18 September, 2009

Tantrums and angst

Mine, not Hazel's! I suppose I should set the scene: I like to make things for Hazel, mostly clothes and stuffies. I enjoy the process and the results. Hazel? Not so much. The results are mixed - some things she loves, some things she doesn't mind, some things she refuses to wear/play with. The refusals are usually clothes. Now to be fair she often does come around to them, but in the meantime I feel really rejected and stupid. Logically I know this is silly, she's four and trying out her ability to choose and impose her wishes, but my pride is hurt and it makes me more reluctant each time I do it to do it again.

I made her a skirt out of fabric she'd really really wanted in the store. She refuses point blank to wear it. I made the lovely spotty jacket. She's refused to wear it several times and had to be bribed to put it on for the photo shoot. Today she refused to wear it again and it was just the last straw. I told her that since she refused to wear anything I made her I was going to stop making her clothes and stomped out of the room. Of course she came out after me declaring it was all a joke and of course she'd wanted to wear it, but that just made it worse because it patently wasn't true. I hid away and cried. Literally. Then I got ahold of myself and we went to the zoo and I managed to get over it. We even had a nice little talk about it and I apologised for having a tantrum and explained why I'd been so upset.

But you know, I'm still not sure if I can bring myself to make things for her. It kills me to say it but why should I play these mind games with her, and if they're not mind games then I obviously have no idea what she likes by way of clothes! What's the point of making things for someone who doesn't appreciate them? I've got loads of people who I could make things for who would. I don't necessarily make things for the appreciation, but it's an important part of the process I think, even on a small scale. I don't think it's possible to invest that time and energy into things that are unwanted. And god forbid that I become one of those people who try and manipulate others into appreciation or guilt. This has turned into rather a whiny and self-pitying post I know (I promise not to become one of those bloggers honest!), but I haven't felt this crap about making stuff for a long long time. I know I'll probably just continue on making things for her because I love it more than I hate the rejection, but I certainly feel wary and less joyful about the process.


  1. I so was your child. I grew up in 70's and early eighties and once I hit four I so didn't want to wear the clothes my mum made me. I used to be so embarrassed that I was one of the only people with mamma made clothes.

    For one I was a tom boy and I wanted jeans and t-shits and to live in my overalls, but she made me twirly skirts and white peddle pushers.

    But I didn't have a choice, there wasn't many shop bought clothes in my wardrobe, so mamma made it was.

    Things were a little different for my little brother, as she wasn't so good at trousers and shirts, so he got more shop bought (second hand stores), his angst is was at second hand clothing and hand me downs, so I guess we both have our issues.

    I didn't have a solution except to say, your clothes are fantastic and I hope that you come to a satisfactory solution for all involved.

  2. As the mother of a late teenage daughter, I suggest STOP NOW - primarily because I got much further down this unhappy path than 4 years. And Hazel is saying that too, isn't she? You don't want your relationship with her to be such a complex dance and you don't want to get her hooked on complexity in her relationships either. So how about Jacqui, doesn't she want something sewn for her? The gift you give your daughter is looking after yourself. PS my husband has this great phrase about PhDs - its not how you do them, it's how you recover from doing them that is the key

  3. My mom did the same thing with me as a kid. I think it is just about being in control of our lives and not so much about whether we liked the clothing or not. I probably wore the stuff she made me until I was 5 and then she stopped due to sircumstances that had her out of the house all the time. As a teenager we made my prom dresses together. This is something I look back on with great delight. I love that we did that together. And the dresses were beautiful. If it were me, i'd probably still make the occasional item of clothing and then slip it in her closet without her knowing and see if she picks it out herself. Even if you pick it out, coming from the closet might be a better way of having her wear it. :) It takes away from the instant gratification of her wearing it, but it might work. :)

  4. I hear you sister! Gads, when I make Veronica anything there's always something wrong with it. It's too itchy or not cool enough (she's 6, so not much older than Hazel, but I have heard this since she was 4 -- unless it was a princess dress).

    I've made some doggone adorable things for here if I do say so myself. My issue is that I have joint custody of her, so she spends half her time with me (hippy, handmade, granola crunch lady) and the other half with her dad (typical consumer American - she has a TV in her room, her own handheld gaming device, buys her way better clothes all the time, etc). Needless to say, dad wins out big time on the coolness factor and I don't blame her.

    I just stopped making her stuff with the exception of stuffies. She's cool with that and it doesn't hurt her feelings. She's the kind of girl that will Let Me Know if and when she wants me to make her something, and I figure it just gives me more time to make myself something.

    I am going to try the idea that you linked to a couple of weeks ago to see if having her draw the outfit and pick the fabrics will get her more into the idea of wearing what I make, but if she doesn't go for it then I'll just go on making doll clothes & toys.

    Don't worry about it. One day she'll wake up and have all your sensebilities anyway, and she'll look back and kind of laugh to herself and understand because she'll be so like you.

  5. This is just a kid thing that I don't think they'll ever fully grow out of. My four year old is the same way. I love to crochet amigurumi toys for him but sometimes he just doesn't care. It does hurt a bit to have them look at it like it's a disgusting rodent and walk away as quickly as possible but then I try to remind myself how much fun it was to make it. I tell my son that I'll just give it to someone else that would like it if he doesn't want it. He usually wants it then but if he doesn't I really do pass it on to someone else. I love to be crafty and I know that someone out there will appreciate it if he doesn't. Enjoy your creative side!

  6. I think it is maybe a kid thing, and she may change, then again she may not. My daughter is six and a half, thankfully she is still happy to wear what I make for her and I am enjoying it while it lasts... because I know one day she won't want the handmade stuff. She does however have specific likes and dislikes starting from around four, for example she hates trousers or jeans, she is very much a skirt or dress girl. She would choose to have frozen legs rather than wear trousers. We used to butt heads over this all the time, I would say she would be too cold, the dress was impractical etc etc, there would be lots of tears and tantrums... and then just one day I decided to give up. It is her legs that are cold, her that finds it hard to climb up the ladder at the park in a frilly skirt not me and now we just work with what she is comfortable with.

    Maybe it is more about Hazel wanting a choice rather than her not wanting to wear the clothing you have made. Have you tried offering her limited choices? maybe a skirt you have made and a choice of two tops that match, or two outfits to choose from each day? Maybe if you take the pressure off she might come round.

    Your stuff is gorgeous, and if it brings you pleasure to create it, well then I would be sewing and giving items to others that you know will appreciate them... there is nothing like seeing someone else love something Mum has made to change a four year olds mind ;)

  7. HUgs !!! I've been there Jacqui. I think most girls go through that stage. I stopped making clothes for Lilly when she was about 5. Even now I don't really make clothes for her, she will like a fabric, but then never wear the garment. Even getting her to buy the fabric with her pocket money didn't make a difference. However she does love quilts, and everyime I make one now she want s. Go figure. Good thing I prefer to make quilts.

    I will say that boys are much less fussy. Mine will wear anything, even the 13yr old (ok not the big one, who is 18).

  8. Maybe step back a bit for a while and let her tell you what she wants in her own time. Doesn't that sound sage? especially coming from someone who delightedly made a pillow slipdress for miss 2, only to find it discarded 30 minutes later because the bow was in the way of having fun and it was tricky to use the potty with. At least it looked good on the hanger.



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