HM, my almost four year old, is a clever girl. I’ve always known that.
For the past few weeks, she has refused to go to preschool. (BTW–if you haven’t read my biog, HM stands for high maintenance or her majesty, both are relevant).
This has been going on since Scottish Grandma’s visit, which ended last Thursday. Scottish Grandma, whom is nearly 80, is a saint and spends hours with HM — drawing pictures of butterflies, reading “Princess Poppy” on repeat, or re-arranging the doll house furniture for the hundredth time.
HM was so absorbed in Scottish Grandma’s attention, that she declared she was spending the rest of the day with Scottish Grandma and was not going to her three hour preschool session. (Keep in mind that Scottish Grandma comes down often and was staying with us for three weeks.)
HM told me this just as we walked into school and I had 15 minutes to rush home for a conference call. To extricate myself, I had to resort to bribery, and (stupidly) offered her a lollipop on my return.
Back to this morning — after Alexandra emptied her half digested breakfast on to the sofa and Emily hid the hairbrush in an attempt to escape the daily grooming torture — we finally made off for school.
The walk to school was fine, but as soon as HM saw the school gate, she started her protest.
“I don’t want to go to school mummy.”
My body tensed. I knew what was coming.
“I know you don’t sweetie, but today is a school day.”
“I don’t like school mummy.”
“Why sweetie?” (it occurs to me maybe I should explore this further.)
“I want to stay home with you mummy.”
“Mummy’s not at home today, sweetie.” I catch the eye of a fellow mum, she gives me a “been there smile” and I feel myself begin to glow with guilt.
When I tell her she IS going to school, HM jumps out of the push chair and bolts to the gate with the determination of a prison escapee.
I struggle to catch her, and as I try to pick her up, she arches her back and screams at the top of her lungs: “I DON’T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL MUMMY!” Tears run down her face.
It’s just a few minutes before school starts, and most of the mums are crowded in the waiting area, eagerly awaiting my response.
I whisper very softly in her ear, “I’ll bring you a lollipop when I pick you up.”
It was like I had flipped THE HAPPY CHILD SWITCH.
I’d like two please,” she said with a smug smile.
Photo credit: Keynote