Eureka! I had one of those moments today. Let me start at the beginning… at Maggie’s school they have a clothes box for each child. If said child has an accident or major spill or sits in mud (like Maggie did three weeks ago) they change their own clothes. Partly due to the mud sitting, but mostly due to the change of weather, we were due to replenish Maggie’s clothes box with some long pants and long sleeve shirts.
We packed up a pair of pants and a sweater one morning to send to school. Maggie helped me pick them out. All is good. Then for the next 3 weeks she brought them to school in her bag and brought them home in her bag. At first I thought she was forgetting to put them in her box, or maybe couldn’t be bothered to put them in her box. It became a running commentary when she would get in the car at pickup.
“Did you put your clothes in your box?” I would ask
“No,” she would say.
“Why not?” I would ask
“I don’t want to,” she would say.
“But what if you have an accident, or sit in the mud? You won’t have clothes to wear.”
Conversation over. This went on for more days than I can count. I even started to laugh about it. So I finally emptied the bag at home and told her to put them back in her room. She happily did so. Fine, I thought to myself, you wait and see, one day you will need those clothes and you won’t have them! And we moved on.
Last night at a parent meeting they mentioned bringing in winter clothes for the boxes. Anyone who knows me, knows I am a RULE FOLLOWER. So this morning I had a hard time sending her off to school knowing she didn’t have any fall clothes to wear if she needed them. I took a different approach with her.
“Was there a reason you didn’t want to leave your clothes at school?” I asked.
She nodded yes.
“Do you want to tell me about it?”
“They are too beautiful.”
“You mean the pants and sweater?” I asked, hiding my shock, as they really look to me like every other set of play clothes that she wears daily.
“Yes, they are too beautiful and I don’t want to leave them at school and not see them for a long time.”
“OK. How about if we go up together and pick out some clothes you wouldn’t mind leaving at school.”
We went upstairs and she picked out a plain red long-sleeve T-shirt and a pair of navy pants and yellow underwear. All solids. No patterns. Patterns are what make things “beautiful.” I don’t know where she gets that, most of my clothes are solids. An occasional stripe or pattern gets into my closet. I guess this is only the first time we will not see eye to eye when it comes to clothes. I’m just glad we could talk about it and come up with a solution that we both liked.
And guess what? She put her clothes in her clothes box today.