About a year and a half ago Ruby asked for a school uniform.
She asked a few times.
She obviously really wanted one.
I hesitated a bit because our previous 6 months had been a bit tricky. Ruby, being the eldest child and having turned 5, had been through the barrage of tricky questions around school and attendance. She was dealing with her own feelings of being different from the majority of kids she knew and was also having to deal with people's honest confusion around the concept of not going to school.
Initially when she asked for a school uniform, I was a little worried that it was her way of telling me that she really did want to go to school but she felt too protective of me to say.
On talking it over with Ruby, she immediately lay my fears to rest.
"Oh no Mama, I really don't want to go to school. I just want to pretend I go to school."
Of course, a perfect solution to working through any issues with feeling different or left out.
By playing the role of the school girl, she would be able to play at what it feels like to be a school girl, enjoy wearing the costume and even have strangers think she is a school girl.
When she got tired of playing that game, she could then go home and do whatever she liked.
This was a early lesson in really listening to the girls' requests.
We went to our favourite op shop and bought her the first one we found.
She had fun with the uniform for a while.
It came out the other day. The first time in a long while.
She doesn't play school girls so much anymore.
These days she mostly likes playing herself.