Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tutu Drama

My daughter Violet loves a fancy dress, or as she would say: tutu. The more puffy and sparkly, the better. It's been that way for most of her three and a half years, and she has converted some of her little daycare friends to her dazzling style. Although I make sure she wears warm layers in the winter and reserves some of her more formal pieces for special occasions, I let her wear what she wants. I do enjoy seeing a kid's personal style develop.

Because of my tutoring schedule, Violet is picked up for daycare around 8:00, five mornings a week. Our morning routine is crunched and she's not happy about it. I'm not exactly stoked either. In my perfect world, mornings would be reserved for sleeping.

Then there's Daisy who is expending a lot of energy to keep things together in school but falls apart when I pick her up. There have been threats of running away and lots of crying.   

During yesterday's group email, Tabitha and Bindy weighed in on the latest in my parenting saga. I love them for taking it on, getting deep into those details, and making me laugh. I don't know what I would do without them in my village. But they're not the boss of me.

Bindy Star, how is Violet’s therapy going? Did they discover why she is dropping the first consonants?

Star she won't start therapy until january, just before she starts preschool.

mornings are rough w/her. if i'm behind on laundry, she never wants to wear what's in her closet and it turns into a monumental struggle with lots of crying and yelling (for both of us). her dad had to take over this morning. she even got a spanking. it's driving me crazy.

daisy's also going through something right now. her behavior has been excellent in class. she even got an award this week . . . but as soon as i pick her up she yells at me and throws fits. so i chew her out and give her time-outs. it's uglier than normal.

Tabitha Can’t you just tell Violet if she doesn’t wear what you pick out she goes out naked? As for Daisy, don’t speak to her when she’s talking to you like that, and tell her you won’t speak to her until she can speak to you politely [I love this part . . . don't talk to her but you tell her you're not talking to her]. That’s my back seat know it all parenting advice for the day.

Star yes, we've tried the naked threat. also, just counting to three then wrestling her into whatever we pick. it helps to pick out her outfit the night before. but she's not going to be able to dress in her fancy dresses when she goes to preschool.

i'll actually try the no talking thing w/daisy. yelling doesn't work. the only thing that seems to work is if violet is naughty, daisy is suddenly an angel.

Tabitha So let her wear the fancy dresses. She’ll get ridiculed and that will be the end of it. Now I’m really done with advice.

Star it's not about that. preschool won't allow it bec they get dirty and have full access to paint whenever they want. it's agst the rules.

Tabitha What are they supposed to wear?

Bindy We don’t own any fancy dresses for M, so it’s not an issue. Pack them up and hide them from her. Especially in the winter when it’s too cold for those types of clothes.

I agree with the silent treatment for Daisy.
Tabitha Perhaps if you explained the situation they would let you do it for one day. Then make sure they have her get good and dirty and ruin the dress, and all the kids mock her and make fun of her, so she’ll never want to wear a fancy dress again!
Star your whole ridicule technique is cracking me up.

they're supposed to wear playclothes. if girls wear dresses, they don't have full skirts that can get caught on things and wear pants underneath so they can cross their legs [as in criss-cross apple sauce].

i'm not taking violet's clothes away from her. she's just got to learn the whole time and place concept.

it's not really about fancy tutus . . . it's about control. you have to let them think they're in control in a way. meanwhile, guiding them like little puppets.

Bindy And in preschool they need to be in sensible clothes, no skirts. Pants and shirts.
Tabitha Even if you put pants on under the dress? Like leggings or something?
Bindy Just take the damn dresses away!
Tabitha Seriously! It’s not a NEGOTIATION!
Bindy True that. It’s hard sometimes, I forget that I don’t have to always reason and compromise with my kids. They are kids, and they don’t know any better, but I do. So no negotiation, unless you are actually willing to budge a bit and know that beforehand.

Bindy I dunno that I agree that kids have to feel like they are in control. I mean, yes, they should get choices, like you can wear A or B, but both choices should be in the realm of what is appropriate.

But here I am preaching shit I probably don’t practice the whole time. So don’t listen to me. But really, you could just take away all her dresses and only let her wear them on weekends.
Tabitha Why do they have to think they’re in control? I don’t get that part.
Tabitha There’s bound to be resistance at first b/c she was always able to wear them before.
Star i don't negotiate and reason on this. i'm not taking away her dresses bec if it's not that, it will be something else. violet has gotten to the point where she can get herself dressed on her good mornings. for me, it's more about channeling their strong wills than squashing them. i want them to be strong when facing the world yet cooperative at all times w/their mother :)

i don't mean they actually need to be in control but at this stage of development, they want to be in control and it's important to use that to encourage their independence. so if i set things up so she has limited appropriate choices like you said and she feels in control then we both win [so maybe they have a LITTLE point].

i'm out. talk to you later! [Notice how I deftly avoided further commentary. Of course, I would be offended if they DIDN'T tell me what to do.]


  1. lol does violet have a tutu she can wear over pants?

  2. yes, she does wear pants and leggings . . .she isn't too particular about matching either. it's just that some mornings nothing is quite right. i know how she feels. but really, when preschool comes around . . . she can't dress like she's off the set of Gone With the Wind. i've intro'd the concept of school tutus vs leisure tutus :)

  3. first off Star Mama... Happy Birthday!!! You really deserve some good times and I hope you get them (also if everybody could just let you know how many beers they are planning to drink that would be a big help). Secondly... everybody needs to chill with the motherly advice... you've been dishing out MA to me and our youngest sibling for decades... so i'm pretty sure you know what your doing. annnnnnd Violet and Daisey are 2 of my favorite people on the planet. So instead of worring about tutu's take a second to pat yourself on the back for raising 2 really smart, super creative, strong willed, hilarious, beautiful little girls... plus the whole tutu thing is Mom's fault anyway.

  4. um, my only question is . . . how many beers have you had tonight, big uncle? thx! you warmed my heart, but i don't get the beer ref. i'll take my answer off-blog. xxoo