Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Dressing a Toddler 101
Begin by asking the child in an excited tone if he would like to get dressed like a "big boy."

Assuming that you receive an enthusiastic response, encourage the child as he pulls open the drawers of his dresser and begins pulling out shirts, shorts, socks, jeans, sweatpants, etc.

Begin the undressing process by tugging at the end of one sleeve - this is like a 'start' button which will spur the toddler into a frenzy of misguided motion - an attempt to free himself from the shirt faster than you can help him.

Once Toddler's shirt has been plucked over his head, he will quickly move to his feet and begin slapping his bare belly. Don't distress while he runs amuck around the house slapping and squealing, instead, take a moment to clean up the heaps of clothing he tossed to the floor at the beginning of the process.

Putting on a simple over-the-head shirt (no buttons, snaps, zippers, etc) is the easiest part of the process. Once you've managed to wrangle the child back into a seated position, simply squeeze the neck of the shirt over his head. He will be eager to finish the task of shoving his arms into the arm holes - however, be prepared for shrill panicked squeals if he can't seem to locate his thumb at the end of his efforts. Assure him in a calm voice that his thumb isn't lost and that Mommy can in fact be of service in locating it...if he can sit still.

Once all fingers have been accounted for, try to explain to him that it's now time for "big boy" pants (again, use the most excited tone possible first thing in the morning.) If the toddler seems receptive to putting on pants, proceed to the next step. If the toddler kicks or seems to be otherwise disinterested in the process (and you are not planning on leaving the house), let him run around in his diaper and congratulate yourself on making it thus far.

For those moving on, I must warn you, it is my experience that the combination of pants and toddlers is a tricky one. Feet have a tendency to get lost, or shoved in the wrong leg hole - meanwhile the rest of the toddlers body may still be twisting and turning, reaching, etc. (Also, it should be noted that there is an increased risk of sustaining a blow to the stomach or chest while trying to kneel down and pull pants onto a toddler who is in full-thrive.)

In any event, if you are brave enough to proceed and the toddler seems to be cooperative, by all means, take a deep breath, say a quick prayer that no feet get stuck or lost or crammed into the wrong leg-hole and plow ahead. Nose down. Eyes on the prize. Do not stop for squealing, twisting or kicking. Once you've got that first foot in a pantleg, you're in it 'till the zipper is zipped and the button buttoned (zipping and buttoning are two tasks the toddler will most likely want to help with, by the way.)

As for socks and shoes...it has been my experience that these only indicate to my son that he is going to be leaving the house. On mornings when we are not leaving the house, I try to avoid socks and shoes, as he will be sorely disappointed (and quite vocal about it) once he discovers that he has put his "choo's" on in vain and that Mommy is not going to open the door for him.

Oh, and aside from mastering the art of dressing 21 month olds, I've been attempting to do some writing and school work, and picking up extra evening hours at my office-monkey job, and selling gourmet foods for busy women, and walking around with this crazy Lila-baby getting more and more cozy on my bladder. Things are hectic. I like it.

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4 Comments:

Blogger LJ said...

I needed that. Strange how much it resembles the instructions on bathing a cat. Thanks for the guffaw, Mella.

Blogger Katie said...

Oh boy! Just wait till you have two to dress. Hectic will probably be an understatement :)

You are one busy lady though. Take it easy and take care Mella.

Blogger Darkmind said...

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Blogger Pikku Leijona said...

Hey I think I'm back on the blogging kick. I need to write. I'm catching up on everything here. :)

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