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1:43 p.m. - August 11, 2005
First Day of Preschool - Don't Believe the Hype, Sucka!
Well, THAT was anticlimactic.

It seems that every time I think that a life event is going to yield tension, drama, hijinx and low comedy, it turns out to be mundane.

This time, it was Katie’s first day of preschool.

I had a feeling that she’d be just fine going to preschool. She was in daycare from about the age of three months up until she turned three. At first, she went to a daycare/preschool near our house in Zionsville, and when that closed our next door neighbor had a home day care business so she just went over there. And instead of baby-sitting, it was fairly educational and Katie learned quite a bit at those places.

But this was a bit different. It was an actual school. She’s going to a Montessori program which I think is going to be great for her cognitive and social skills (though she’s such a social animal anyway). And ever since she visited the school last winter she was all excited about going to the program – and she even remembered the teacher’s name! The school started at a certain time and ended at a certain time – so we had to establish a routine in the morning. Her routine was normally to wake up at 7, bug me about watching Dora or Maisy until I ceded control of the TV to her, then go eat breakfast when Liz arises with Kristin.

(Of course, one day I saw that she had the remote and had not only turned on the TV, but somehow found Noggin on the dish and was watching that! I’m getting afraid that she’s going to start to build a secret lab in her room, like Dexter).

The day before, she went to an open house where they showed her the classroom. She got to pick out a cubby hole to put her stuff, and her own coat hook. She met all the teachers and got the general layout of the school so she was all set!

But you just never know about a 3 ½ year old. The other night Liz had to go get her hair cut and I had to put Katie to bed. She bawled for about 45 minutes after Liz left. But when Liz went to Indianapolis the other day Katie just barely said “bye, Mom”. So we didn’t know what the deal was going to be with her on this day.

All night I wondered about it – especially since I had a jam packed schedule. Liz and I had planned to walk together with Katie to preschool (it’s a whole three blocks away) and then I’d continue and walk to work, but then I rememberd I had two training classes scheduled that I was going to teach. So I really couldn’t dawdle or linger and had to drive to the preschool and make sure all the computers were set up for training.

Many of the signs were positive. (I think that many events during the day are signs or omens of things to come, for whatever stupid reason.) Katie went to be fairly easily last night. My softball team won a game in the city tourney, raising our record to a stellar 4-14 on the season. (I’d say it was brilliant in-game strategy from yours truly, but actually it was a couple of do-do head plays the other team made on the bases that won the game for us). Kristin also fell asleep at around 9:30 and slept until 4:00 (and then was back asleep by 4:30).

However, Katie woke up with a dream about being bitten by a spider. I also fell asleep in front of the computer, waking up at 2:00. I avoided keyboard face, so somehow I fell asleep sitting in the chair and didn’t slump down or over. Needless to say, my back is sore today. I was hoping that I was rested enough, and that Katie’s spider dream didn’t affect her much.

Katie was a little late getting up today – and she had to go downstairs and eat her Cheerios and banana with no time for TV. Then she had to get dressed and have her hair done. (We were taking pictures of her first day outfit for posterity. Why not?) I had to run to the office quickly to get started on my day, and I would meet Liz, Katie, and Kristin at the school.

I pulled into a parking space, and I saw them walking towards me almost immediately. Katie had on her backpack (Disney Princesses, but she still sings the Dora backpack song when she puts it on. Delicioso!) and was so happy and proud to be wearing it on her way to school. She ran up to me and gave me a hug. I took her hand and we walked to the doorway of the school.

There were some other children around with their parents – and I was about ready to give Katie the speech. You know the one: “Now, Katie, you be good today. Don’t worry, Mommy and Daddy love you very much and we will come back and get you when it’s time. So be brave big girl, and walk right in there, OK?”

I bent down to tell her that – and she looked up and saw one of the teachers. She immediately ran towards her – gave her a hug, and said “Bye, Dad! Bye Mom! Bye Kristin! Let’s go!” And she and the teacher walked through the doorway and down the stairs.

I was stunned. So was Liz. We kind of looked at each other like, “Now what? No teary goodbye scene? No anguished cries? No faces to wipe and noses to blow?” It was almost as if we were cheated, a bit. I wanted some angst!

So, on that note, Liz and Kristin went on a walk, and I went back to work and started setting up the training sessions.

About an hour ago, I got a call from Liz. The day went well – they had a nice stack, they went to the playground and some boy took her book. (I don’t think the book taking incident is going to be a federal crime. In fact, it may be the start of some sort of beautiful friendship!)

So for all the buildup in my head, there was nada. It was like opening Al Capone’s vault all over again. I guess I shouldn’t believe the hype, even if it was my own.


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