On Mimi’s first day of “school” ( a one morning a week program for two year olds at a local church), I fully expected her to saunter up to the front door and kick it open with her purple sparkly sneakers. She’d throw her little hands up in the air and announce “Yo, bitches. I’m here!” And as if on cue, the tiny tikes in her classroom would create a tunnel, much like on Soul Train, which Mimi would dance through and high-five each classmate as she passed them. She would end this elaborate entrance with some sort of split. Probably with jazz hands… Maybe even glitter…
Yes, friends, this is what I expected and while I should have been surprised and shocked that my two year old was using the term “bitches” and using it in the correct context, what really happened knocked my socks off.
Miss Independent, Miss Self-Sufficient, Miss I-Will-Take-On-Any-Slide-At-The-Playground is going to rule that school….until she totally didn’t. The second we pulled into the parking lot she tried to everything to get the hell out of there. “Mimi go home with Mommy?” “Let’s call Daddy and go home?” “No school! No SCHOOL!”
“Come on, honey,” I told her “You are going to love school!” But the no school chant turned into sobs as I walked her down the hallway to her classroom. You would have thought I was walking her down the Green Mile not to a toy filled room with cookies and new friends. The teachers were able to distract her long enough for me to book it out the door; however, I bombarded the director by giving her every piece of contact info possible (for real, she wasn’t going to tweet me “come get your kid #sobbing”, but I just wanted to cover all of our bases). Sure enough, the call came: Mimi was still sobbing and wanted Mommy.
Rushing into the classroom, I scooped up a red eyed, snotty, sobbing Mimi and covered her with kisses and hugs. Feeling like the worst mother ever, I searched for the nearest blunt object to dig out my own heart. “Bring her back next week,” her teacher whispered. “We’ll try it again but maybe a shorter day.”
Grandmothers are always the worst to call in these sorts of situations.
Mom: “Oh well, guess we can try again next year.”
Me: “Next year? How about next week? We have to try again.
Mom: “Really? Well if that’s what you think is best.”
Me: (Takes a deep breath—remembers she is taking my family to Disney) “OK, Mom. Thanks for the talk”
My husband was no better. After convincing him that we needed to give it another try, I asked him to give Mimi a pep talk about school for next week. Clearly I confused him with my use of “pep” talk because he re-watched a few poignant coach to player speeches from Friday Night Lights. My concerns were validated when I eavesdropped happened upon their conversation and heard Mimi exclaim “Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose!”
The next week at school her new chant was “No crying at school” and “Mommy always comes back,” but this drop off was even worse. I think she may have yelled out “Traitor!” at one point. However, the teachers assured me the minute she hit the playground she was a happy lady.
If nothing else, I will think of this moment in retrospect, probably when she is 16, rolling her eyes at me, trying to wear inappropriate skirts that will reveal her who-ha with one wrong move and saying things like “You just don’t get it, Mom.” Instead of dragging her inside the house by her ponytail, I will remind her of the days she loved me, and missed me, and didn’t want to go to school because she couldn’t see me. Then I’ll burn that short skirt, drink wine straight out of the bottle, and wait for her to get out of her teens and become a Mamma’s girl again.