Getting dressed

It’s interesting at which point children make the link between the weather and which clothes to wear. Middle son considers items like coats only necessary if you happen to like the colour and putting gloves on only essential if you see someone else wearing them (or if you are running late – probably because they’re fiddly). As for a hat, well this is something you wear only if you know you are going to see someone who you wish to show your hat to. Eldest son is sensible enough to ask about the weather prior to dressing. So this morning he comes to see me and asks what the forecast is for the day. I look. Its a bizarre one I tell him. There’s a bit of rain, a bit of sun, some strong winds and even some hail. He then informs me that hail comes from a thunder cloud and is frozen rain – just in case I wasn’t aware. Next he wanders back to his room to make a clothing selection, only to reappear 5 second later, “Mummy, should I wear shorts or trousers?”. You can appreciate why on this icy winter morning, following the worst storm in 7 years, this is a tricky decision to make.

Getting dressed in our household can take up to an hour at the weekend when the boys are left to their own devices and Mummy and Daddy are attempting a micro lie in. On weekdays, more of a system is required. Today that system entered failure within the first minute, when middle boy woke youngest boy up. Some days baby assists in the ‘dressing ‘proceedings by kicking his foot into a leg hole. Today was not one of those days. He opted instead to try and master his rolling over, as Mummy was trying to dress him, only stopping to reach for a toy – just as it was time to insert his arm into his sleeve. With Mummy occupied, middle boy needed to up his game, having less assistance available than usual. I complimented him on the appropriateness of his clothing selection for the day. He’d chosen socks, pants, T shirt and trousers – on some days he just chooses 5 of his favourite pairs of pants. I then asked him to try to get them all on by himself. This brought back visions of the first time eldest boy dressed himself and was parading round in a hat, pull up nappy and boots on the ‘wrong’ feet. Nevertheless, he seemed happy enough to go and try.

Soon afterwards, I hear “Stop wriggling about. I can’t do the buttons up.” It is clear the boys have decided to dress each other (obviously the best course of action). When they appeared in front of me and I was pleasantly surprised. I looked for commonly made errors, including: socks inside out, jumper on backwards and missing pants under trousers. All were present and correct. Now I just need to work on training eldest boy to pull his collar out, without giving the appearance that he’s just been mugged for a packet of Haribo. He also needs to learn to tuck his shirt into his trousers but that too could take a while, so for now I’ll celebrate the teamwork and successes of this morning: two (out of three) boys, wearing suitable winter clothes, with minimum Mummy input.

Mud and breakages

Why is it that when your children are screaming at you, there’s always a large audience? Often, for me, this is in the supermarket. On this occasion, it was the school playground.

In my last post, I mentioned having a moment. This particular moment occurred while I’d half changed a cold, wet, muddy and wriggling three-year-old; only to discover that the one item not packed in his changing bag (a pair of trousers) was the one essential item he needed. Then another mummy helpfully mentioned “That water bottle’s leaking all over your bags!”. She was right. It was.
The day had started out pretty well and by that I mean the children had all been fed and were out of the house with enough time to run an errand on the way to school. We arrived at school without incident. Middle boy falls over. I pick him up and there are no tears. I stroll over to another mother, I feel confident enough to make conversation. Eldest boy appears “He’s about to fall over again.”
I asked my son how he knew this and was told that it was because his brother was climbing on a muddy bank. Evidently my boy has a talent for predicting future events – as I turned, middle boy slipped and was now wearing the muddy bank. It would have been too easy to wait for 5 minutes until his preschool opened and change him there. So I attempted to remove his soaking coat and change his trousers while still in the playground. It was a wet day so I couldn’t just sit him on my lap to do it, and it was cold so I was trying to change him quickly. The discovery that his spare, clean trousers had been forgotten occurred while middle child’s legs were still dangling in mid air. I thought it was a genius plan using eldest child’s school trousers instead – after all they were only slightly too long. Disaster adverted I thought.
That’s when I was told about the leaking water bottle.

I picked it up. The lid was still on tightly, but the growing puddle in the bottom of the pram would suggest a leak from somewhere. That somewhere, it turned out, was a whopping great big crack in the base of the bottle (no idea how I managed to miss it earlier). Middle boys book bag was the worst hit – thankfully it was empty. Again feeling like I’d dodged a bullet, I went to put the (now useless) water bottle in the bin. Eldest boy howls and I mean howls. Floods of real tears appear, “Don’t put it in the bin!”. He begged me. Then middle child starts, “I’m thirsty”. I now have two crying boys trying to convince me that their Daddy can fix cracked, plastic, water holding receptacles. Eldest boy hasn’t been this opposed to me disposing of an object since his wee fragranced, old school shoes went in the skip last year.
After what felt like forever, his teacher eventually persuaded eldest boy to go into class meaning I only had the ‘explainwhymiddleboyisinadequatelydressed’ mission standing between me and the post 9am walk home.