* Fashion Crisis

Nobody warned me that 6-year old boys are prone to fashion crises, but that was the prelude to our day this morning. Hercules has recently decided that all of his shirts must either be black or have buttons. Ideally, they would meet both criteria, but he owns only one such shirt and his teacher has forbidden him to wear it to school anymore because the top button is halfway down his chest and it makes him look like a used car salesman. Well, that wasn't exactly her rationale, but I can read between the lines.

Today, unfortunately, all of his black and/or button-down shirts had already been worn. He tried to wear the same cammie t-shirt he had worn yesterday and to bed, but I shot down that option in the interest of hygiene. What do little boys care about hygiene? Hercules scoffs at hygiene!

He emerged from his room approximately 18 times with a diverse array of unacceptable wardrobe variations: dirty clothes, old black jeans with the knees blown out, no shirt at all, pajamas, or some combination of the above. Every time I sent him back into his room to try again he would moan in despair. O the injustice! Woe is Hercules!

Finally I had to choose a shirt for him, since he did manage to select a clean pair of jeans. He objected heartily to my choice, of course, and spent the rest of the morning muttering about how stupid he looked and how uncool that shirt was (which he has been wearing for months and has never objected to it before). I ignored his protests and prodded him to complete his morning preparations so we could make it out the door on time. Once we were in the car, I tried thanking him, telling him I knew he wasn't happy with his outfit but that I appreciated his cooperation (trying hard not to sound sarcastic but sincere). Alas, Hercules was not pacified and this just sent him on a diatribe about my oppressive fashion tyranny. So much for our reconciliation.

Nevertheless, by the time we arrived at school we were speaking civilly to each other and he seemed in good spirits when I left him at school. If he has a reasonably good day today I'll be taking him to the dreaded Burger King for dinner tonight. He's had a great week at school (for Rio) and I think he deserves a reward. I'm no longer such a stickler for perfection, I can overlook a couple of sad faces on his chart because we have seen a marked improvement over the previous weeks and I want to acknowledge that. He hasn't had to be sent to the focus room or the principal's office, he's earned the privilege of computer time and all recesses this week, and I haven't received a single phone call from the principal. Hey, that's something to celebrate!

I'm wondering if this recent success isn't related to the attitude of his teacher and principal. I suspect that perhaps they have relaxed their expectations now that they have gotten what they wanted: Hercules will be gone soon, out of their hair. They succeeding in building a massive case against him, now they just have to tolerate him for one more week. On his behavior chart his teacher makes little comments like:

"Rio couldn't sit still today, but he was cooperative"

"Rio was pretty wild today, but he responded well to redirection."

Personally, I could care less if Hercules sits still at school. I don't worry about him sitting still, I just don't want him to clobber, kick, or scream at anyone. That's something to worry about. A wild, wiggling Hercules is just fine with me.

I'll be so happy when we're both done with that school.


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