I recently went back to work, and Shorty went to preschool for the first time. Big step. Needless to say it was quite an adjustment for all three of us, including my husband. Now we do the get up, get washed, get dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed then shuttle-the-kid-to-school-and-get-to-work-on-time bit.
On Shorty's first day of school both my husband and I dropped her off, like a rite of passage I guess. As expected, she went off and played with other kids right away and had to be called back so we can get a goodbye kiss. Shorty made it easy for me. No tears there, no tears here. I have such a cool little kid; I am the world's greatest mother.
By the second week however, the novelty had faded. She realized it wasn't a field trip. Shorty had resorted to bringing her bed buddy, a now not-so-white and black panda, to school with her. Upon drop-off, she would just stand there holding Happy Pandy.(I did not name said panda.)
Come third week, Shorty would not unclick her seat belt and had to be carried in. "Why do I have to go to school?" she asked. "So you can go to college and get a job like me," I answered cheerily. I wanted to add, 'and leave your child at daycare, so you can earn money, so you can pay for daycare and buy work clothes, both of which you wouldn't need if you weren't working,' but I didn't. She was, by then, full-on bawling and clung to me like a monkey to its hairy mother's chest, not that I'm hairy, especially in the chest.
One crazy morning, Shorty threw a tantrum the size of Texas because she didn't like her outfit. I finally got her and myself ready, threw our stuff in the car then went back in to corral the dogs into the laundry where they usually stay while we're out. I had to search for the Pug who wouldn't come when called because he is fourteen and deaf as a door knob. Then the Boston Terrier was nowhere to be found. Did he get left out in the hot sun? Did he fall in the pool? I was a ball of nerves. I hooted and hollered, searched in closets, under beds, in laundry baskets, and every corner of the backyard. I even checked the car. Surprise, surprise; there he was. He had slipped in while I loaded our stuff in the car and was now looking at me like I was nuts for leaving him in that laundry room all day long.
At school, Shorty refused to get out and said, "My teacher said when I'm big, big girl I don't have to come to this school. I'm big, big now, see?" she said stretching up to touch the car's ceiling. I told her some lie about her having to wait in the car for eight hours if she came to work with me. She hopped to, but cried all the way to her classroom saying, "I'm ready for college now." Well, I'm not. Mom and Dad need to get your 529 started which won't happen if I showed up late for work, then I'll get written up, then I'll get fired so I really need to leave in five minutes. As soon as I pried her off me outside the classroom door, she bolted back down the hall toward the exit. Try running after a toddler when you haven't worn heels in three years. Those shoes look great, but they don't corner well. Anyway, I left her crying while her teacher had her in a bear hug. Breaks my heart every time, but when I go to pick her up, she's having so much fun she doesn't want to leave.
Week 4. She's getting better. Each morning though, I still have to lie through my teeth, "School is so much fun," when all I really want to say is "Sorry Shorty, school's going to suck for a while," And she's barely started.
*The title is inspired by Dr. Spencer Johnson's book "Who Moved My Cheese?"