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Dressing Oneself

  • Posted on March 12, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Once the boys became toddlers, getting them dressed became a wrestling match. Pin and pull. One pant leg on. Pin and pull. Second pant leg on. If I was lucky, the first pant leg had stayed on. If not, then the child had pushed it off again in the struggle. Socks were the worst, however, with the occasional kick to the face. The biggest trouble with shirts was the hassle of getting the front of the shirt aligned with the front of the child. Then, the biggest difficulty was ensuring the child stayed dressed. Of all three, Ben was the most resistant to clothing and he’s now the only holdout. Ben will wear clothes out of the house, even at school now, but won’t wear them (for long) at home.

I once despaired of teaching the boys to dress themselves in a reasonably timely fashion. They’ve been able to do it for years. It’s like undressing, simply in reverse. But it could literally take them hours to dress themselves. Now, Willy does it in a flash. Alex will only dawdle through it for about ten minutes. Ben will get dressed pretty quickly—if he’s willing to dress himself at all, which is still hit or miss.

So, once again, it gets better. Developing skills helps, of course, but mostly it’s a matter of time. They come around, more or less. Then, of course, there’s Ben who will—as soon as he gets home—strip off his coat, his boots, his snowpants, his socks, his pants, his shirt, and throw them in a pile that is more or less “away.” The only deviation to this routine is the outer garments he’s wearing. Luckily, the pull-up usually stays on.