Although Medieval Day is supposed to be an exciting event for the kids, it was the cause of one of the low points in my parenting career. Let me explain.
I first learned that Medieval Day would occur on September 4th the night before the boy and I were scheduled to fly to New York. That meant we would only have three days to prepare when we got home. I knew the boy would want to pick out his costume himself, but he would be bogged down beneath a pile of make-up work.
I decided that my best option would be to go on line and locate several medieval themed costumes that would work. Despite my efforts, the boy refused to pick one that he liked. Not to be deterred, I tried again the first night we were in New York. I told the boy that there was still time to order something and have it shipped to the house. Again he declined.
I became slightly frustrated, but decided that I would worry about finding a costume once we returned home.
The week proved to be quite hectic, so our shopping trip was put off until Thursday night, the eve of Medieval Day. We decided to head out once the boy got home from school. Our first stop was a local store that has a fairly good selection of costumes.
Before we got out of the car, I told the boy that we needed to make a quick decision. That he needed to lower his expectations and simply find something that would be suitable. I still had to fix dinner and bake a pan of gingerbread, my contribution to the medieval feast. He a packet of make-up work and a medieval crest to complete.
It was a good idea in theory.
Things went fairly well, at first. We made a quick pass through the store and located every medieval themed item in stock. The boy tried on a few thing, but quickly became upset that he couldn't find the perfect outfit.
I gently tried to encourage him to make a decision. Before I knew it, he had spiraled into the depths of despair. He began lamenting the fact that he opted not to order one of the "really cool costumes" we saw on line. He was convinced he was going to look horrible.
Trying to hold things together, I assured him that he would look wonderful and asked him one final time to pick something. Our quick trip had stretched into nearly two hours. My patience was wearing thin and the boy was becoming inconsolable.
Realizing that the boy's emotions were dangling dangerously close the edge of a cliff, I informed the boy that I would now be selecting his costume. I'm sure you can imagine how well that went over. I purchased a grim reaper hood that I knew could be modified into a sort-of chain mail hood. We then headed to the fabric store where I purchased a few yards of black felt so that I could make a tunic.
We made it home at seven o'clock, three hours after we had originally set out on our quest. The boy started working on his mountain of homework while I fixed him something to eat. Peace had returned to our kingdom. Little did I know that it was merely the calm before the storm.
I got to work on the tunic, which I cut from the black felt. At the boys request, I cut out a red shield and a white cross to embellish the front. I even made him some faux boots that would snap over his pant legs and cover the tops of his shoes.
Once I had finished modifying the grim reaper hood, the boy tried on his costume. He seemed perfectly happy with the end result and then settled down to finish his work.
When it came time for the boy to head to bed, things began to go horribly wrong. He became convinced that everyone would laugh at him and frustrated with himself for not ordering something the week before. I tried to console him, but it was no use. Exhaustion had set in and the child was irrational.
It was then that it happened. The boy told me that it was my fault that he didn't have the costume of his dreams. That had I allowed him to order a real suit of armor, none of this would have happened. That I didn't care about him or his feelings and was a terrible Mom.
It is entirely possible that at this moment steam may have shot out of my ears as my head spun around. I whipped around and told the boy that I was done with his bad attitude, that he needed to stop immediately or he could go to school naked, that if he uttered one more word, he would find himself sitting in his bed indefinitely. By the end of my rant, I was shouting.
As quickly as it happened, my anger subsided. I told the boy how sorry I was for yelling, how very much I loved him and that he was going to look wonderful at Medieval Day. I snuggled close to him in bed while he fell asleep.
The next morning, the boy woke in a great mood. He quickly ate breakfast, showered and got dressed in his costume. Needless to say, I was relieved. About five minutes before we were going to leave for school, the boy became agitated again.
During the drive to school, he fussed and yanked off various parts of his costume. As I pulled up to the school, I found myself yelling, "Son, stop this now! Medieval Day is supposed to be fun! Now put on your costume and get out of the car!"
If that's not being a champion of fun, I don't know what is.
Needless to say I was feeling pretty low on my drive home. I hate yelling at the boy. While maybe justified, I certainly believe there are infinitely better ways to deal with a trying situation. I vowed to make thing right when I saw the boy at the medieval feast.
Our relationship was restored. I was able to enjoy the many medieval activities and the feast. We then made our way to the grove of trees outside for the marketplace.
Each student spread out a towel on which to display their wares, which were mainly small toys, gum, candy or books. One class at a time was allowed to stroll through the market and trade their items for those "for sale" by the other students.
As each class went shopping, the other students proceeded to shout in an effort to draw visitors to their shop. My boy resorted to screaming into a cardboard tube to magnify his already loud voice. It was hilarious.
Despite the rocky start, Medieval Day ended up being a big hit with the boy. It was a great way to finish up another week of third grade.
In case you are wondering, things are still nice and peaceful here at the Ha house, and I am determined that it will stay that way. All that head spinning really gave me a crick in my neck and the smoke did terrible things to my hair.