The Coat. Yes, it’s a big enough deal to write about. And yes, it’s a proper noun.
My daughter, now 4 years old, has always been on the petite side. She has usually worn clothes one size smaller than her age. So when the cold arrived this year, she was still wearing her size 3 winter coat. And she was fine with that. She had developed an attachment to it over the course of the previous cold season. And aside from the odd complaint when she had on a thick sweater, she was, in fact, quite taken with it. So much so that, when I realized that it was actually too small for her and mentioned that we should go shopping for a new winter coat, she became very distraught.
I took the I’m-the-mom-so-I-know-what’s-best-for-you approach and picked out a coat that I felt was warm, comfortable and attractive only to have the coat sit in a bag in the closet for two weeks. I tried every morning to put it on her. She flat out refused and left the house in her old coat.
Where once I heard complaints about how restrictive and tight the old coat was, now I heard only wonderful compliments about the too-small coat.
So, after two more weeks of the size 3 winter coat, I took the let’s-choose-a-coat-together approach. It worked (eventually). We wandered from store to store, trying on coats and debating the merits and disadvantages of every coat in a size 4 that the Greater Toronto Area had to offer. We came home empty-handed.
Soon after, we were running some errands at the local store and ran into a beautiful winter coat available in brown and dark pink. As luck would have it, in her size there was one brown coat and one pink coat. She tried the brown first and fell in love. Then she noticed the pink coat and swiftly ended the relationship with the brown coat. The pink coat it was. She tried it on and swooned as though she and The Coat were meant to be.
The zipper was a little sticky, but I thought, at this point, I’ll deal with it. The Coat fits the bill. Mother and daughter are happy.
She proudly showed off her new coat to anyone who came to visit. It was a match made in heaven.
And then she wore it to school.
She and her teacher had trouble with the zipper so they skipped it in favour of the snaps on the flap covering the zipper. That afternoon when I picked her up, her teacher mentioned the sticky zipper to me and suggested I exchange The Coat for another. I can’t recall a time in my life when my heart has fallen so quickly from my chest to stomach. I now know what “crestfallen” feels like.
How could I tell her teacher what we had been through to come to an agreement on that coat? How could I explain that there was no other coat with which to exchange it because it was the last one in her size? What was I going to do?
I was going to help her learn how to do that zipper up. There was a trick to it I had noticed when I zipped it up that morning. And if she could get the hang of that trick, her teacher would never have to help her and she would be free to wear the coat she so loved.
Alas, teaching my daughter that trick, especially after another adult had put it in her head that the zipper just doesn’t work, was a task that I apparently was not prepared for. My daughter’s response to my efforts? “I hate this coat! We have to get a new one! Why can’t I have the brown one?!”
Because my dear, sometimes life presents us with challenges and we must make the best of them. We must hold our chins high and zip up our coats to go forth in the cold and say that we succeeded!
She wore The Coat to school today. 😉