May 4, 2010


Yesterday I went to a place - literally and in my head - that scared the crap out of me. It was a land of painted walls, giant buses and tiny chairs. I went to Mia's elementary school orientation. At which time I promptly realized...


...or something along those lines.

I'm pretty sure I didn't actually say that out loud while I was sitting there. No one looked at me funny and Beth didn't hit me. But that's sure as hell how I felt.

I don't want Mia to grow up in a bubble, shielded from all the bad stuff. Because to do that would also keep her from all the really great stuff. And, yeah, I'm a cynical guy but I'm also oddly enough very inherently optimistic so much so that I believe there's more good stuff than bad. But there's a part of me that totally rejects that reasonable, rational argument and doesn't care because she's my baby. I doubt that will change whether she's five or twenty-five.

Last night I tucked her into bed and we talked about the day.

Mia: Can you believe I'm going to elementary school?
Me (in my head): No, fuck that. We're staying home and playing princess until you're, oh, about 25 after which we can talk about you leaving the house for longer than four hours when not under our direct supervision.
Me (for real): That's fantastic sweetheart!

There's a certain portion of parenting that revolves around setting rules, correcting mistakes, healing boo-boos, reading books, and keeping the goblins away at night. There's another part that's all about denial and grinning and bearing it. Sometimes its hard to say which is the bigger part.

Oh, the other thing I learned? Moms, please don't go to elementary school orientations in pants that you had to sew yourself into, lucite stripper heels and a bluetooth headset. Kinda makes you look like you're a hooker waiting for a "date".

Posted by Chris at May 4, 2010 6:55 AM

Welcome to my world Chris, welcome to my world. My oldest "baby" is looking me in the eye now. I look at him and see a chubby toddler with curls and eye lashes long enough to hit his glasses. Just wait until the first boy calls. That will make for an interesting post!

Posted by: Christy at May 4, 2010 7:37 AM

This makes me cringe because I know my own journey is not far behind. Oh good lord, how did this happen? On one hand I am immensely proud of my girl for growing up and being so fabulous, on the other hand, my heart sobs "My baaaaabbbyyyyyyy...."!

Posted by: Shelly at May 4, 2010 7:57 AM

Oh you are about to enter a whole new world! You thought cliques in middle school were bad? Wait until you experience first hand the PTA cliques! You would THINK that a bunch of adults would be able to come together to make decisions in the best interest of the children, but grade school politics rival the federal government!

And the moms who think the PTA is a singles meeting group- oy... Not to mention some of the teachers!
Can't wait to read about your experiences~

Posted by: Lisa at May 4, 2010 8:03 AM

Ohmygod, dude, school can be pretty awesome, too (and I know you have the right attitude to make it so). My daughter's in kindergarten, and yesterday she was making a (incredibly cute!) book about bugs - she can draw and write (and read!) way better than she could a few months ago.. and to see her get excited about stuff she learns is awesome, too!

Seeing them grow can be cool, too, man.. you'll find the good in it.

Posted by: Kaz at May 4, 2010 8:25 AM

Oh just wait until Owen starts! In a way, having your youngest start seems harder...that's the boat we are in this fall, and I'm sad already! I'm also afraid that the world will mess up my quirky little girl. She has such an amazing and unique personality and I want her to stay just the way she is. I'm afraid the world will force her to conform, and that would be a tragedy.

Posted by: Elizabeth at May 4, 2010 8:45 AM

That's pretty darn scary indeed! Gosh, it's scary for ME when I realize how much time has passed! (And man I've been reading your blog for a long time haha!)

Posted by: Heather at May 4, 2010 8:55 AM

Watching your kids grow up is so bittersweet, but I truly believe it is more sweet than bitter. There is just something so magical about watching your child become a person in his or her own right with opinions and ideas and beliefs that are sometimes very different from your own, but never any less interesting to discuss with them. And to have them choose you as a friend, not because they are 5 and you are all they know in the world, but because they do know more about the world and know they want you there by their side? That is a gift. Can you tell I'm feeling a bit emotional that my "baby" turns 14 on Friday?

Posted by: Traci at May 4, 2010 9:09 AM

I feel your pain dude! I've been through it 3x already and have one more to go! The first one was hardest so far (I bawled like a baby, but made sure she didn't see it lol) but the last one, my pwecious wittle baby, well that shit just aint happenin! Life is cruel, makin us send our little angels out into the big, scary world! But the stuff they bring home and the things they learn (in and out of the classroom) well that shit is pretty awesome too!

Posted by: Kris at May 4, 2010 9:41 AM

My oldest starts kindergarten in the Fall, too. I am so not ready for this. Thanks for the fashion tip, though. We've got orientation coming up so I guess I'd better put those lucite heels back in the closet!

Posted by: akofaolain at May 4, 2010 10:02 AM

I was okay with elementary school but my oldest is starting junior high next year and that is going to be tough. I remember walking in the halls and thinking that he was too little to go there. Seventh and eighth grades weren't the best for me so I want to shelter him but, like you, I know we can't keep them in a bubble.

Good luck!

Posted by: kali at May 4, 2010 10:07 AM

I've been lucky to be able to embrace each phase my kids go thru and each new chapter with excitement rather than sadness. My youngest (who is Mia's age) is SO EXCITED about kindergarten, and I'm excited that she's excited - she WORSHIPS her big sister and can't wait to be in that world of school and packing a lunch and all that, that her big sister is already in.

On a side note - since Mia is also a July birthday - is it typical in your neck of the woods to postpone kindergarten for summer birthday kids? Here, you'd think I offered to sell my daughter, the reaction I get when I say I'm putting her in kindergarten already. She'll be FIVE. I thought that was normal?

Posted by: sarah at May 4, 2010 10:11 AM

I love her excitement, even though you're scared shitless. Remember when she didn't want to go to preschool? This is a much better attitude. And just think of all the things she will LEARN!

I know. I don't have kids, so whatever. But I'm excited for her.

Posted by: k8 at May 4, 2010 10:13 AM

Ah! Mia will be AMAZING!!! You won't be for the first week but after that you'll get used to it too. :D Kindergarten isn't as scary as you think it's going to be. ;)

Posted by: Jen at May 4, 2010 10:21 AM

Really? Was it the bluetooth that sent the outfit over the top? Or the shoes? How am I going to find Precious a New Daddy if I don't show up looking my best?

Posted by: lumpyheadsmom at May 4, 2010 11:17 AM

I totally know what you're talking about. I felt the same way when my (now) 6 year old started school. All I can tell you is that she will keep being who she is. Maybe with a new level of social issues to work through. But she will be the same girl. :)

Posted by: Shannon at May 4, 2010 11:29 AM

I have so been there. This year Middle School was the enemy to conquer and well, there are just some enemies we can't fight for our children. (like mean girls)

Just breathe and post. There is really no other way to get through all this unless you take up mind numbing mood altering pills. LOL

Posted by: debb at May 4, 2010 11:34 AM

I feel your pain. My "baby" is going to college next fall. How the hell did that happen? And she's going out of state because "why would anybody want to stay in Michigan?" (her words, not mine). I realize our job is to raise strong, confident, independent children but right now I wish she was a little more dependent and wanted to stay closer to home.

Posted by: Carolyn at May 4, 2010 11:38 AM

I think I'm just drinking my way through these sensations because if I stop to think about it, my head explodes. Sometimes a kid is just an asshole and NOT a bully and you, at 10 (my kid), shouldn't have to figure out what that subtle difference is.

In happier news, I've seen "that mom". I might not have noticed except all the other moms & dads were wearing jeans & runners & windbreakers. At the soccer field/hockey rink (community centre). Nothing says "newly divorced" like perfect hair, nails & stilettos at the hockey rink. (Yes, not all new divorcee women look like this. Just like all new divorcee men don't get plugs & a convertable. They just stand out is all.)

Posted by: harmzie at May 4, 2010 11:43 AM

I was in your shoes, oh, last week (it seems). Now my baby is about to finish her first year of college. WTF??

Posted by: sw at May 4, 2010 11:49 AM

Funny you mention that. I'm making a memory book for my husband for Fathers Day and was sorting through photos yesterday and came across the first day of school photo - and it literally seems like it was last month - except he just turned 15 last week. He's excited about driving in a year and I told him, no maybe when you're 30, lol!!!!
Enjoy each day as them come as time really does fly...

Posted by: LaineyDid at May 4, 2010 12:22 PM

Aw, Daddy-O. You're too cute. My first baby is graduating from elementary school next month. I hear ya about the just-left-the-womb-yesterday thing. I was WAY excited about my daughter starting Kindergarten because first, my daycare costs got cut in half, and second, I love to see my kid grow. Holy cow, but that's fun. The world has disappointed her a bit, but she is unchanged from the kind, sweet, smart kid she always has been. Mia's got great folks; teach her how to let the world roll off her back and she'll be fine.

Posted by: Brooke at May 4, 2010 12:30 PM

I know where you are. My first born starts school this year too. To make it more fun, my third born (my first DAUGHTER, omg) will be born within days of the first day of school. Yes, I will be the mom weeping at dropoff.

Posted by: Lisa at May 4, 2010 12:39 PM

A mere taste of things to come my friend.... just wait 'til your sweet innocent child is 16 with her first serious boyfriend... this is when you face the berlin ...nay, the "great wall of denial" and there is certainly no grinning, much screeching about how much you don't understand her and a painful amount of bearing it ..... Trust me, when I say ....wallow in the good times, wallow and enjoy. : )

Posted by: english thorn at May 4, 2010 1:24 PM

Wait until you see how painful the curriculum is.

When we were in Kindergarten, it was all - color in the lines, learn to share, play duck-duck-goose, and learn to love learning. I loved Kindergarten and pretty much liked school until the social drama that is middle school.

Mine are in 3rd, 1st, and pre-K now. And pre-K is all about learning letter/sound combos, and K is all about - you must read on your own by the end of the year or else. Third grade is all "you better learn to do your worksheets independently so that you can be successful in fifth...".

I get comments like, "Oh, your son has a hard time staying in his seat".

Like, really? A six-year-old boy has a hard time sitting still and doing letter worksheets all day? I mean, for real, the kid plays chess and a mean dodgeball, and can name every tree in your playground - but, he is behind in school because he can't sit ALL DAY?!!

Yes, as a matter of fact, I am cynical about today's education. But, that's only because I am a college educator and I get to see the impact that this curriculum has on student engagement and learning. Shheeeeesh.

Posted by: K at May 4, 2010 1:39 PM

WOW! Time sure does fly doesn't it?
Don't even get me started on the way people dress.
It was 1st communion weekend at our church and WOW!
Tattoos, stripper heals, skin tight dresses, short Daisy Duke shorts, short skirts. INAPPROPRIATE!!

Posted by: Rose @Dozenroses13 at May 4, 2010 2:50 PM

Don't worry, little girl elementary school hell doesn't start until 4th grade. Trust me, I have a 4th grade *shudder* daughter and a 3rd grade daughter. Woo hoo, two years in a row.

Posted by: Amanda at May 4, 2010 3:04 PM

It is hard. The first few years are easy after that initial drop-off for the first day of Kindergarten. Homework increases every year, b.s. and conversations that I'd rather not have. Kids can be mean and insensitive. In 4th Grade, our son was quizzed and badgered about religion. He promptly came home and said he was told at recess that we were all going to hell because we didn't attend church.

I still try to protect my son and he's 14. He needs to learn boundaries and how to speak up for himself, working on being better in that area as my Mamma Bear reaction still pops up more than I'd care to admit.

Flashcards for simple sight words are great.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at May 4, 2010 3:09 PM


(Like that won't fuck her up, but at least you'd control the fuckupedness!)

Posted by: Poppy at May 4, 2010 3:41 PM

ohgod, i have the same thoughts. i feel for you!

Posted by: kati at May 4, 2010 5:07 PM

love these lyrics:
Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile
I watch her go with a surge of that well-known sadness
And I have to sit down for a while
The feeling that I'm losing her forever
And without really entering her world
Im glad whenever I can share her laughter
That funny little girl

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see whats in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table
Barely awake, I let precious time go by
Then when shes gone there's that odd melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt I cant deny
What happened to the wonderful adventures
The places I had planned for us to go
(slipping through my fingers all the time)
Well, some of that we did but most we didn't
And why I just don't know
Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see whats in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
And save it from the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers...

Slipping through my fingers all the time

Schoolbag in hand she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile...

PS: I can still see my Mandy on her first day of school. (sob) And she is 33! Now how did that happen!

Posted by: Maribeth at May 4, 2010 5:16 PM

Sadly - denial doesn't work. Grin and bear it - and you will discover - you even enjoy some of it.

And by the way - that woman? Reminds me of the time my ex-husband showed up with his girlfriend of two weeks at our son's Parents' Night. Except she wasn't in pants. Nope. Daisy Dukes. With her big, fake boobs with pierced nipples barely contained in her pretty much sheer, pale pink tank top. Good times, good times.

Posted by: Mindy at May 4, 2010 5:48 PM

Mia must have alot of single moms at her school.

Cause who else would dress like that?

Posted by: soccermom at May 4, 2010 7:27 PM

Man a pause button would be great right?

Posted by: DC Urban Dad at May 4, 2010 8:42 PM

Wow, I can't believe it's her "time" already. Don't worry, that doesn't mean you are old. ;-)

Posted by: bri at May 5, 2010 10:58 AM

Different people all over the world get the personal loans from different banks, because this is comfortable.

Posted by: GuerraSallie at May 26, 2010 4:55 PM