As a single parent to a gorgeous five year old (almost 6!), the biggest challenges we have faced together so far regarding his development have been his lack of sleep and his reluctance to eat very much food.
Over the years we have tried and tested many ways, accepted what is ‘normal’ for us and adapted our lives accordingly.
When my son was 18 months old and I was exhausted beyond recognition after having no more than 2 hours sleep since he was born, we started co-sleeping. Once Rory started school I put some ‘sleeping’ bounderies into place as I needed my space back. But he knows he can come to me whenever he wants/needs to in the night and this works for us.
As for food, Rory is in control over what he eats and when he eats it, within reason of course! This might sound absurd to most but again it works for us.
Our newest challenge that we are facing and working through at the moment is a new one on me. The dislike of clothes. Now im not saying he roams around naked all day. He wears clothes but is incredibly particular about his clothing items to the point of daily distress.
Today is a ‘wear your own clothes to school day’. He was adamant that he wanted to wear his uniform. Most of the time I let him wear whatever he wants. Give him the freedom to express himself through clothes any which way he pleases. Respecting his choices. But all I could think about was when I was in secondary school myself and the sadness I saw on the peoples faces who wore school uniform on a non-uniform day. Whether they forgot or were from socially deprived families and thought their items of clothing would open them up to more ridiclue. Children can be so cruel. Rory had had an awful week the week before from taunts and non-inclusion from his peers in school, that I just wanted to protect my little boy. His upset is my complete heartbreak.
Since the spring, he has been obsessed with wearing shorts. His cousin gave him a pair of red football shorts which for some reason he called them the “100 shorts” These shorts with a Power Ranger t-shirt were the only things he wanted to wear. Unfortunately he had to change them at some point! He absolutely despises trousers so I went along with shorts whilst the weather permitted. Every single label has to be cut out, even the stitching where the label once was can irritate him so much. Lots of his clothes have holes in where I have cut the labels out too close to the fabric. But it doesn’t really matter as he won’t wear them anyway!
I’d been shopping and bought him some really ‘cool’ t-shirts and tops. We’ve been shopping together for him to choose the clothes he wants but always come away empty handed. We’ve been through all of the Star Wars clothes which were ‘acceptable’ for a while. We’ve since moved on to a Harry Potter obsession! I’ve found one Harry Potter t-shirt but unfortunately he can’t wear it all of the time!
Pants, socks, pyjamas! They all cause the same amount of trauma. He now has 7 pairs of ‘star’ pants that are fine to wear. Thank goodness!
He has 5 pairs of identical school trousers, but guaranteed at least one of the pairs will cause him some level of upset just as we are leaving the house for school, resulting in a full uniform change, late for school, an irritable mummy and a sad little boy.
I am starting to think that maybe there is some kind of sensory/skin connection to his discomfort. He hates anything being on his arms and legs, hence why he would wear shorts and t-shirts all year round. Our heating takes a while to come on in the morning, so we chose a lovely Spider-Man dressing gown for him to wear until the house warms up. He hates wearing it, along with any kind of hoody, jumper and coat. He desperately tries to convince me he is not cold whilst trying not to shiver! Trying to find a winter coat was traumatic to the point where I bought him one and that was that. No choice. He has to wear it. But is that the thing, am I giving him too many choices? I just want him to be warm and comfortable.
We have 100’s of Iron Man, Star Wars, Power Ranger dress up costumes that he loved wearing many moons ago, but now they stay hanging up in his bedroom. What does surprise me though is that a friend gave us a child’s wedding suit. Complete with waistcoat, shirt, bow tie and blazer and he will wear that!!!
I am at a loss with this. I’m not talking just a few tears, we have full on melt downs regarding clothes and am unsure how to progress. Is it just another developmental ‘phase’?
Any thoughts/advice/words of wisdom greatly received!