... Montessori spirit week....
A quick quiz:
Q: What's the quickest way to suck every last bit of the spirit out of an otherwise happy family?
A: Have a Montessori "Spirit Week" that involves separate days of creative dressing, including:
Mon - pajama day / Tues - tie dye or tie day / Weds - jersey day / Thurs - inside out day / Fri - school pride day.
Seems simple enough, right?
See, pajama day was fine. K has enough pajamas that we could make sure some of her favorites were washed in time for Monday morning.
But yesterday morning we hit a wall. No tie-dye in the house.
Option 2: wear one of the ties that Daddy doesn't even wear.
Turns out this isn't a viable option. For whatever reason. It's not clear why, but K refused. Not even the "cool" all-silk tie a climbing friend brought me from India, a tie that made M swallow a guffaw when I brought it out.
M miraculously managed to dig up a top she had, one tie-dyed a tasteful blue and white (nothing purchased at a Dead show) and proposed that K wear it as a dress, with one of her shirts under it. It was actually quite a creative solution. Nothing doing.
The short and dirty recap is that K didn't go to school yesterday. And K generally likes school. I believe this is the first time she out-and-out refused to go.
So she was absent due to... a clothing virus? A lack of spirit? Do we just say "our daughter couldn't find anything she felt was appropriate for your damn spirit week!" and leave it at that?
The turn of events worries me though, and on so many levels. 1) at 4 1/2 she already can't find anything to wear?!? 2) she's not willing to go creative (we suggested wearing a tie as a belt, wearing M's t-shirt as a dress, wearing a tie as a tie.... nope, no, uh uh! 3) what the heck is she going to be like at 14?!?
We tag-teamed it yesterday, just so neither of us put a foot through a wall or tossed a book out the window. We had to. And it was rough. For K. For M. For me. I have no idea what I would have done if I'd been on my own. Cried, probably. Maybe that's what I should have done while K was crying.
K was in full melt-down mode, and she was a mess. And so were we. We're supposed to be the bosses, right?
And the problem was, we didn't know what to do. Do we force our 4yo to go to school, even if she's wailing at the top of her lungs, even if she's still in her diaper and pajamas ("Uh, pajama day was Monday Mr. K's Daddy"), even if I kinda get why she's resisting going so damn hard?
The thing is, I suspect it was the right move, to just let her stay home.
For one thing, I never liked that kind of stuff when I was a kid either. I never felt like I was going to have the right things to wear or look the right way. I worried about fitting in. Sound familiar? Yup, my daughter is my daughter! So what can I say? "K, I get it. I hated spirit week too." Probably not entirely constructive. And then there was the fact that she was so worked up, and resisting so strongly, that had we made her go, I think it would have caused longer term issues.
But a decision like that requires that a parent remain flexible in the face of extreme screaming and tears, flexible enough so that the decision feels like a valid alternative, rather than simply a caving in. I think maybe we both (M and me) felt like we'd caved a little, but with a few hours of distance, and after talking to M on the phone and hearing that things were going well at home, I decided it was the choice that made sense.
Today is Jersey day, meaning sports jerseys of some kind. Meaning another day predicated on a clothing genre of which we have none. But M has already cleared it with K* and she's going to wear a Mariners t-shirt that is a hand-me-down from her cousins. Maybe. We'll see how she feels about it once she wakes up.... wish us luck!
* "already cleared it with K" - this may be a partial key for us. K doesn't handle course reversals quickly. She's always been best when her expectations are set ahead of time. This means saying early in the afternoon that a day is hair night and letting her know that I'll need cooperation when we wash. It means letting her know that in 15 minutes we're going to kiss Belle on the plastic snout and go inside to have a snack. And maybe it means a bit more preparation ahead of time, finding and running through options.