And the good news is, SHE DID IT!! She went back. Happily. No tears, no screaming, no fuss.
She marched through those doors on her own two feet, wearing a suitable outfit, complimented by a pair of hot-pink mary-jane shoes. She was toting a box full of oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies that we had baked for the teachers-- and the teachers were thrilled, let me tell you (it's clearly been a loooong week for them, too).
We made a few changes here at home on Thursday, which I think really helped Wee Three feel more "in control" of the going-to-school situation.
First off, we went out for one more little spree at Old Navy... the big sale is now on, so I thought, "What the heck?" Child Number Three had a super time picking out a few more little pairs of jeans and long-sleeved shirts. We even found some gorgeous pairs of tiny little fuzzy socks, which will be very suitable for when the cooler weather sets in around here for "good". And I made it ab-so-lute-ly CLEAR that since THESE were the outfits that she was choosing for herself, THESE were the clothes that needed to be worn for school from now on.
Then we went home with our purchases, and tackled the closet situation.
Part of our problem over the past few weeks has been that the resident three-year-old has a love for summer clothing that borders on the obsessional. The smaller the garment, the more she loves wearing it (and I thought this sort of thing didn't kick in until girls hit their teenage years...) For example, while prancing around in a purple-polka-dot bikini is just fine when it's thirty degrees outside and the kids are all running through the sprinkler out in the garden (heck, I'm even fine with the kids putting on their bathing suits, grabbing towels and umbrellas and playing "beach" in the playroom while the blizzards rage outside in December), I have been unable to impress upon Child Number Three that skimpy beach attire has NO place in the nursery school classroom.
So, I did a little re-shuffling in the closet, and set up a shelf that is perfectly within the reach of my youngest child. We arranged all of her school outfits on it, and now, every school day, she will be able to go into her closet and choose her own clothes.
And all of her summer clothes went up high on another shelf, out of sight and temptation's way, where only Mummy can reach them. And who knows? With this wacky Ontario weather, we might just be needing them again a few times before the season is well and truly over... Dress-up clothes, too, came out of the closet, and have been put back down in one of the massive costume-bins in the playroom. If she wants her feather boas and high heels, she knows where to find them. I'm just hoping that the urge won't strike her to combine them with jeans and a t-shirt before 9 am on weekday mornings, if she can't see them lying in front of her on the closet floor.
Today started off great. She got up, she chose her clothes, and we put them on her with minimal fuss. She ate breakfast, and then followed her sisters up to the bathroom, where they helped her clean her face and teeth, and brushed her hair.
We actually arrived at the big school playground with time to spare, and I watched my girls racing around with their friends, whilst sipping coffee from my enormous pink-polka-dot coffee mug. When the bell rang and everyone lined up to go inside, I made mention to Child Number Three how nicely the other children were all behaving, and noted that no-one was crying as they walked through the doors!! I asked if she was ready to try going back to her school, and she grinned and nodded furiously!!
It was heaven, people.
She did it.
WE did it.
Weeelllll.... actually, if the truth be known, there was one more "person" involved in today's success. Want to know who?
That's right. The Dairy Queen.
I confess. I bribed my kid to go to school today. Call it "positive reinforcement" call it a "reward", call it whatever you want. I promised that if Child Number Three behaved herself beautifully this morning, I would take her to Dairy Queen immediately after school, and buy her the biggest, bestest ice cream they had.
If the plan worked, I would get one, too.
It worked. Thank God.
I wonder what I'll be craving when it's time to go back to school again NEXT week?
And I wonder... how much I'll weigh by the time June rolls around...
God Almighty, the things we do for our kids. Ouf.