Today is Nigerian Independence Day.
We got a letter from school last week asking all children to wear traditional Nigerian clothes to school on Monday 30th.
I found some leftover (beautiful) fabric from a dress I had made a few years ago and called the tailor. He made shorts and a shirt for V to wear to nursery.
V tried it on. It fit. We were all excited about him dressing up on the 30th. Admittedly, I was a bit more excited than him.
Come Monday morning, the child refused to go to school. He was screaming and crying and kicking the dog while hanging off my leg. He just didn’t want to go to school. I gave him the option of choosing his own clothes, if it was the outfit that was bothering him – but that wasn’t it. I told him I’d come to nursery with him and stay there (I wouldn’t have, but I needed to get him there) – but that didn’t work. I told him we’d go to the nursery library and choose a book and come home. No.
He just didn’t want to go. I couldn’t work out why. He’s usually very happy to go in the morning. So what was different about today? I thought it might be a good idea to ask him! So I said, ‘V, why don’t you want to go to school?’ I had to ask him about five times before he calmed down enough to actually hear me. His response? He shrugged.
So he doesn’t want to go to school. But he doesn’t know why. There was no good reason for his tears.
I eventually (after an hour of crying) told him he could stay home if he wanted – but that everyone at home would be busy and no one would have time to talk or play with him. He got more upset. I explained to him that LagosDad was going to the office, I was going to do my exercise and that yaya (his nanny) would be busy ironing his clothes.
I thought that might convince him to go – but it didn’t.
I told him (repeatedly) that he had two choices. ’V, you have two choices. You can either go to nursery and play with your friends and have a lot of fun. Or you can stay at home and play by yourself and no one will talk to you.’ I showed him two fingers to indicate his two choices. He kept saying, ‘This one!’ and tried to pull up a third finger! Quite clever, I thought.
Anyway – so he stayed home. Everyone ignored him. And you know what? He didn’t care that no one would play with him.
I couldn’t force him to get dressed without one of us getting hurt. I got dressed myself and tried to leave the house, but he just kept hanging off my leg.
So now what do I do?
What did I do wrong? What should I have done differently?