Entering Into Clothing Hell Season

Fall can be such a marvelous time of year. Cool crisp morning breezes.

The wonderful smell of leaves changing into bright reds, oranges, yellows and purples.

But when you have an SPD kiddo, it is also a count down to clothing hell.

My child is tactile defensive, which means, if it was up to him, he would spend the entire day completely naked.

The very fact that he is willing to put on shorts and a t-shirt is nothing less than a miracle.

As the cool days close upon us, I dread when he will have to start wearing long sleeved shirts, jackets, and above all, pants.

When he three, before we understood what was going on, I would become unbearably frustrated at his refusal to wear pants.

I spent weeks upon weeks bribing, begging, pleading and crying for him to put on his pants.

Of course, he was too young and unable to tell me why he could not wear his jeans or corduroys or sweat pants.

But finally he was able to explain in a few simple words.

“My pants aren’t pretty,” he said. Say what?

“My pants aren’t pretty.” All of the girls at his school had decorated pants with multi-colored flowers embroidered on the pockets as well as magical leaves that blossomed into bright pink, orange, purple, blue and yellow patterns.

His pants?


Brown, dark blue, gray.

What a snoozefest.

In that moment of desperation, I became determined to figure out a way to make his pants pretty, entering into a world I have rarely had the courage to address.

Oh yes, I’m talking about the craft store!

Some people have a natural ability for crafts.

They wake up in the morning with creativity oozing out their fingertips, putting together cornucopias of projects.

I, on the other hand, barely passed elementary school art. If not for the A in effort, I think I might have never made it past fourth grade.

And so, off to the craft store i went looking for patches to put onto his drab pants.

Once I got there, I quickly realized the only people who put patches on their pants are girls.

While my son wanted “pretty” pants, he wasn’t going to put up with the fragile, delicate florals offered in the isles.

Thankfully, amidst the princess patches, I was able to find some boy-like pieces — hot rod cars, flames, skulls and crossbones, trucks, bugs and the initial V for Vman.

During the course of two days, I sewed my underutilized fingers into a throbbing mess to create masterpieces.

To my surprise, the patches overrode the uncomfortableness of the pants.

In wonder and awe, he petted the corduroys and happily put them on to display how absolutely, undeniably, powerfully cool he truly was.

Now he’s six and not falling for the patches anymore.

The very thought of putting on a long-sleeved shirt drew tears of agony this week.

I’m not sure how I will approach clothing this winter.

All I know is, one Fall, I got it right.

Read more about Sensory Processing Disorder on Mommy Evolution!


  1. Why this blog made me bawl my eyes out? It’s my story! Right down to missing the artistic gene. We discovered our son had SPD a year ago. He is tactile defensive too and is in his heart of hearts, a nudist! What works for him are these strange stretchy suspenders I made him that make his clothes “feel better”. He once told me at age 5, that he wishes he didn’t have skin because he thinks his skeleton could wear clothes:( I used to yell and bribe and oh how we hated snow pants but now he’s older it’s better. We only buy pants with adjustable waist bands and attach his suspenders to everything…even sweat pants. He asked me to make some for when he’s an old man cause I’ll be dead. (Forgot to mention, he’s very bright too:)) But that makes me think about how awful it must be. That helps me empathize and have more patience but…omg we have to be declared saints after these kids are raised!!! For now, we have each other:) Thank you, thank you for your blog. Love it!!

    1. Absolutely! I loved reading your entry. I guess I don’t have the pang of letting go of clothes because my second son wears them and then off they go to our nephew. They get their use! That is, if they survive the first two boys But I understand wanting things to go to a good home. When we let go of the baby swing, etc., a new mom who couldn’t buy any of these items new was thrilled to find them from us on Craigs List in such good condition. Made me feel good to know those items will be loved.

  2. Good for you for doing the patches on the pants thing – very creative and it made your son happy, if only for one fall.

    My son Cody has Cerebral Palsy and as such has fine motor delays. The older he gets the harder it is to find pants that he can get up and down on his own that actually fit him. Snaps and buttons are almost always not possible, zippers are a maybe. To top it all off when he has the sensation to “go” it is nearing the too late stage. Pants with elastic waistbands are great but don’t look all that nice. It is a struggle. Cody also has some sensory processing issues but is not adverse to fabrics. Tags are icky but easy to remove. It is textures with his food that is a challenge.

    Thanks for the ping under Related Articles. 🙂

    1. muddymonkeysmama says:

      You’re welcome for the Ping. I do enjoy reading your blog as well. And I understand the fact that sweats don’t look all that nice. I’ve moved on and just accepted the fact that my son needs to be comfortable, not a sharp dresser. In fact, I think he will always be this way. So I’m embracing it as part of him and moving on to the big things that matter. Give in and just make it easier for the both of you 🙂

  3. Jodi — I’m so touched that you connected with this entry. I have a feeling my son will be living in sweatpants this winter.

    I’m imagining your son in suspenders and smiling… it must drive you crazy but also make you smile at how cute and funny he must be. I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it was to have to go to these measures but Vman was also adorable running around showing off the “V” on his rear end. 🙂

  4. This is very interesting. I’m at the start of our sensory journey so still have lots to learn. My little girl (as well as now starting refusing to wear trousers as the weather is getting colder) has for a long time refused certain clothes because of their colour. She is mad about pink and purple and while she will wear other colours she often refuses to dark colours. Is this a sensory thing too?

    1. It could be that darker colors do upset her eyes… or should could REALLY not like dark colors. Either way, when kids have sensory issues, I generally honor their needs (even if they seem insignificant) because they don’t feel insignificant to them. I know my son often has more anxiety and is more agitated when his sensory issues are acting up more.

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