Yesterday my baby girl went to her first day at school. Sure, it's a Montessori school, but it's the closest she's come yet to any type of formal education or, as we call it, daycare. The fee to get into this institution is steep, steeper than what we were paying her sitter on The Island, but it isn't just the money that's on my mind, it's the gear she has to pack in to her new wilderness. It's the confusing amount of ... stuff she needs to attend this school. She had to take crib sheets, blankets, a jacket that stays there, a hairbrush, a toothbrush, four changes of clothes and three pairs of shoes, among so much else. That doesn't even include the cloth diapers we don't have yet. Cloth diapers, I don't even know where to begin. Apparently, though, sometime in the 1950s with a giant safety pin and clothesline would be a good beginning point.
She did well yesterday, walking around and playing while I was still there before getting upset as I went to leave. The teachers told Big Mama when she picked her up that she did great the rest of the day, though, which I knew she would. This morning she was excited and happy up until we walked into her room and then she lost it, again, as I knew she would. The first thing to be done was to change from her sneakers, or "outside shoes," to her softer "indoor shoes." She has three pairs of shoes at the school, which is one more pair than I own. I just hope they all match the four outfits she has. I'm not sure if she's going to daycare or if she's involved in a Cher concert. The teacher spoke to a crying GK in soothing Montessori-ese while I sat there holding her and thinking "Take this child from me and calm her so I can leave!" A mom who was in there assured me that "it will get easier" to which I thought-replied "This is my fourth child, lady, and you know what? It doesn't get easier." I've dropped these kids off at every daycare, sitter and school they've ever attended every morning of their lives and they cry almost all the time and it's never easier. I know they're fine as soon as I walk out of the door, but that doesn't make it easier. I'm leaving my offspring with strangers and they're not happy about it. And I'm not either. JP, just last week, in his sixth year of life and third month of first grade started crying in the mornings out of nowhere. What the hell is so easy about that?
I know GK will get used to the new morning routine. I know that she'll make some little friends and get to know her caretakers and that the Montessori Kool-Aid will go down nice and smoothly, but that doesn't really get me through the day when the first thing in the morning I'm leaving a tear-streaked, seemingly inconsolable child behind. Again.