Thursday, August 31, 2006

Today was NOT pajama day

Justice or mercy? Tough love or protection? What would you do?

Yesterday Kailey came home from school all excited because her class had won a pajama party. Apparently this is a pretty big deal for kids these days. I think it's just sheer laziness...kid rolls out of bed and right to school. But who am I to judge. Today was a half-day of school and I thought it would be a logical day to have a class pajama day. Still, I had my doubts. "Are you SURE today is pajama day?"

"Yes, Daddy."

Normally I would have dropped Kailey off at the gate, but I promised her that I would walk her into the schoolyard to watch her do a new move she had learned on the monkey bars. This actually worked out to her benefit. I parked the van and walked Kailey to her gate. The schoolyard bustled with kids eager to work out their last bits of energy before the bell rang and the school day began. Kailey ran over and put her backpack down, rejoined me and we made our way to the monkey where I prepared myself to be amazed by her acrobatic prowess.

As she climbed up on the bars and waited for her turn, I scanned the schoolyard. I couldn't find any other kids in pajamas. I looked back over at Kailey and found her talking to a boy on the monkey bars. She quickly descended the bars with a harried expression on her face. "Dad, today is NOT pajama's Friday." Right on cue, the bell rang and kids hurried to line up for the day.

What would you do in that situation?

I tried to get her to line up with her class with the promise that I would be right back with a change of clothes. Sheer terror danced in her eyes. I had to stifle the laughter building inside.

"But Dad, they'll think I'm stupid!"

Maybe then you'll pay attention to when freakin' pajama day is, I said to myself before assessing the situation. If I made her line up, she was primed to blow a gasket. Save face or perfect attendance? Public humiliation isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Plus, she'd never forgive me if I made her get into that line. Today, I chose to be cool Dad. I chose mercy.

We rushed home, changed her clothes, and rushed back to school where she received her first tardy slip (nobody really wants to have perfect attendance anyway). This afternoon we'll have a little chat about paying attention in class. Today I'll be cool Dad, but next time she'll spend the day in her pajamas!

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