Sending your baby to kindergarten can be rough for parents. But not for dinosaurs. So a mom from Michigan channeled the thick-skinned creatures the morning she sent her daughter off on her first day of kindergarten.
This past Tuesday, Lori Ferrall donned a full T. rex costume as she put her daughter Molly on the school bus. “I did it mainly to entertain her,” Ferrall tells Yahoo Style. But it also helped the mom of three to curb her own emotions. “I thought for sure I was going to cry. I’m not one to really cry, but I know how fast they grow up. I try to take every moment I can before it goes by fast.” So, she masked her emotions, literally, and suited up in an oversized head-to-toe blowup dinosaur suit and stomped her daughter down the driveway.
Why a dinosaur and not a more soothing animal like a bunny? Because Molly is actually a pint-sized paleontologist. “She is so much in love with dinosaurs that I seem to always find ways to make her extra-excited about things with it. It definitely was there to help me mask my emotions. We are a free-spirited family, so goofing off is in our nature,” Ferrall says.
The family bought the costume on Amazon for about $100, and it’s come in handy more than once. She wore it for 30 minutes during her other daughter’s field day, which was entertaining for the students but tough physically.
That suit can be pretty uncomfortable — Ferrall said that when it’s hot outside, “it feels like a sauna, so sometimes I’ll put a tiny water bottle in with me to help cool off.” Ferrall says the heat was worth it for Molly’s response. “You know when a baby has that adorable cute belly laugh? It was like that with a smile that was ear to ear. It just melts your heart,” Ferrall says of Molly’s reaction to seeing her mom in the suit that morning. “She told me it was so awesome and then the next day didn’t understand why I wasn’t dressed up in the costume again. I think she wanted me to wear it every day for her.”
Ferrall told a local news station that she waved at the cars driving by, hoping that she would cheer up other families experiencing similar emotions.
“I didn’t want to focus on the ‘Oh my gosh, she’s leaving,’” says Ferrall. “It’s ‘I’m going to make this fun. I’m gonna make her remember and have a story.’”
The distraction of the costume did the trick and helped Ferrall hold back her tears. “I was by my husband, so I tried to act tough, but when I went to her school to meet her at her classroom for a picture there — not in the dinosaur suit — I really held back the tears then.”
The look also helped quell Molly’s nerves: “I would say it helped her if there were any jitters.” But Molly’s a bit tougher than her emotional mom. “She didn’t seem nervous because of going to preschool a couple days for two years. A week before, she told me, ‘I don’t want to leave you and go to kindergarten. I don’t want to be a kid anymore. I just want to be an adult like you. I just need a doughnut!’ The things she says always crack me up.”
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