Oh dear, I am way too tired to be answering this but I will try.
First, every fight you have with anyone, including husband and children, is all your fault. Does that statement make you feel a bit wrathy? It did me the first time I was the recipient.
But, it also is very true. If the second person ( you ) does not respond confrontationally, there is no discord. Now, how to turn that around? You will need to work it out for yourself. It was said to me when I had four teenagers with whom I daily (verbally) battled royal.
Perhaps a list of RULES...up by a certain time, dressed by a certain time, toys picked up,suppertime, bathtime , storytime.ect ect. If she has a rigid set of rules she may be more responsive.
I am writing primarily because I have a condition..it is called Sensory Defensiveness Symdrome and mine is with Burden Symdrom as well.
When I was three my Mum would dress me (in a dress , it was in the forties) satin bow in my hair, put me out to play, check on me ten minutes later and she would be LUCKY if I still had panties on LOL
This condition makes one super extremely sensitive to the feel of things. Mostly I wear cotton..I can do cotton with bit of spandex.
HUGE nono's are anything synthetic..polyester gives me creeps all over my body..acetate the same. Nylon can be quite soft and acceptable.
If I have a wrinkle, especially in a sock, I have to take off my shoes and sox and fix it. Some stretch sox with no toe seams work out. Best are socks I have knitted myself out of highend yarns.
If there is any sort of a crumb in my bed, even lint, it will wake me in the night and I have to search for it. Can be as small as a little fabric pill but it feels like boulder to me.
If there is a wrinkle in my sheets, it feels like a log and I have to get out of bed and sort it out.
I am NOT saying this is what ails your daughter, but that it is definately a possibility. My Mum did not have this and did not understand it, but bless her heart, she did all she could to see I was as comfortable as I could be.
The thing with three year old is to have expectations and be able to ignore the inbetweens.
If you were a teacher then you are probably familiar with the reward system. Everytime she accomplishes something on the rules list, give her ( and five year old) a star. Certain number of stars can be redeemed for a reward.
This can be an ice cream cone, a favorite book, neednt be expensive. A lot of stars perhaps an outing to park, or playground.
As far as clothes go..maybe you could take her shopping, let her feel the clothes, try them on..pick out the trousers..perhaps a soft cotton terry would suit her.
IF this symdrom is what ails her, believe me it is miserable to have, hard to find clothes that are comfortable. They have to fit just so too. Cant be sitting on seams which may be why she prefers her skirts. (what about skirts with leotards? do they still call them that? or are leotards the new leggings?)
On your tight schedule it will be very difficult to organize a time out for failure to follow the rules in the mornings, perhaps take back a star? When you are home a time out, one minute per year, or three minutes for her could be managed.
Three year olds are wearing. They are developing their personalities and characters and very headstrong. How you deal with her will make a great impression on her developement.
I have a three year old grandson who lives upstairs and spends a great deal of time with me. There are times when I have to send him to his parents and he is like your five year old, very well behaved.
They are so different ,one from the other. One cannot say, well the older child did or never did this or that.
I do not know how to establish if your child has this syndrom but it sure sounds suspicious to me!!!
And , if she does , then remember she is in a world full of people who do NOT have this condition...other than helping her to be as comfortable as possible, it would not be good to baby her because of it.
It must be very hard to mother two such small children in one's forties, comes a lot easier in twenties for sure.
I have seven children, first at 16 and last at nearly 34.
In some ways the last three were easier, but I noticed that I did not have the energy or stamina I had with the first four.
Well, this has turned into a real ramble on, hasnt it?
Best wishes dear and God bless.