This morning marks Maddie's first official organized activity that I am not invited to. She and her friend Jenna are signed up for two weeks worth of preschool camps: 9-12, four days this week, four days next week. Maddie is so excited to be going to "school." While I am excited for her, I was dreading the drop-off this morning. It's not that I don't trust her out in public (I do, very much so) but rather that I simply cannot believe that she is big enough, old enough, brave enough to be dropped-off. I'm sure all of you who have done this already are nodding your heads saying "welcome to the club, sister."
Once there, Maddie plopped herself down, introduced herself to the little girl sitting next to her, made a space for Jenna to squeeze in, gave me a little wave, and waited patiently for official organized activity to begin. I spied on her for a minute or two through the window in the hallway, and then schlepped Gracie back to the car sniff-sniff-sniffing all the way.
Buckling Gracie back in, though, I rather excitedly embraced the silver lining of Child #1 growing up a little bit: Gracie and I have three glorious hours of Gracie—Mama time. Time that is hard to come by. Once in a while on the weekend I'll take Gracie with me to the grocery store if I only need a few things, but weekend days are not the same as regular weekdays. The air is different and the stores are less crowded. I still can't get over the notion that I am playing hooky from school when I'm out in the daytime at a store despite the fact that I haven't taught in three years. We go to stores during the week, all three of us, but we're usually in combat shopping mode so the hooky feeling doesn't have time to kick in. Today was different, however.
Gracie and I headed to Barnes & Noble to spend a gift certificate she received when she was born from a friend in Montana. I've been sitting on this gift for six months, now, waiting for just a morning like this. And it was perfect. We strolled, we wandered, we hung out. Hardly anyone shops at Barnes & Noble at 9:20 in the morning; only the old men in the reading chairs and the skater kids looking at magazines were there today. Halfway through I hooked Gracie up in the Baby Bjorn so she could have a better look in the children's section. Kick, kick, kick, shop, shop, shop. Here is what we purchased:
ABC USA by Martin Jarrie
How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague
How Do Dionsaurs Clean Their Rooms? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague
I Know a Rhino by Charles Fuge
Hey! Wake Up! by Sandra Boynton
My First Baby Signs by Linda Acredolo (we already own this one, but it didn't weather the heavy use by Maddie very well.)
Oh—and a tall caramel frappuccino for me. Yum.
Gracie is now conked out (again, the child can't stay awake in the car if it's going over 25 mph) so I'm enjoying a little weekday quiet time...something else that is hard to come by. It's almost 11:30, though, and my glorious three hours are starting to turn into a glorious 2 1/2 hours and an anxious ready-to-have-Maddie-back-home half hour. I can't wait to hear all about school. You can bet that I'll be planning tomorrow's Mama—Gracie Date Day later tonight, though.