Thursday, 20 May 2010

Can a girl really have too many clothes?

If she’s got SID then the answer is most definitely YES!

It sometimes feels as if clothes are the most evil thing on the planet in our house. Why? Clothes can drive ‘B’, and me, come to that, almost to the point of insanity. I have to say, she has come a long way on this one but I decided to blog about it because it used to be a huge problem for us.

There is no successful formula for this one. Depending on what she’s going to be doing, where she’s going, who she’s with, how sensitive her skin is that day, we can end up abandoning everything because they don't feel right. It may sound funny but it’s not, this is a very real problem, especially on those days when she can’t bear to wear anything!

She wouldn’t throw out anything either. So when she was having one of those days, she would trying on everything, and I mean, everything! Even if it meant trying to stuff her foot into a shoe that was 3 sizes too small, it just might have worked! She knew it wouldn’t fit because she’d grown but had to try anyway. But this in turn leads to frustration because after a while, having tried everything in her wardrobe her sensory system is in freefall, it doesn’t know what works anymore.

Wardrobe 101!

Don’t force them to wear anything! Even if the weather dictates a certain type of clothing, let them go with what they feel comfortable with. A child will not let themselves freeze, they will ask for a coat if they need it. ‘B’ likes to wrap herself in a blanket rather than wear a coat, if she does wear a coat it can’t be fastened up it has to be open!

Don’t pick their clothes for them, let them choose what works for that moment in time. Even if the pattern or colour doesn’t co-ordinate, the priority is to feel comfortable!

Choose a wardrobe of clothes that meets all possible sensory needs (something tight, loose, floaty, constricting, heavy, light etc. etc.)

If possible try to limit the amount of clothes. Too many clothes to choose from can cause mental confusion which will lead to frustration which can lead to meltdown.

Get your child to hold swatches of different fabrics in their pockets and see their reaction or ask them how that one feels. It works best if they aren’t looking at it, they may get distracted by the colour or design of the fabric, you really need to know how it feels. For ‘B’ we found nylon actually made her angry! Heavy fabrics made her un-cooperative.

Don't fall into the trap of buying loads of an item in different sizes in the hope that ’cos she’s been living in that outfit for weeks that it will last. As quickly as you breath, that favourite outfit can suddenly be like wearing a suit of armour, it hurts, it scratches, it’s poke, it’s too tight, it’s too heavy, the stitching isn’t quite the same.

Even having more than one of something and trying to slip one into the washing machine, sneakily replacing it with an identical one (that you have pre-washed and crumpled a bit because they know that new smell and crisp finish), no that won’t fool her, not even for a second. She knows it’s not the same one!
We wash our clothes with eco-friendly chemical-free unperfumed washing liquids. Sometimes the smell of chemicals can drive them nuts. For some, they may need 3 times as much fabric conditioner to make them soft enough, others may like that starchy feel. ’B’ doesn’t like her clothes ironed, she likes them crumpled. Some will only tolerate garden-dried washing, the tumble dryer making them smell funny. When they constantly complain about a previously acceptable outfit and the only thing that has changed is that you have washed it, honestly, just look at how you do your washing and try something different.

Hope that helps a little!
Till next time
‘B’s Mum