The little princess has had her share of drama this week, giving us an early preview of the adolescence we hope we’ll never see.
This afternoon’s Greek tragedy involved Katelyn’s leotard for gymnastics. As she’s shown us that she wants to stick with this discipline (as opposed to her time in Dance Class—another subject), if you know my wife, you’ll realize how important the “cuteness” component happens to be in terms of what our daughter wears to her extracurricular activities. As a result, we’ve begun to replace her t-shirt/short combo with more leotards. And after a family friend gifted us leotards her kindergarten daughter has outgrown, Katelyn has more choices in terms of what she can wear to gymnastics class.
As I left the house this morning, Kate had three choices as what she could wear. Tuesday happened to have her in a leotard covered in pink and purple hearts, and given how many compliments her coaches gave her, I was not surprised when she asked to wear that leotard again when the time came to change her clothes in the preschool bathroom. Except that wasn’t one that I had packed. Now the duel began. I pulled out a plain blue one that Kate initially rejected followed by a black one, with the letters ‘USA’ in the front of the outfit. Kate couldn’t make up her mind immediately, and then, blurted out she wanted the black one after all.
And then she didn’t. Except that I was already putting it on her. As that was happening, she was now taking it off. Now it got comical:
“I DON’T WANT TO WEAR SOMETHING WITH USC ON IT!”
“Um, I would NEVER put you in something with USC on it! It says USA!”
This argument thread went back and forth for about a minute.
By now Katelyn was out and out bawling as we came out of the bathroom and moved towards the main preschool room and the exit. I was gambling that compliments from people other than me would win the day. There were a few people milling about the student signature check out as we walked. All of them noticed Katelyn melting down.
One parent, with their own preschooler, tried to intervene and pump up the USA leotard. She shared with Kate that she had a USA shirt, as did her daughter, Kate’s classmate. No luck, Katelyn was fixated on the blue outfit that was still in my bag. Kate’s preschool teacher also tried to step in. (Side note: Katelyn’s preschool teacher is a “Bear-ent”, i.e. her son is a sophomore at Cal.) Both the mom and Ms. O both laughed when I relayed to them that Katelyn was under the misimpression that her leotard said “USC”. Still, no luck. Even while she was crying, at least Katelyn was walking with me, and we moved to the preschool lobby door. Meeting us there was the preschool director, who had been hearing Kate’s screams when she was in the bathroom. Ms. O also followed behind.
“Katelyn, calm down, tell me what’s wrong…”
“Daddy is making me wear this and it says USC on it! (complete with sobs)”
“No Katelyn, it doesn’t. You know your letters, it says USA…”
Ms. O, standing at the preschool lobby’s dutch door agrees, “I guess we’re going to work some more on our ABCs next week…”
“But I don’t want to wear this…”
“Katelyn, do you know what the USA is, it’s where you live. You know that Daddy would only put you in clothes that say ‘UCLA’!”
Ms. O (loyal Cal mom that she is) and I, simultaneously: “HEY!”
“(toward us) You’re right, sorry. (to Katelyn) Daddy would only put you in things that say ‘UC Berkeley’…”
“But, Mrs. V…”
“Katelyn, you go and have a good gymnastics class, and a good weekend, OK?”
Kate and I finally move out the front door towards my SUV. I am promising her that we can get her favorite pizza for dinner. Kate still remains crying as we walk, finally blurting out that she “HATES the USA!”
Mrs. V has followed us out, ostensibly because she had a errand to run at the school’s administration building. She catches up to us at the chain link fence as I prepare to put Katelyn into her car seat.
“Hector, tell Amber that IS a cute leotard.”
“Well Mrs. V., some would say that Kate IS ready to go to Berkeley…she just told me she hates the USA!”