The only part I could remedy right away was the stuffed animal. So on Wednesday (the kids don't have school) we made a special trip to the store so Ellie could get a new stuffed animal. Meet bear-y.
Thursday morning Ellie went back to school with Bear-y. Tears the whole walk to school. I might have caved and let Ellie stay home but I had a miserable cold. When I picked Ellie up Thursday afternoon, her teacher said she had a better day.
Friday morning, once again, more tears. When I picked up Ellie on Friday she was all smiles and told me she had a good day.
So for the moment we have tears in the morning and a smile in the afternoon. That is how it is working for now.