Dressing the Toddler


“Son, son, it’s time to wake up. Mommy is going to work, and you’re going to preschool.”

“No. I need to watch my iPad.”

“Sorry, bub. Preschool it is, and I need you to get dressed.”

“First I get dressed, then I watch my iPad?”

“Nice try! First you get dressed, then we pack up and head out to preschool. Mommy has to go to work.”

“Oh, I too cold. I cold Mommy. I need my covers. I need my covers and my iPad.”

Waking the toddler up, and getting him dressed, is akin to manhandling in my household. Some days my tiny person refuses to crack an eye open, forcing me to strip him down and dress him while his eyes remain fused shut. Other days, he just out-and-out fights the whole getting ready concept.

Today was one of those days.

My tiny human has been capable of dressing himself since he was nineteen months old. No joke. Taking off clothes, and putting them back on, was a big priority when he was little. I remember days when two hours of our day consisted of sitting in his room while he took his shirt off, and put it back on. Now that he’s only slightly bigger than little, apparently he’s against the entire process. Except for when he decides to strip down like a naked jaybird. He’s just fine with that.

So, the getting a tiny tot dressed task has now fallen back on me.


Which I would be okay with–if I didn’t already know that he is fully capable of getting dressed from the head down. But, since I know he understands where the head, arms, legs, and feet go in his clothes, I’m beginning to realize that this is all one, big, stalling technique. My son is becoming a master at the dawdle.

And I’m not very appreciative. Especially when I’m in a hurry. I mean, seriously, it’s all fun and games until Mommy loses her patience.

That should be a new bumper sticker … hmm … .

Anyways, toddler dawdling has recently become a small issue, seeing as it happens every day, about twice a day, around the time of getting up in the morning, and going to bed at night. Let me tell you, it’s really fun for a parent to repeat the same line of, “Son son, get dressed. Go put your clothes on,” to a toddler, over, and over, and over.


As I’ve stated before, I’m a pretty laid-back mom. Sometimes. It takes me a while to realize when the tiny human is jerking my chain. Today, though, I did realize it, somewhere in between shoving my hair in a ponytail, and putting on my mascara. Like every other morning, I finally stopped the dawdle by taking care of the situation, myself. Sure, there were some flying legs to dodge, and a bit of a whiny tiny human claiming his sock hurt his big toe, but I ended up with a dressed–if not slightly melodramatic–toddler.

I expected it, though. We tend to have this battle on really important, Mommy-has-to-get-her-butt-to-work-days. Like, say, this week for example. I don’t often wake the household at oh-dark-thirty, but when I am on call, I need to get up, and get going. Oh, and the toddler is dragged along for the ride.

This past week, like most call weeks, I have faced complete toddler rebellion. My tiny human involves himself in crying, whining, growling, bargaining, and sometimes even anger over the whole idea of waking up. Seriously? This is from a kid who woke me up at two in the morning the other night, demanding food. Yeah, who was the grumpy one, then?

Um, me!

Too bad I couldn’t have busted out logic when facing the getting-ready-on-time crisis this morning! Could you imagine? Reasoning with a toddler, ha!

However, if I were to try to break through the toddler wall of stubborn, and get the day started nicely, I would probably need to start the morning with bribes of candy. Knowing my child, it would be the only thing to spark him into moving things along. It’s ridiculous, but true.

I mean, we’re not working our way through a grief process; I shouldn’t have to bribe my kid to get him out the door. We’re just getting dressed to leave the house! Still, if anyone else were watching, it would seem like my toddler been involved in some sort of death. Which would have occurred when I, the mother, asked him to put on his clothes.

At this point, I may have to start summoning Super Mom ideas, starting with the ever-so-popular behavior/chore chart. The chart should probably include drawings of little shirts, socks, undies, pants, and shoes in various boxes to head the chart, and include sticker incentives, all leading to my tiny human winning a great prize for behaving the way I want him to, the first time. In my head, it might work. I could see baby boy excitedly throwing on his clothes, rushing to grab his candy treat for a job well-done. Oh, and the bonus: there might actually be a point to owning the Pinterest lollipop.

Our life would flow much smoother, with little charts for behavior, tasks, and routines littering the walls of the house. Tiny Tot would be a happy person, and I wouldn’t have to sit around and think about why my child throws conniption fits, and concocts stalling techniques every morning. I mean, there could actually be a positive outcome for me to sit down and create a positive behavior chart.

Or, is it only in my head?

And, what would my follow through, as a parent, truly be?

I mean, could I see myself actually creating these charts? Or following them for longer than, say, three days? As a realist, probably not. Oh, yeah, and my tiny human steals lollipops with abandon. He would start expecting me to buy him presents for his ability to getting dressed, when he should just be getting dressed to begin with–sans bribery.

This being said, I might actually give the idea of creating a chart some thought. For at least the next two days. Maybe I’ll make a pro/con list. Tomorrow. I’m still feeling a bit tired from conning my child to put on his clothes this morning.

The chart could probably promote good behaviors in the home, but, on the other hand, it would probably take less time for me to strip him down, and dress him myself.

Even though I know that he knows how. And he knows it, too.

No comments posted on January 25, 2013 in Discipline, Winging It, Mom Style

Leave a Reply

Join the discussion!

Thanks for the response!

error: This content is protected by owner.