Friday, March 12, 2010

Dress-Up Day Disappointments

I let my daughter down today.

It probably won't be the last time.  But, as far as I know, it was the first.

Today was a dress-up day for Ashley's preschool class. They were able to dress as their favorite fairy tale character -- and there was a parade.

I saw the note when I dropped Ashley off on Monday, and we even talked Monday afternoon about what she wanted to be -- a fairy princess.

But then on Tuesday, she was sick and we both stayed home.

And on Wednesday she and I were both sick, so we stayed home.

Yesterday, I was sick, so her father took her to school. And, since he doesn't do the school thing very often, he's not in the habit of checking out the notes on the board.

By this morning, fairy tale dress-up day had totally slipped my mind. (And apparently Ashley's, too, since she didn't say anything.)

But then we arrived at school -- where there were princesses and fairies and knights. And I remembered.

As Ashley was taking her jacket off, one of her friends asked, "Ashley, what did you dress up as?" And Ashley remembered.

I watched Ashley blink away tears, trying to convince herself that it didn't matter. But, of course, it did.

"I won't be in the parade," she said through tears. And I knew what she really meant: I won't be a part of the group, like all the other kids. I'll be an outsider.

And I felt like crying. I remember that feeling. And I suppose I had the naive belief that somehow I could protect my children from it -- as if any kid ever escapes it totally.

My "solutions" sounded lame even to me. Perhaps there's something in the dress-up box in your class. Maybe we can use some art supplies to make a crown and some wings.

One of  the teachers came to the rescue with a unicorn costume from the dress-up box in another class. Ashley put it on, but it wasn't a fairy princess.

Fortunately, I work for a social service agency that works with young children. And we have a playroom. So, I raided our dress-up clothes and came up with a crown and some scarves.

I went back to Ashley's school. We crafted a fairy princess look of sorts -- not quite what either of us imagined on Monday. But Ashley was satisfied. And I was forgiven -- at least this time.

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