On teaching toddlers to get dressed

My boy is fresh out of the bath, towel shed, and dashing towards his room in his birthday suit. He squeals gleefully all the way down the hallway. I guess being able to run around for a few minutes without your style being cramped by diapers is pretty liberating. Shortly after, he is in his diaper waiting to don his pajamas before partaking in a little bedtime story reading.

Not tonight. We make it as far as the diapers, but he wiggles and yells and eventually gets his point across that he wants nothing to do with the PJs we’ve got picked out for him. Thinking ourselves quite clever, we reach into the closet to pull out his favourite onesie. It has a big monkey on it. You can’t beat monkeys on PJs.

“No. Not monkey!” he announces sternly. A pout begins to take shape.

Say what? What do you mean “not the monkey?” Monkey is the man. He’s da bomb. There’s nothing you wouldn’t do for the monkey, kid. Why would you so suddenly toss him to the wayside? We try again.


He hops off of his little stand and runs towards the closet where he starts to haul out every possible pajama in the storage rack. The vigour of his rummaging and velocity of the rapidly-ejected clothing was reminiscent of Yoda prying through Luke’s survival boxes during their first encounter on Dagobah. LucasArts may be dead, but I couldn’t help but work some Star Wars reference into this post. Sorry, I digress.

He eventually settles on a set of striped blue PJs. Fine. We can do this. My wife goes to put the pants on when freakout session #2,487,351 of the day erupts. Terrible twos indeed. “No. Want put on!” there is a hard, self-convinced edge to his voice.

“That’s what we’re doing here, honey, we’re putting your PJs on.” my wife’s angelic patience took everything into stride.

“No! Put! On! Me!”

I dunno, kid. I’m pretty sure that’s what we’re seeking to accomplish here. Put. PJs. On. You. My darling spouse’s more insightful take on the situation is that he wants to put on his clothes himself. Ha! He’s just a toddler. There’s no way. What? Oh, they’re both serious. I guess I’ll hide that smirk and support this new initiative.

It was well worth it. My wife patiently guided our little one through the process. He pulled most of it off fairly well. Nothing to really write home about. Except for the wedgie he gave himself while hauling with all of his might to pull his pants up over his diapers. That was priceless, and well worth writing about.

Once the tears were finally done rolling down the side of my cheeks from all of the laughing, he was ready to be tucked in and slipped quietly away into sleep.

My only disappointment with tonight is that I now can’t take credit for giving him his first wedgie when I teach him to wrestle a few years from now.


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