It Tickles

My daughter has always been very sensitive, particularly to new sensations and changes to routine. These two issues combine horribly when it comes to the subject of clothes. If I’d been more aware of the issue, and more organised, I should have worked out what clothes she would agree to wear, and buy three of everything, in every size. Sadly I didn’t have that foresight, and so we face frequent arguments about what she wears.

Before I had children I longed for a little girl. When pregnant we didn’t find out the sex, and I always referred to my bump as he, not wanting to get too attached to the idea of it being a girl. I’m not overly girly myself, and definitely not a style icon, but I couldn’t help lusting after beautiful little girl dresses, all fluffy skirts and frills and bows. When my little boy bump turned out to be a little girl baby, I was overjoyed. I may have been guilty of buying a few of those beautiful dresses. At the same time I made sure I got a variety of clothes for her, being an adamant believer in the idea that colours are for everyone, and that trains and dinosaurs are just as exciting for girls as they are for boys. I was also a little conscious that I wanted more children and was hoping for hand-me-downs! So my baby girl had her beautiful dresses, and her tractor tops, in a rainbow of colours. I did notice that she would become pretty distressed anytime she had her clothes changed, particularly putting things over her head, but I thought that was pretty normal at that age.

As she got older, she soon developed firm opinions about what she would and wouldn’t wear. It became apparent from pretty early on that skirts, dresses and tights were not on her list of desirable clothes. After that she decided that any stiff material was strictly no no, so any Jean type trousers were out. And so was anything textured, or with sequins, or sparkles or fluffy material. People would buy her gifts of clothes and unless it was completely plain she wouldn’t even consider trying it on. She has so many amazing clothes sat totally unused in her drawers. I would take great care choosing things I thought she would wear, letting her choose herself, and she would still find something about it that tickled or irritated.

Getting dressed or undressed has definitely become a regular trigger for arguments in our house. She still gets particularly distressed by putting things over her head particularly, but experimenting with shirts and cardigans instead of jumpers and t-shirts hasn’t seemed to help at all. After school, trying to change her out of her school uniform has become a source of conflict, as she always seems to get her school jumper filthy by bedtime. We suggested a special jumper that she could choose, just for wearing after school. She seemed really excited by the idea, so yesterday the two of us went into town, expanded into a special mummy daughter day, to let her choose her jumper.

We looked at lots, and felt them all. We discussed whether they were tickly or not. You’d be amazed how many jumpers were rejected as too tickly, particularly in the girls section which had sequins galore. Eventually she chose a simple blue, striped, cotton jumper from the boys section, which she assured me wasn’t tickly at all, though she refused to try it on at the time. This afternoon, home from school, the arguments started at the mere suggestion of taking her school jumper off. You would think we had asked her to cut her head off she became so utterly distraught, and at the very sight of her new, carefully chosen jumper, her wails of “it’s too tickly Mummy” could be heard in outer space.

Ok, I may be exaggerating slightly, but it is so frustrating when we try really hard to accommodate her very particular clothing choices, and wasted so much money on things she refuses to wear. She’s rapidly growing out of her current collection of clothes, and the thought of finding new things that she’ll actually wear is exhausting.

Her Daddy did a magic job of calming her down, and maybe convinced her to try the jumper using some Octonauts based similes, so now here she is, watching the aforementioned Octonauts, wearing her stripey blue jumper. Once she finally put it on she told me with a beaming smile, “See Mummy, I told you it wasn’t tickly!”


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