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"I want my princess pajamaaaaaas!" my 3-year-old daughter, Avery, wailed as I tried to explain that her beloved pj's were in the laundry. I'm used to this mayhem. The day before, she had a meltdown about a specific dress she refused to wear ("It's yucky!"). And on the sunniest day of the week, she insisted on sporting rain boots at the playground.
Avery's outfit-related outbursts can be incessant, impassioned, and, yes, infuriating, but I was relieved to discover that they're totally typical for children her age. "Three-year-olds are learning to assert their independence, and they want more control over their environment. Clothing is one of the few things they can take charge of," says Tammy Gold, a psychotherapist and parent coach in Short Hills, New Jersey. "Choosing what they wear helps kids define who they are."
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