Monday morning as Leta and I were eating breakfast she happened to look up and see her yellow and white polka dot school bag sitting on the countertop:
I had packed it the night before and set it out so that we didn’t forget it on our way out, and when she saw it she froze and stopped chewing a mouthful of cereal. I could tell that she was trying to figure out her next move, and she glanced at me slowly to see if I had noticed the bag, too, like if she turned her head slowly enough she wouldn’t bring any attention to the fact that HOLY SHIT. THE SCHOOL BAG IS SITTING RIGHT THERE. And after quickly swallowing what was in her mouth she nervously said, “HA HA, I WANT TO WATCH DORA ON THE TV.” Like, hey Mom, look over there, because over here? There’s nothing to see over here. Certainly not a school bag. I don’t even know what you’re talking about.
I put my hand on her back and told her, no, we’re not going to watch Dora on the TV because you see that school bag? Sitting right there? It’s for school. And she was going to go to school this morning. And even though I said it very gently she totally lost it, started bawling right there into her Cheerios. So my brain instantly flipped through a rolodex of possible solutions, and I told her, hey, guess what? If she wanted to, she could take her big blue Dora book to school. And seriously? You would have thought that I just given her the good news that Dora now comes in a clear liquid that she can inject straight into her neck, because that kid’s eyes got so wide I thought her eyeballs were going to go PLUNK out of her head.
And ever since then she has loved going to school. That’s all it took. Done. Four straight days of not crying. I tell her it’s time to go to school and she screams I CAN TAKE MY DORA BOOK TO SCHOOL, and then when we drop her off she runs right in to share her treasure with all her new friends. It’s a total miracle, and I’m thinking of sending a letter to Dora myself to thank her, and it would say, dude, I don’t know how you did it, but I can’t thank you enough for rotting her brain and stealing her imagination! High five!