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Why does my 2-year-old hate to get her clothes or diaper changed?
Q: Why, all of a sudden, does my 2-year-old hate to get dressed or have her nappy changed? She would rather leave the same thing on all day and night! It happens every time we change her clothes, regardless of what she has on or what we want to put on her.
A: Not to worry, Gayle. Your daughter is behaving very “twoishly”—she wants to make all the decisions, and control you in the process. Here is a perfect example of a situation in which you need to negotiate and compromise, and not worry about losing control. First, decide whether it is really important that she be dressed in a certain way. If you’re just going to a friend’s house or the grocery store and she wants to keep her pyjamas on, say something like, “Okay, but you’ll be the only person there in pyjamas.” That’s letting her make the decision when the outcome isn’t really all that important. In that same situation though, if she has on a dirty nappy, insist on a compromise. “Okay, you can wear your pyjamas, but we’re going to change your nappy. Nobody wants you around with a wet or smelly bottom.”

Maybe your daughter is just a “thoroughly modern Millie”: nobody seems to care much these days about what people wear. A few days ago I watched a news conference of the out-going and in-coming CEO of the world’s largest company. Neither man wore a tie—an infraction of the rules of dress that would have cost both of them their jobs a decade ago. Your daughter’s behaviour is probably temporary. All too soon she will probably become acutely sensitive to acceptable and unacceptable clothing, and you may wish nostalgically for the time when she didn’t care.