If my post last night, written after the kids were tucked safely (and quietly!) into bed, was nostalgic and sentimental, this morning was the exact opposite. There was a lunch to pack - tuna or cheese? But no Miracle Whip. There was breakfast for two preschoolers and a baby intent on feeding herself her oatmeal. There was hair to brush, outfits to don, shoes to tie.
I knew my stress had gotten to be too much when I decided to try and get all three girls in one picture out front (yes, I am crazy) and wound up hollering at the baby because she wouldn't keep her cute knit hat on. Yes. You read that right. I yelled (well, not really yelled, but you know what I mean) at a baby. For not keeping a stupid hat on her head. I may also have expressed my frustration at Anna for looking everywhere but the camera and saying "cheese" but somehow managing to not smile whilst doing so. I wound up apologizing to them all as I buckled them into their respective car seats. Anna and Mary said "that's ok." Lily looked on with a blank expression, because, of course, she had no idea why I was apologizing. Which is why it's stupid to be annoyed at her for ripping off her hat in the first place.
I'll admit it, I was nervous. Not for Mary. Mary's a rockstar. I knew she'd be great. (And sure enough, when it came time to say the final goodbye and walk out of the school, she practically shoved me out the door, giving my a glancing hug while eying the giant play house area. But I'm getting ahead of myself.) No, I was nervous because the parents' informational night the week before had showed me that the vast, vast majority of the parents sending their children to this particular school had Their Stuff Together. Good outfits, expensive (and probably immaculate) cars, perfect hair and makeup (mothers only). Since I seem to exist in a perpetual state of Whirling Dervish, this disparity concerned me. I didn't want Mary to be The Girl With No Playdates because her mother was a little on the nutty side of ADD.
We arrived about five minutes early, along with most of the other parents. However, the school is very strict about its start time and we were not permitted out of the cubby room and into the school until exactly start time.
"Mommy, can we go outside?"
"Not right now Anna."
"But I want to go on the playground. Please? I asked nicely!"
"No, honey, not today."
"Can I stay and play with Mary?"
"No, baby, you don't go to school here," I said.
"Next year!" said a parent, trying to be encouraging. I didn't have the heart to tell her my July baby would not be taking an extra year of preschool and would therefore likely stay right where she is now until kindergarten.
Mary was talking everyone's ear off, getting to know her classmates, and I saw the room mother and her son approaching.
Now, I don't know this woman from a hole in the ground and I'm sure she's very nice. But it was 8 a.m. and she was dressed perfectly. My feeble attempts at fashion at the crack of dawn paled in comparison. Also, I had heard she had volunteered to be Room Mother, which meant she was some combination of highly motivated, organized, and possibly completely crazy. I stood up straight. I willed Mary to be polite.
Her son walked into the cubby room, dressed like all the other little boys in a polo shirt and, I think, shorts. His hair was done in one of those adorable faux hawks that I would so inflict on an imaginary son. Heck, I'd give one to Anna if I thought she'd comply.
Speaking of Anna.
"Hey!" she said, noticing the boy, who had just walked in and noticed an entire room full of people. "I see a shark!!!"
Silence. The boy, possibly taken aback, possibly terrified of a shark, possibly just wanting to spend his time in the fresh air instead of the tiny, overpacked cubby room, backed out as quickly as he'd entered.
In her defense, his hair was kind of fin-like.
I decided to let it go. Kids say silly stuff all the time, right? Right?!
Until that afternoon, I thought maybe we'd have a chance at being the normal family.
"Mary, what did you learn today?"
"That if my cheese falls on the floor, I shouldn't eat it."
Did I mention Room Mom does lunch duty?
It's going to be an interesting year.