I definitely think we did pander to toddler clothing silliness, but I am greatly reassured by all of this - I really thought there was something 'wrong' with her. I'll also speak to her teacher and find out what she's like at school.
I am feeling so sorry for my mum now, I was and did all of those things! As a shred of reassurance, I'm pretty normal now. I gave up ballet, gymnastics and various other things very quickly... I remember refusing to take off a summer dress when we were having a day out on a cold rainy May Day and making my mum cry as we couldn't leave until I changed. (My dad refused to talk to me for upsetting my mum as well). And I wrote lists of names obsessively for years.
No phobias or anything, I was just stubborn, a bit unusual and gave up too easily. Later on I played clarinet for 7 years though and I'm sure your daughter will stick at something she likes too.
Sounds a lot like my oldest DD. I agree about removing summer clothing from her wardrobe. My daughter loves summer dresses and would happily wear them all year round if I didn't remove them once the temperature plumets. With the tights, does she have sensitive skin on her legs and perhaps finds them itchy. My DD prefers nylon tights to woollen ones.
The clothes thing is easily solved. Personally I'd just make her wear what she needs to wear to be suitably dressed, but make sure it's soft, comfortable fabric. I think your mistake was to pander to this fairly typical toddler complaint and now it's become 'her thing'. Another option if you prefer would be to let her wear what she wants, take warmer clothes with you and offer them to her if she complains of being cold. She's 5 plenty old enough to be told to either put them on or shut up stop complaining about the cold. End of.
As for the 'I can't do it' - that is much harder to deal with and requires levels of patience that only the reward of at the end of the day enables! I think you need seval different attacks on this problem - ignoring (when she says about things in the future), praising for things achieved (but not over the top), telling her not to be so silly (when she wont go to parties if there might be games - she can enjoy the rest of the party), practising (ie playing games where there isn't a winner) and praising for things she tries to do, whether she achieves or not. Maybe try things like 'Brownies' or whatever where there isn't any competition - just joining in, rather than gymnastics where the focus is on learning 'a skill'.
I would also talk to her teacher and see what her attitude is like at school.
God, that sounded so harsh, sorry! Am in the midst of bedtime.
The failure thing causes us no end of problems, but slight improvement from eg all trying things together, so he sees us learning and sometimes failing first time, and lots of talking about how practicing anything is the only way to learn to do it. And with things like gym/music clubs we have gone along a couple of times to watch, and then he has been keener to give it a try. I think if there was a particular move he didn't want to do I would make a deal that he could avoid it for one week, then do it the next week. I find at 4.5 DS1 is prepared to accept bargains like these. I have never tried star/sticker charts, but he is unbribable with chocolate/cake etc, except for really minor things (walking home a bit faster, for instance). Big issues are not made any more appealing with bribery IME.
My DS is vaguely similar (terrified of failure, and not great at choosing clothes). The clothes thing is easily solved by only making seasonally appropriate clothes available - take anything not weather appropriate out of the wardrobe and hide it in the loft. Tantrums will not last more than a day. We have the same thing getting DS1 out of his thermals at the end of winter - the fear seems to be of 'new' rather than particular clothes.
I think the clothes thing can be managed without the punishment element. E.g quietly bring trousers/long sleeves but talk about temperature sunny not being hot etc. the defeatism I think is harder: does 'of course you'll be bad at the start, everyone is- that's why we practice' work?
My ds who is 4.5 also says the thing about "but I won't know how to do it" if talking about something he's never tried before. I usually remind him of something that he has learnt to do, and remind him that he had to practice before he could do it. I try and reinforce that he can try something himself first, and if he still can't do it, I will help him. I tell him that he's good at building things out of lego, for example, and he now sees himself as someone who is good at making things. The clothes thing, I would be tempted to be a lot bit firmer about, eg well you can't go out then if you don't wear appropriate clothes, so would you prefer to stay in, or put some trousers on and go out?
The clothing thing sounds unmanageable, I'm not sure when you say she has a phobia if it's a true phobia or just a strong preference. I would be pretty desperate to extend her comfort zone to include long sleeves and tights. Bribery or whatever it takes. At that age, DS2 would do almost anything for a chocolate (he is 8yo now and I had to resort to biscuits to get him to start wearing his winter coat a while ago, only took one day of biscuit reward). But whatever it takes, which might include shouting and punishment. Assuming it's not a true phobia, just very strong willfulness.
In most ways, including the strong clothing preferences, she sounds well within my experience of normal. I had a devil of a time getting (my 4-5yos) DD out of only pinafores, getting DS2 to wear trousers, and getting DS3 to wear a coat.
DD1 (5.2) is a funny, intelligent, articulate little girl who is lovely to her little sister, appears to have lots of friends, and is impecably behaved outside of the house. However, I have some concerns about her behaviour, and I'm not sure if any of this is normal!
From the age of 2, she developed what can almost be described as phobias of particular clothes - for a long time she would not wear long sleeves or anything dress or skirt related. We let her get on with it, but three years later, she's not much better. She genuinely cannot dress appropriately for the weather, is one big problem. I know the advice is usually to let her realise that she will be cold, but for DD1, she just cannot appreciate this. The worst is on a sunny but very cold winter's day, she will insist on wearing shorts. Needless to say, within seconds of being outdoors, she will moan and moan and moan about the cold. We threaten to take her home, and indeed we do carry this through, but it has no impact. It's the same story the next time. And the next time.
She is incredibly defeatist. She's interested in reading but only what she thinks she can read. She started reception this year and has got the hang of blending very well, but if we try a word that I know she can read (mat, for example, when she has just read the word cat) she moans and moans and moans that she cannot do it. Same with dance, which she started over the summer. She struggles with one particular move (or so she perceives) and cries that she's not going any more. I want her to carry on because she needs the phsyical activity - her clothing issues mean that trips to playgrouds (i.e. she's cold) have become a bit of a no-no. She does swimming too, but it's taken two years for her to realise she can swim, and even then she says she's rubbish . She stopped gymnastics because she said she was rubbish and was too cold.
Her play is imaginiative, but all she seems to like to do at the moment is write lists of names. Nothing else, just lists of names. She is highly competitive and hates to lose, to the point where she will not join in with party games in case she doesn't win. She will only go to parties (she seems to get a lot of invites) if there will be no games. I nearly considered keeping her off school for the Christmas party because I couldn't face the sulking. Was said she liked the games, so that's progress I guess.
She's really interested in music, so I've said maybe when she's older she might like music lessons. She's said no as "I won't know how to do it". I'm not pushing it, but it's like she cannot cope with the idea of doing anything new that might take a bit of work. I'm concerned that this might start to happen at school too, that she might refuse to do what her teacher asks on the grounds it might be too hard.
Does any of this sound like cause for concern? Would it be worth speaking to her teachers? We've had one parents' meeting so far and the way they do it at DD's school is to have the DC present, so that told us abolutely nothing.