Yes, it is!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Clothes, Clothes, and More Clothes. And Jackie Still Is Not Happy

We missed church this morning.  All because of clothes.  Or the dislike of clothes.  Jackie is a very difficult child to please, especially when it comes to outfit choices.  Even now that she's older, she has a hand in picking out some of her clothes but still, she often decides that she doesn't want to wear that when it comes time to wear it. I love my daughter so much and because I love her so much, I want her to look her best, to wear cute & pretty clothes, to have enough clothing that she will never have to wear something multiple days in a row. Unfortunately, (or maybe, fortunately?), Jackie's closet is bursting at the seams with cute, pretty, adorable clothes.  All kinds of clothing.  Very nice clothing.  I buy most of the kids' clothing on sale or clearance and then others have been given to my kids. Jackie's friend, A, recently gave Jackie a huge bag full of Gymboree clothes.  All Gymboree!  Now that's nice.
I want Jackie to look nice when she goes to school, church, friends' homes, wherever.  I still help Jackie pick out matching outfits because she still has not gotten the hang of matching appropriately.  If left to her own devices, Jackie will pick out an outfit and proclaim she matches because she picked out everything purple.  Yep, purple shirt with flowers, purple pants with plaid pattern, purple striped socks.  Now that's a sight for poor eyes, for sure.  And yes, Jackie has dressed herself in this fashion which I immediately corrected.  Mean mommy, I know.
Now the night before school, Jackie and I usually pick out an outfit for her to wear the next day.  And usually, the next morning when she wakes up, Jackie will balk at the previously chosen outfit.  And usually, Jackie dawdles around until it's nearly time to go to the bus stop, hence leaving very little time to pick out another outfit.  So, Jackie is often sent onto the school bus in tears because she doesn't want to wear those clothes.  GAH!
This morning is no exception.  Well, actually, it did escalate to a whole new level.  And especially so, because the rest of us were already dressed and just about ready to go out the door for church.  Jackie had another major meltdown, all because she didn't want to wear the dress and leggings I had laid out.  It's cold this morning, so I picked out a cute long-sleeved dress with leggings since Jackie said that she wanted something to keep her legs warm.  No problem, right? Wrong! Jackie kept whining about the chosen outfit while the rest of us were getting dressed and ready to go.  Jackie kept up until I finally told her to pick out something else.  I didn't care at this point what she picked out.  Just go pick out something and get dressed so we could go.  Oh no, she proceeded to meltdown saying that she wanted to wear the dress.  Then why the hell was she crying the entire time she should have been putting the dress on?  That's just Jackie.  She has to find SOMETHING to cry about, every day, every morning, especially when time is of the essence.  So, it escalated to the point that Tim finally just picked Jackie up, carried her to her bedroom, and closed the door.  Of course, Jackie's meltdown just escalated.
I finally made the decision that since Jackie never seems happy with our clothing choices, I will just make life much more simpler by taking all of those beautiful, cute, adorable clothes out of her closet and give them away.  So many of them still have tags on them.  So, that's exactly what I did.  I pulled all of the clothes out of Jackie's closet and placed them in piles.  I'm going to try to take the newer stuff back to the stores and get refunds. I'm going to give all of A's Gymboree clothes back to A's mother so that she can give them to another little girl who will truly appreciate them.  Then the rest, I will either give them to somebody who truly needs them and will appreciate such nice clothes or I will save them for the next consignment sale.  Hopefully, I'll be able to recoup some of my money so I can go buy myself some new clothes.  Now that I've lost weight and gotten back into shape, I do need some new clothes that actually fit me.
Jackie's life will now be simplified with a choice of just 7 outfits throughout the week.  And it will be her choice of what to wear each day.  And I don't give a damn if they match or not.  As long as I can somehow make the child happy so that we can all be at peace and not war at every morning.  I'm just over it now.  And I need to just continue to let it go.  And if Jackie mismatches herself, then I'll just try my best to look away. Now THAT, will be hard.
I know I shouldn't get so uptight when it comes to clothing Jackie.  I understand, though, why it's so important for me.  I know I shouldn't let things carry over to my children but I just want my children to have what I didn't have as a child.  It's apparent by looking in my daughter's closet that I do have a problem with clothes. It all stems from not having adequate clothing during my own childhood.  Mother never liked to buy me clothes.  In fact, she counted on others to give me hand-me-downs.  I pretty much grew up on hand-me-downs.  And for those who provided that, I really appreciate that.  But unfortunately, it got to a point where I was rarely given any hand-me-downs.  Now Mother had no problem buying clothes for her son since he didn't have anybody to give him hand-me-downs.  I should make it clear that looking back, many people thought we were poor when in actuality we were not poor.  We were by no means rich but we were NOT poor, either.  Mother was just cheap and her husband was an alcoholic who probably drank away a lot of his income.  Starting around 3rd-4th grade I started to become an object of ridicule at school and my clothing only made things worse.  I was teased horribly for my name, for my coke-bottle thick glasses, for being so skinny, and for my clothes.  I was just downright ugly.  Not only was I ridiculed by other students, but also by a handful of teachers.  Anyway, back to the clothing issue.  I remember at the beginning of 8th grade, I had NO clothes, except for a pair of shorts and a couple of shirts, that were appropriate for wearing to school.  School was getting ready to start and I remember being at a store with Mother, something like a Family Dollar store,  and literally begging Mother to buy me a couple of pairs of pants there that were really cheap.  She finally broke down and bought them for me but she did not do so happily.  I felt guilty for making her buy me some clothes but I had nothing to wear to school.  Mother always complained that I had expensive taste.  Yeah right. How could I have expensive taste when I had to beg her to buy me a couple of $4 pair of pants?  She was so damned cheap when it came to my needs that I remember one year wearing shoes that she had duct-taped because the sole was coming apart.  I had to wear those shoes to school!  So of course, the other students seized upon that to continue their ridicule of me.  Mother continued this pattern until I was finally able to make a little bit of money from babysitting to take care of my own needs.  I remember even saving some of my school lunch money to take care of basic needs other than clothes.  I remember wanting clothes for Christmas.  I got clothes all right; in the form of underwear.  I never quite understood how Mother prioritized things.  On the one hand, she detested buying clothes for me, but yet, she made sure that I had braces on my teeth.  She hated taking care of my other basic needs but when I tried to get a real job to make my own money to take care of myself, the parents balked and said that I would have to provide my own transportation to the job.
Things have changed over the years, of course, and Mother doesn't seem to have a problem buying things for me. But still to this day, I always have a twinge of guilt when Mother does do something for me.  I don't want my kids to have such a guilt complex.  That's probably one reason that I probably go overboard in the clothes department.  Maybe, just maybe, one day Jackie will appreciate that.  In the meantime, her life will hopefully be simplified with a minimal choice of outfits to wear.
I remember last year when Mother was visiting.  On our way to the airport for her to go back home, Mother commented that she didn't know what to do for Jackie since she has plenty of clothes.  I commented back that she's probably never seen a little girl's closet so full of cute and pretty clothes before.  That was a mistake because she immediately became defensive and started talking about how she sacrificed so much so she could buy me some really cute outfits.  Too bad that she didn't realize that she was just dreaming at the time because I sure as hell do not remember her sacrificing SO much for me.  In fact, I was always left to feel like I was such a burden, which I'm sure I was to so many people.
My kids will know that their basic needs will always be met with no hesitation.  And my kids will always know that they are not burdens.  As challenging of a child Jackie is, I do love her and she will know that she is not a burden.  Jackie is a challenge but we really do treasure her.
Whew, blogging is so therapeutic. Okay, now if anybody truly needs some clothing, I have size 4 & 5 girls.  Otherwise, I am going to just place them in the next consignment sale and return the huge bag of Gymboree clothes to A's mom.

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