they throw a fit. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks much! This tale is from long ago and my toddler is now an adult. Thankfully those battles are way behind us...😊

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    1. Thanks! It’s one I wrote many, many years ago, because I didn’t want to forget it. I just found it and wanted to keep it somewhere safe. I thought the blog was the best place for that.

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  3. You see? This is exactly why I didn't ever want girls!! Thankfully, 3 boys later, there are no young girls in my life! Whew! I hate those door knobs. Did you replace it?

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    1. Nancy, there are three girls in my family and one boy and when it came to clothes drama my mom used to say, I'd trade the three of you for ten boys! While I don't remember caring nearly this much about my own outfits, I guess I got paid back! πŸ˜‰And nope...same kind of door knob.

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  4. Great story,Kim! Mine didn't do that as toddlers...they waited until they were teenagers to be impossible. I'd take the toddler any day!

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    1. Ha! Agreed Ann! I have to say I'm glad she confronted her clothes issues, early. But girls...as teenagers. I hear you!

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  5. Together, we have 3 boys and 2 girls. The oldest - a boy (mine) and the youngest (his) - a girl, were the more stylish kids, and still are. Because of age differences, no one had many hand-me-downs and, we're ALL alive and well now, so I guess things went fine. Fun post, Kim :D

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    1. Cheryl, it's so funny...my kids profess to have completely different fashion tastes, but then they constantly borrow each other's clothes. Go figure. At least now, I don't have to be any part of it! And thanks. Things like this are often much funnier in hindsight...

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  6. Boy did this bring back memories. I had two boys, three years apart. My youngest son at age 3 knew what he wanted to wear and there was no changing his mind, whereas his older brother could care less what he had on. On one particular morning, my boys had to wear their Sunday best. My 3 yr. old refused to wear an outfit that I picked out for him. I thought it was so stinkin cute. It had little corduroy knickers, white shirt, argyle sweater with knee highs and bow tie to match. It was a darling outfit. When we got to our destination, he hung onto the car handle refusing to go in. I asked him why he didn't like the outfit. His reply was that everyone would tell him he looked cute and he didn't like that. Who knew?! So after arm wrestling him into the place, I had to whisper to everyone that approached not to say a word about his clothing to him. After that he was willing to wear the outfit as long as no one made any comments to him. Ironically, now 27 years later he purposely wears clothing that elicit comments from family and friends. You just can't win.

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    1. Donna, I absolutely love this story! I had a feeling when I posted this that it would bring back a flood of memories for a lot of other moms. Clothes are a trigger - boys or girls! And the funny thing is, she was the most agreeable child in every other way. So laid back, polite and kind...but when it came to those outfits, watch out! I love that your son didn't want to be called cute...which by the way, that outfit sounds completely adorable...how could anyone resist? And nope, you can't win! I go shopping with my kids now and if I suggest a garment, they wince, like I have the worst taste. Yet, they borrow my clothes all the time! Go figure! Thanks for sharing!!

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  7. Kim, this is so funny! And relatable too! Lol! Poor dear having to sit and listen to NPR. Was it at least "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross? Those are so good!

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    1. Haha, Lisa!! I tried to find the most monotone, boring content for a little one. NPR was it. I think it was a book review. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm sure she was tortured...even if she wouldn't let on! πŸ˜†

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  8. I'm a grandmother but have helped a whole lot with my grandson and granddaughter. So I've been through 2 generations now...it doesn't get any easier:) Just enjoy them! But I am glad you disciplined your child and even though she acted as though she didn't care she missed the party, I bet she really did:) Hang in there, Mama! You're doing great!

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    1. Thanks Cheri! Thankfully this little episode was years ago. That picky young lady is now a young adult and while she grew out of those clothing tantrums rather quickly, thanks to NPR no doubt…hahaha...she’s still a devoted fashionista. And twice huh? I know that grandchildren are fabulous, but I'm definitely not ready for round two. Yet. πŸ˜‰

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  9. Oh-Kim!!! I have so many, many similar stories including one little Miss Sweetness that people drooled over "petting" that had the mouth of a devil. LOL
    I loved this post and is so identifiable to those of us that have raised kids! xo Diana

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    1. Diana, people used to tell me that a strong will was the sign the kids were going to make it...tough kids in a tough world. Silver lining maybe, but torture to me!! πŸ˜‰

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  10. I bought my daughter a pair of emerald green corduroy jeans. She loved those jeans and wanted to wear them every single day. I would find her digging them out of the laundry. I don't recall how we solved the problem, but she became a total fashionista. It became very expensive having a daughter and she is still a fashionista. She has a little boy and although she would love to dress a daughter, she admits that it's much cheaper having a boy.

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    1. I know that exact scenario, Carol...and yes, girls are expensive!!

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  11. This was hilarious! Annie wasn't too bad until she started 4th grade and then she started picking out her own clothes. Shopping with her was a nightmare, because it took hours to find just the right thing. The only crazy thing I can think of that isn't too long of a story is that when Alex was about 3 or 4, he used to hide from me all the time in the house. He thought it was funny and would eventually come out. One day he decided not to show his face and I couldn't figure out where he was or what he was doing and I started to panic. Then the phone rang.... "hello, this is 911 and we had a call from your house. Is everything okay?" Long story short, he was playing underneath my skirted dressing stool with the phone and somehow managed to call the police. When I told the operator what happened, she tried to stifle a laugh and told me to keep the phone out of his reach. lol

    xoxo,
    rue

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    1. Kids really do the craziest things...and while it drives us nuts, it's usually those stories we remember best. Even if they were naughty moments, they make us smile...xoxo

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  12. Funny story now but I am sure not so much then! I don't remember but I don't think I had those kinds of issues with my two girls. I used to dress them like twins when they were toddlers whenever I could even though they were 3 years apart. I don't think they are suffering any psychological damage now in their 30's!

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    1. I would've done the same if they let me, AnnMarie! Obviously, I was overruled!!

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  13. Hi Kim,
    I had a few of those toddler moments with my two girls too. I learned too that some battles as a mom you just cannot win.
    Made me smile to read this and brought back lots of memories.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. Girls...they love hard, but fight hard when it comes to fashion!! xoxo

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  14. Fun Kim, mom's of girls .. I love hearing those stories. LOL
    And now for the rest of the story.. what about the glass door?

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    1. Oh. Carla, we fixed the pane, but sadly that door needed to go shortly after. It was so rotted.

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  15. Oh, Kim, I feel so bad for you and at the same time I am laughing because the joke is really on me! I so wanted a girly girl and got the biggest tom-boy possible. She never liked cute dresses or hair ribbons. Only baseball caps and cowboy boots with a gun holster. Even to this day at 50 something she still wears baseball caps and tennis shoes and running clothes. I thought dance lessons would be something she would like and at the age of 4 she got down on the floor of the car and held onto the brake peddle so we couldn't make her go into her lesson! Then I had a boy and then I had a grandson so that is why I am laughing now. I would go crazy otherwise..But, it all worked out for both of us!!..xxoJudy

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    1. Ha! Judy! I'm sorry I laughed, but it seems to me that girls are strong-willed when it comes to fashion whether they lean towards tutus or toy guns...and there's no arguing with that!! xoxox

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