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Daughter insists on "being a dog" - trashing uniform weekly.

(25 Posts)
FunkyBallOfTitsFromOuterSpace Wed 03-Feb-16 18:44:58

Hi. I don't really know where to post this, hopefully I've chosen the right section!

My five year old loves animals and imaginative play, so it's pretty unsurprising really that she spends a large amount of her time pretending to be various creatures. Her most common one is a dog, and this consists of scooting around the floor on her knees, trashing both her trousers and footwear in the process.

Since she started school in September, she has gone through the equivalent of one pair of trousers per month. She completely destroyed her first pair of school shoes. I bought her new school boots two weeks ago (on account of her feet growing, I refused to replace the shoes she trashed previously on the grounds that I'm pretty unfortunate to not own a money tree. Them shoes is expensive, yo'). On day ten of wearing the new boots, she had literally worn a hole right through the toe of one of the shoes. I was livid (I had actually spent a long time researching these shoes because she complained of her feet getting cold (why are girls' school shoes so stupidly impractical?) - they were the last pair in her size and I got them for a steal). That was last week. Additionally, my husband and I have told her on at least five separate occasions between Monday last week and today, that if she doesn't stop trashing her uniform, we would be taking all of her saved up money (a grand total of £36) to replace the various destroyed items of clothing. Not only does this not phase her, she has come home today with yet another hole in another pair of school trousers, the second hole within a week.

I have stayed true to what I said, and I have taken the money out of her pocket money jar (I feel bad, as I didn't want to take it! Money used to speak to me, but apparently being a dog is more important to her and if I threaten it, I sure as hell carry through). The thing is, I doubt this is going to change anything. She doesn't care. I don't really know where this attitude is from, and frankly I think it stinks. It's wasteful, and that really bothers me as the trousers are otherwise in great shape. I don't think she should expect me to replace article after article of clothing, but I don't really know how to get through to her now that the whole thing just pisses me off even at the mere thought of it.

We're not well off (I'm a student and my husband is long-term sick), but even if we did have the aforementioned money tree, I still think it's a crappy attitude to have. And I have no idea where it came from!

Has anyone else experienced anything like this? How did you get your kiddo to start looking after their stuff?

mumofblueeyes Wed 03-Feb-16 18:53:12

I would have thought fantasy type play is very common at this age. Clothes surely needs to match the play and not hinder fun games? It seems a real shame to stop such a fab game for the sake of some trousers. Have you considered putting thick patches on them on the inside before they rip? Also consider M&S - they have reinforced knees. Or sew the holes up each week (time consuming but cheaper!) you could try thick tights instead of trousers - cheap in the supermarkets than new trousers? I am sure the game will fade out at some point. When I look at my slightly older child playing on his IPad I look back on such games with such fond memories. Enjoy her creativity and fantasy play whilst it lasts x

traviata Wed 03-Feb-16 18:58:44

I agree. She's 5. It is fantastic that she's so immersed in this great game.

Patch the trousers. Buy second hand ones or try charity shops. She's just too young to really link actions and future consequences like losing her money - presumably she doesn't care because she doesn't need to spend her money and just wants to be a dog. Dogs don't go shopping.

Can she change her trousers footwear as soon as she gets home, so at least out of school the wear can be taken by cheap trainers & tracksuit bottoms?

Girlfriend36 Wed 03-Feb-16 19:01:07

She sounds like my dd smile can she not wear skirts and long socks instead? I wouldn't use her money, she is 5yo and quite rightly will have only a very limited understanding of its value.

The shoe thing is annoying and I agree girls shoes are useless, i would buy only cheapie asda ones like these or boys ones like these

blobbityblob Wed 03-Feb-16 19:01:35

Looking after her stuff may not come for a while yet. My dd was obsessed with dogs aged 5. She went through trousers quickly, yes. You can buy kind of iron on patch things that go on the insides. Shoes - it's expensive but I just got the Clarks ones and she scuffed them and I polished over the scuffs. Generally - anything leather and it doesn't look good but it shouldn't wear out. But she didn't really come home without muck and soup all over her until about age 9, despite my protests. She had friends who'd come home immaculate. But nothing would stop her love of playing dogs. She's still very fond of dogs but no longer pretends to be one - just wants a real one now. Fond memories of playing fetch in the living room.

Being serious though for my dd I think playing the part of something else was her way of dealing with feeling incredibly shy in reception year. It would have helped mine if the teacher had tried to talk to her, build up her confidence, connected with her. But unfortunately her teacher was off sick the whole year and she had 5 supply teachers. She was a lot better in year 1 and they don't really get much play time then in comparison - it's more doing work sitting at desks or on the carpet. But up until aged 9, we needed clean uniform on a daily basis.

winchester1 Wed 03-Feb-16 19:03:28

As well as patches and sewing could you embellish the game to special dog clothes at home and maybe add diff animals for school.

fastingmum123 Wed 03-Feb-16 19:04:29

Have you thought about putting her in boys shoes my dd now 11 has only just stopped trashing her shoes as soon as she gets them and it seems a shame to stop them playing just because things made for girls are made to be pretty instead of practical.

PennyHasNoSurname Wed 03-Feb-16 19:05:04

Doggies dont wear shoes! Thats what Id be telli g her every time she plays pup with them on.

silverduck Wed 03-Feb-16 19:11:12

I'm with the others - let her play! How destroyed are we talking about with shoes? Scuffs and marks don't matter and can be polished and age 5 school trouser multipacks are pretty cheap? In fact I've just looked, Sainsburys 2 pack is £6, so a pair a month for 6 winter months will cost you £18 for the whole year. You would have had to buy two pairs anyway which means it's actually costing you £12 a year in trousers for a lot of fun. She won't ruin school summer dresses in the same way.

KanyesVest Wed 03-Feb-16 19:13:38

DD is 5 and comes home from school with wrecked/torn knees and a black eye from being a puppy at playtime. Thankfully she doesn't have a uniform so it's cheap leggings, joggers and tights here. I wonder what they are all watching/ talking about in school!

FunkyBallOfTitsFromOuterSpace Wed 03-Feb-16 19:23:56

Sigh. Yes, she's five years old. I don't want to be THAT mum that thinks her kid is different/special, etc, but she's ridiculously advanced, which makes it even harder to call the emotional/mental understanding that she may or may not have.

She's been like this since she was 18 months old, when she created her imaginary pet phoenix. She's always lived in a fantasy world, and she probably always will. It's who she is, and I'm not trying to squash that at all. What I'm trying to squash is her trashing things within a couple of wears. We are really hard up financially right now, and I can't be replacing trousers and shoes weekly, or even monthly.

She won't wear skirts/dresses because they don't allow her to move in the active way she likes. The trousers she does have ARE from M&S, as I figured they'd last longer as she plays hard. They didn't/don't.

Scuffs are one thing, and I am used to cleaning them up for her. But these aren't scuffs..they're HOLES. Right through the toe of her boot. You can see her socks. Additionally, I'm super tall, and so is she. I had big feet for my age, and always, always wore ill fitting shoes as a kid (we were poor then, too!). I've had to have operations on my feet and it's made my life a misery. I can't move the way I'd like, and so I make an effort not to buy cheapo shoes that'll result in the same fate for my kids, despite our finances. She'll be wearing an adult size 10 in four and a half years if she's anything like me. I'd never forgive myself if I caused her the same issues with her feet as I have with mine because she was too young to understand that shoes aren't cheap. I guess it's the same argument as her being too young to understand about simply not trashing them because of the cost of it coming out of her own money.

She gets changed first thing when we get home from school. She always has done; the issue isn't happening at home. It's happening at school.

Silverduck: Maybe they'd be £6 if (a) there was a TU near us, and (b) she wore a size 5. She's actually in a size 7-8, because she's a giant. Further, we've tried her in the cheaper ones and they are the ones that didn't even last the week. 2 pairs in a week. That's considerably more than £12 for a year. And as I say, she won't wear dresses.

fastingmum123: thinking I will get her boys shoes next time. She complained that they were "too clunky", but maybe they are the only thing that will survive her playing style.

blobbityblob Wed 03-Feb-16 19:46:49

Very often they're not quite what we thought they would be like. It's about adapting to circumstances really.

QuietWhenReading Wed 03-Feb-16 19:58:19

What about Landsend 'iron knee' trousers. They are expensive but might save you money given what you are paying now.

WeAllHaveWings Wed 03-Feb-16 20:02:22

Can she wear boys shoes with the rubber toes that go over the top of the shoe?

For ds I used an old pair of trousers to sew inside the less holey ones and kept patching the hole until it was beyond saving. He really didn't care if they were patched inside/sewn outside.

The school day/week is so long they need to play too to keep motivated.

FunkyBallOfTitsFromOuterSpace Wed 03-Feb-16 20:17:16

I didn't know you could get iron-knee trousers, that's a really good idea. I'll investigate! Thank you.

And yes, I think her next pair of shoes will have to be "boys" shoes, as they do appear to be more robust all-round.

I agree the school week is long, and yes, they absolutely do need to play. I don't tell her not to be a dog. I just want her to stop scooting around on her knees in the playground!

BloodyEnderDragons Wed 03-Feb-16 20:24:05

My daughter did this from 3/4-5-6 so yes, it included school!

A few often joined in so it was clearly a normal, popular game bless them.

BloodyEnderDragons Wed 03-Feb-16 20:27:19

Oh I agree, girls shoes for school are RUBBISH! It's a big bug-bear of mine. Cold, wet feet in Autumn and winter, scuffed in summer. They think girls don't want to kick a ball, crawl on the grass and indeed have warm toes! Really makes me angry.

Check out the boys section.

daisychicken Wed 03-Feb-16 20:35:31

My ds1 has always done this and still does - he's 14! At least he's gone from a pair of shoes a month to a pair a term! Ds2 hasn't been quite so bad but he still wrecks shoes and trousers. In ds1's case, the trashing of shoes and trousers is from climbing trees and football (just football since about yr6). I just buy cheap black shoes from any supermarket or shoe zone as I figure a pair a month at their prices equals roughly a pair every 3 months or so from Clarks/Startrite. School trousers - I let him go to school in holey trousers assuming the hole wasn't too large or in an inappropriate place (he's doesn't seem to wreck his trousers now in secondary school, just shoes confused

You won't be the only Mum who sends their child to school in tatty shoes/trousers, I certainly wasn't and the staff all knew that the kids would get tattier and tattier shoe and clothes-wise as the year went on!

QuietWhenReading Wed 03-Feb-16 20:37:29

The other option would be shorts of course.

grumpysquash2 Wed 03-Feb-16 23:32:35

Have a house rule that you take shoes off on the way in. You could also start encouraging taking off school uniform and putting on shorts 'for playing at home'. Job done smile

grumpysquash2 Wed 03-Feb-16 23:33:16

Oops, I see Quiet just suggested exactly that.

Toofat2BtheFly Wed 03-Feb-16 23:38:46

I had a dog called fritz for a daughter for the best part of a year when my dd was 5ish.

I have nothing else useful to add except the memory makes me giggle still 15 yrs later .grin

Soooosie Wed 03-Feb-16 23:51:26

I would let her get on with being a dog as she clearly enjoys it.

I'd patch her trousers with material on the knees.

I'd buy her hard wearing schools like doc martins or kickers.

I wouldn't nag her

Soooosie Wed 03-Feb-16 23:53:25

You could also buy her some knee pads like the ones used for skating

KingLooieCatz Fri 05-Feb-16 12:59:20

You sound like a great mum. She sounds like a great daughter.

I think quite a few people have missed your point. You were pretty clear the new boots have a hole right through. I'm no model mum but I draw the line about there too.

DS is 7 and of late we have sometimes had trousers go a second day before going in the wash. A breakthrough. But someone looked at me like I was nuts for buying 6 pairs in one go. I refuse a mad scramble to have enough clothes for the week.

No great ideas but I feel your pain.

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