So I packed her lunch (and then ruined her life)
It's back to school, which means back to busy mornings, back to endless filling out of forms, back to navigating the murky waters of tiny grade school friendships.
And back to packing lunches.
When Mads started Kindergarten last year I was dead set on being the mom who packs the cool school lunches. I'm not quite sure why, seeing as I can barely manage to be the mom who doesn't have her T-shirt on backwards, but for whatever reason this was my goal.
Mommy? Mom? Mom? Mama? Mommy? Mom?
I could tell you all about life with baby A. these days, I could tell you stories of playgrounds (fun), potty training (not happening) and Yo Gabba Gabba marathons (I have DJ Lance nightmares). Or I could just show you what it's like, really give you a chance to walk 30 thrilling seconds in my $4 flip flops.
Brace yourselves for the ride of your life...
At home, in the car, at the mall, at the park, from her crib, over dinner, in the bath, in my dreams. It never stops.
When toddlers attack: What would you do?
We're at the play place at the mall, A and I. Well, A and I and about a dozen other moms who dragged their kids out with the same rainy day sanity-saving idea.
After saying hi to the slide, tunnel and carpet (I mean that literally, she wanders up to every inanimate object, crouches down and shouts, "Hi!" like it's an old college roomate), A spots the climb-in car 10 feet away. She bolts over and swings a tiny thigh over the edge, grunting gracefully as she hauls herself in.
This car already has a driver, though: A 2-year-old girl with rosy cheeks and big, brown eyes.
Happy birthday, Mads!
Well, at first it creeps. Up every few hours, staring at the same four walls, listening to that same tiny wail. Day into night and then back into day again. At first It's painfully slow.
And then somewhere along the way things start to pick up and suddenly she's walking! And talking. And talking back. The first playdate rolls into the first day of preschool and then on into kindergarten and before you know it she's asking, When can I walk to school with my friends? Meaning, without you.
And suddenly she's 6, my sweet baby girl who turned everything upside down and inside out. But before too long we found our course and it's been heartbreakingly beautiful ever since.
So happy 6th birthday to the little girl who slipped into our world with her big, brown eyes and big, huge heart and somehow managed to make everything even better than it was before.
I adore you. xo
She lost a tooth... & I can't find it
Mads has lost her first tooth.
When I say that she lost it, I mean that literally. It fell out sometime yesterday and we haven't been able to find it, which is very typical of us. We lose everything: School lunch forms, library books, even wedding rings from time to time. Why should a tooth be any different?
It all started a couple of weeks ago when she met me at the door as I got home from work: "I have a surprise!" she announced, bouncing up and down. I assumed it was a drawing from the dozens she churns out each day: Hearts and rainbows and traffic lights are her specialty at the moment. Instead she jutted out her jaw and wiggled her bottom teeth with a fingertip. "I have two loose teeth!"
She go crazy
It's probably a good thing that toddler-dom is a relatively short phase, because society as we know it likely wouldn't survive if it stretched on much longer. I know I wouldn't survive.
Like a lot of almost 2-year-olds, A. operates on a switch: She's either the cutest, fuzziest little peach of a person you've ever met in your whole, entire life or she's a complete raving lunatic. You never know what you're going to get. She comes weaving her way toward me across the kitchen floor and I brace myself, not sure if she's going to wrap my legs in a bear hug or bite a chunk out of my thigh.
It seems sort of impossible that A. and Mads share the same gene pool. But, having not quite managed to mentally block out that whole childbirth thing, I have it on fairly good authority that they do. They're just about the spitting image of one another, but beyond that they're as different as night and day.
Is it summer yet?
Amelia. Good lord. I love that girl to bits, but she's one of those kids who always has something going on. She's always teething or has a strange rash or a bad cough, always dripping and drooling and itching. "Oww, Mama," she whimpers, scratching at her tummy or pulling on her ear. Heartbreaking. She does her best, poor thing, but it must be awful to always feel kind of awful.
Add to this the fact that Mads now goes to that cesspool of germs down the street school every day and it's safe to say that this has been The Winter From Hell.
It started in September when she brought home the gift of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease from her kindergarten class. She had a fever for a day and then bounced back. Amelia was out of commission for almost 2 weeks. And if you haven't yet had the pleasure, take my word for it that Hand, Foot and Mouth disease is every bit as disgusting as it sounds.
Mads has been whimpering her way through some growing pains these days - not the emotional kind, though there've been a few of those as well. But the physical ones, aches that settle into her limbs at night. I remember having them myself as a kid and they're awful. It's an afflication of the soon-to-be tall.
"You know why my legs hurt, right?" she said last night, ice pack against her hamstrings. "Because I'm growing now."
"Your legs used to hurt too, right?" she asked. She loves it when she finds similarities between us: You used to like Strawberry Shortcake too, right? You used to wear pink too, right? You used to fall down too, right? It's a phase I know will pass too soon. But as for the growing pains, I told her that yes, I did have them.
Kindergarten is killing me
My memories of my own first year of school are pretty hazy at this point. I seem to recall some finger-painting, show-and-tell, a shoebox full of finger puppets. I don't recall it being an emotional minefield, which is what the past two months have been for poor Mads. Though I thought it was a crazy person's venture to this point, I'm almost starting to see the allure of homeschooling. Almost.
I understand that this is the real world and she's going to have to learn to live in it... but not yet. She's still too little to be outside of our happy bubble, my tiny girl with her big eyes and big heart. Her skin is just too paper-thin to withstand betrayals and bullies, no matter how small. And I know that she probably needs to toughen up, but not yet and not like this, a new wound and new callous every time she's cast aside.
I spent last night, the night before Mads' very first day of kindergarten, poring over old photographs. I meant to be in bed by 10:30, but it was almost midnight by the time I finally dragged myself away, wiping tears aside with the back of my hand.
I really didn't think it would be this hard. After all, I've been desperate for her to get to this point. I just wanted her to be a little bit older, a little bit more independent, a little bit less... turbulent. And now we're here and I suddenly just want it all to stop. I know the day will come when she won't want to curl herself against me on the couch, when she won't need me to tuck her in, to count stars in the summer sky, to play pirates or princess or "homeless girl" (it's a new one... don't ask). I just don't want it to come too fast.