This was it. Today was W’s first day of school ever. Sure there will be other school firsts to document with great enthusiasm, but there is only one first. And oh my goodness it was TODAY!!

The morning started off with a battle over Nine. W really, really wanted to take the stuffed dog to school but I held firm that Nine should stay at home and wait for us to return. This meant that W was utterly flopsy when it came time to getting dressed. Whenever I thwart a master plan my punishment is noodle toddler and it’s brutal. A five minute job of getting dressed took us nearly twenty minutes and I worried that we would be late and miss the sign in time.

Moods changed once W realized that he could wear his backpack. He no longer calls it a purse. Instead it is a “back-quack”. Obviously. He seemed intuitively to know how to put it on and it was such a sight to see him standing by the door, ready to go, with his corduroy jacket and blue and red back-quack on. He was ready to go, go, go, go, go! Oh my heart.

The car ride was silly with us singing and talking about trucks. When we made the turn into his school he got really excited and called out, “cool! cool!” So the weekend playground visit had paid off. We went to the front office and I got his security pass to the classroom so I could take him there first and then come back and drop off paperwork.

When he saw other kids in the room he wiggled out of my hip hold and joined in. He then went directly to the indoor slide, backpack and all! His teacher went over what he was arriving with and verified that he didn’t have any allergies and that he was in diapers. We stood there watching W for a beat and then she turned to me and said, “I think it’s good for you to go.” Not harshly, just observing that W was swept away in the newness of things and a swift getaway might be best.

I headed back to the front office and paid for the week and turned in all the paperwork. And that was that.

Next stop for me was a nearby big chain coffeehouse place with free wifi and I was able to find a little back table with my very own electrical outlet and did nonstop work on projects for almost three hours. It was luxurious and wonderful and it actually felt so so nice to just be OUT of the house and with people, but alone. It was recharching in a way that going out with W often is, well, not.

And so now I get it- as much as the names of some of these kinds of programs suck (“Mommy’s day out” – blech!) it is just as enriching for the parent as it can be for the child. It isn’t a “day out” it’s a few hours of self. Respite.

When I went to pick him up I did have a bit of a cry when my GPS announced that we were “arriving at W’s School”. It just, wow, I mean he’s my baby!! So bit of a waterworks moment there. I quickly composed myself and headed down the hallway to hear his teacher say, “I know your Mama will be here soon, W!” And then suddenly I was there and it was MAGIC! He was concerned when other kids were leaving with their parental modules and he was not (yet). Now I know to be on the early side thursday.

His teacher said that he cried for a respectable 5-7 minutes once he realized that I was gone, but after that all was well. He played well, had a great snack, and seemed to do just fine with the other kids in the program. W seemed happy to see me but wasn’t bucking to escape the place- which was good. He gave all the teachers air kisses and they cooed back at him. So he’s got this school thing down.

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