Letter to Makenna: First Day of Preschool

Dear Makenna,

Boy, have I got a surprise for you. In just a few months, you're going to have your very own live baby to play with! That's right! All yours.

DSC_0599Of course, we probably need to have a chat before you officially take over duties. I hesitate to bring this up, but you were a bit rough on McLovin yesterday... Remember what mommy taught you? That's right: A tail is not a leash. And giggling madly when he howls is NOT funny. We have to work on that.

You're already 2 1/2 years old. Mommy's head is doing a Linda Blair, just thinking about it. This has been such a big month for you: Sayonara to boobies (though you're still fighting this, despite their deflated and milk-free condition), your first day at preschool, your first poop in the punchbowl, panties that don't crinkle when you walk... Kid, you are growing up fast.

Mommy and Daddy were pretty surprised when we got the call from the preschool mid-semester . You were in! Some other kid moved away, and bingo! You'd be going to school in two weeks. Just like that. Oh, and did they mention to mommy and daddy that you needed to be potty-trained?

"Um, what?" I replied.

"Potty trained. She needs to be potty trained to go to preschool," says the school lady. "She IS potty trained, isn't she?"

"Heh, heh. Sure. Sure, she knows the potty," I say, bobbin' and weavin' and buyin' me some time. She knows what it is, I say to myself, and that means we've got two weeks to show her what it's for and to get her to use it. I'll roll the dice with that. She's a smart kid, after all.

Girl With OrangeAnd thus began the days of a bare-assed baby, chug-chug-chugging through the house, your accelerated crash course on the Proper Place for Poo-Poo and Pee-Pee beginning immediately. Out came the paper towels, bleach solution, Lysol spray cans, disinfecting wipes, upholstery cleaner, room deodorizer, rubber gloves and sponges - all within arm's reach of any single point in the living room. We rolled up the carpet and put it away for awhile, but stopped just short of newspapering the hardwood floors. We wouldn't want to traumatize you.

You were not entirely pleased with this new development. You repeatedly demanded pants in a stern voice, "Mommy? PANTS!" A fact for which I have to give you props. You're a girl who like things in their place, and your butt + air? Not a good combo in Mak world.

True to form, you nailed the pee thing right away. CHECK.

Poop? Well, that's a process, right? Lots of men I know are still having issues with this into middle age, so all in all, I'd say you're doing pretty well. It's taken a few weeks, but you're essentially skidmark free these days - a feat unmatched by many of the guys whose eyeballs are currently reading this letter. Good job, kid!

While gross in process, I have to say that despite the gagging, there turned out to be a pleasant side benefit to our hard-core, diaper-free, crash course in pottytraining: Now that it's done, our floors have never been more sparkling or hygenic. After the post-traumatic stresses of indoor land mines, mommy had a rubber glove and bleach bucket freakout, losing her mind Joan Crawford-style, scrubbing like mad on hands and knees... Guess you could call me anal, heh-heh! Get it? Anal! What? Oh. Yeah. No, trust me, it's funny. You'll get that joke in fifteen years.

First Day of School2So, sporting your spiffy new Elmo panties and NO DIAPERS beneath your pink velour pants and boatneck stripey first-day of preschool top, you and your entourage (mommy, daddy and more photographic hardware than either of us should admit to) were off. After many photos and much morning hullaballoo, we finally arrived at your first day of school: March 10, 2009. We had to be there at 8:40am to give you some time on the jungle gym to get acclimated with the other kids. Then some other kid self-importantly rang a cow bell at top volume and in we went to Room 4 to meet Miss Allie, your new teacher. 

It being Spring, your room is covered with bright construction paper murals of bugs and nature. There are reading areas with a huge furry purple beanbags and loads of picture books, art and puzzle areas, a preschooler-size bathroom that mommy couldn't get enough of ("Look! An itty bitty sink! It's a mini toilet! Everything is short and little! I'm Alice in Wonderland!"). You meanwhile, were clinging to mommy like a spidermonkey, peeking out at your new room behind finger-covered eyes. 

First Day of SchoolMiss. Allie greeted you in that magical way of preschool teachers who are good at their jobs - with some kind of sparkly 'Life is Wonderful!' fairy dust swirling around her head and promises of finger paints and good books and music and dancing implied but never spoken. You took right to her, moving into her arms for a hug, despite mommy and daddy turning to leave to "Go to the store - we'll be back soon!". You then gave Miss. Allie a kiss ("Aww! She's so sweet," said Miss. Allie, a bit prematurely), and then proceeded to yell in her ear, "Bye-bye! BYE-BYE! BYE-BYE!!!" as in "I said my goodbyes - now put me down, lady, I'm out of here!".

Howling, you wiggled in Miss. Allie's arms, screaming "NO! NO!", with your arms extended and big salty tears dripping as we walked away. You'd never been away from us or your grandparents in your whole life. It was a big step, being left with strangers, and those kinds of milestones never come easy, kid. Not for any of us.

Surprisingly, mommy didn't cry with you - a lot of people lost the betting pool on that one.

Instead, as I walked down that hallway holding hands with your dad, I felt a strange sense of pride, bordering on joy. I knew that within minutes you'd pull yourself together, stop crying, ask to be let down. And that you'd explore your new environment quietly, spend some time with yourself and adapt quickly before getting into the mix with the fun and puzzles and other kids. Because THAT IS WHAT YOU DO SO WELL. I was so proud of you, Makenna.

We received a thumbs-up report from Miss. Allie about you from that very first day. (Well, ok - you're not a big fan of sitting in the circle with the other kids, but I can't blame you - there's just so much stuff to do! Why sit there, people?!) 

But I knew it was all going to be juuuuuuuust fine, when, for the first time ever in your life, and in that very first week of preschool, you grabbed a drink out of my hands, looked me right in the eye and said ....


Oh yeah, kid. You're going to do great.

I love you, baby girl.







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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >