A Universal Hand hit time’s fast forward button this morning—I signed my four-year-old daughter, Lil’ K., up for preschool. Stop laughing at me for getting all sentimental and shit. I know it’s just preschool. It’s not like it’s (gasp) kindergarten or anything.
While I collected all the paperwork I had brought, my eighteen-month-old son, Lil’ P., set about tearing the school’s front office apart. Lil’ K. chased him around a little. He emptied the book bins and scattered them around. Lil’ K. picked up some books and attempted to pretend-read to him. In the meantime, I handed over her birth certificate, her social security card, her immunization record, a light bill, and a copy of the deed to our house.
Apparently, people are in the habit of sneaking little terrorists into preschool. Just then, I caught Lil’ P. in an attempt to scale the front windows. As I pulled him off by the back of his pants, I wondered what kind of paperwork they’d need from me when I signed him up for preschool to prove he didn’t have ulterior motives. Window scaling could be a sign of something nefarious.
The school bookkeeper, who has known me all my life, handed me a stack of registration papers almost as big as the ones they give you at a home loan closure. She sighed and shrugged her shoulders.
“Standard procedure,” she said, also handing back all the proof that Lil’ K. is from nowhere other than Planet Worrell.
By then, Lil’ P. was attempting to hang from the door handle. Lil’ K., being the big preschooler that she is, stalked over to him.
She plastered herself across the door breathlessly. “I’ve got this fully under contwol,” she informed us.
Unfortunately, she had to backtrack when Lil’ P. climbed on her head to get to the doorhandle.
“A little help here, pwease,” came her muffled plea from the vicinity of her agile brother’s scrotum.
We finally got Lil’ P. interested in some truck books while I filled in the remainder of the papers. When I finally handed in the paperwork, I told Lil’ K. that she was officially enrolled in preschool. Her teacher came in just then, talked with a pleased Lil’ K., and answered the few questions I had.
Another of Lil’ K.’s teachers actually taught Big A. about fourteen years ago, and I’ve worked with the people at this school for years. These folks were the same ones that helped me through the two miscarriages we endured before having Lil’ K. Some of these teachers ran to my classroom door to watch my students when I streaked down the hall to puke at the advent of Lil’ K.’s miraculous residency. Now, I’m handing her over to these loving and gifted educators; she’s going to have an amazing start to her schooling. I couldn’t be happier.
I was so delighted that after I left the school, I called Mr. Jenn.
“I just enrolled Lil’ K. in preschool,” I told him in this fake happy voice with tears running down my face. I positioned myself so Lil’ K. couldn’t see me in the mirror. I told him all about her teachers and what a great start she was getting. He didn’t say much.
“It’s not possible that she’s old enough for this,” he said quietly.
“You have to take off on the first day of school,” I said suddenly. “My first day and hers coincide.”
“Okay,” he said.
“You can fake-peppy the whole thing better than I can,” I said.
“You overestimate me,” he said, right before we hung up.
I got myself back together, and I started talking to the kids about how great school was going to be.
“Mama,” asked Lil’ K. “will I miss you?”
“Not at all, Baby,” I said. “You’ll have so much fun, you won’t miss me a bit.”
And so they grow.