We were running late for school and had all gotten into the car. "Wait!" said D. "can I go up and get my ball."
"No," I said, "I'm sorry but we're running late. Next time."
D. went ballistic. As we pulled out of the parking lot, he started kicking the seats and screaming "Let me just go get the ball. It will only take a minute. Please!"
I didn't relent and we drove off to school. He called up along the way and got out of the car and went into school.
Later I told my wife about his reaction. "The ball has become his new ticket for socializing at recess," she explained, "when he brings the ball to school then he is the center of attention. He gets to organize the games that they play with the ball and he feels important socially. That's why it was so dear to him to bring the ball."
I made sure that he brought his ball every day after that.