The big day arrived. The one I've been putting off for ages, unwilling to let her go, knowing full well she would love it and that I would become like so much chopped liver. Life will never be the same again, my girl is up and out and this week she went to playschool for the first time.
It was/is a huge deal. I spend every minute of every day with her, I love being with her, we have a good time, she is awesome and funny and cute and wild. It is a love like no other. Only it's become apparent that I alone am not quite cutting it, my playing/acting/singing skills are lacking and she needs more. She's full on, alive and toddler crazy and we felt it would be a shame to stop her sharing her brand of 'HIYA!' with the world, thus we've let her loose on the local nursery.
It feels like the first in a long line of difficult but necessary decisions we'll be making to help our girl on the road to being a happy adult. Much as I want to cling to her, to be all that is for her, I know that more than anything I want her to grow into an independent, strong woman and me clasping on to her tiny ankles like a sad limpet is not going to help. I think it's harsh to be sending a two year old out into the world already (I know, bit dramatic, I give no fucks, deal with it) but at least it's a world designed for her kind with little tables and chairs, lots of stuff to play with including paint ('PAINT!') and ipads plus a whole team of people whose sole job is to entertain and serve the small people. Not too shabby for Betsy.
The day came and she was so excited, just wanted to get to 'school' and do some painting. On the way there I kept saying to her that she would go and play for a few hours and then I would come and pick her up for lunch because I didn't want her to feel like I was abandoning her, but she wasn't listening to me, she has this habit of looking right through me when I'm boring.
She ran in without so much as a goodbye, all the other children were cuddling their mummy's and having their pictures taken but Betsy was off and I couldn't get her attention so I left feeling part devastated, part delighted that she is so bloody confident and fearless. All the way home I was wondering if she'd miss me, fretting about her taking Bunny and Bruno with her and hoping she would be okay.
I spent the morning trying to settle but finding it impossible. I think about her safety, if the front door is locked, sharp edges, slippery floors. I wonder about the teachers, their qualifications, temperaments, patience. I think about her little face when she does (if she does) start looking for me and my heart squeezes tight, I have a sniffle. I try to work, I hope she's having fun, I have another worry about Bunny and Bruno and eventually call to make sure they (she) are safe. And then, after worrying the morning away, it's quarter to twelve and I can go and pick her up.
She comes out the door, face all aglow, pleased to see me (my heart thumpety thumps), she's holding her painting and looking cute, although soaked through as she wouldn't let anyone change her nappy. Apparently she did ask after me (good!) and she did have fun (brilliant!) but this is all the teacher has time to tell me.
We go home. She tells me random stuff but nothing I actually want to know like what did she do, what were the teachers and other children like, what did she eat, drink, draw. She is frustratingly tight lipped and as I continue to ask questions she gets more confused and bored and eventually I shut up, give up and accept the fact that I will never know what she got up to. Control freak mama, learning to let go one step at a time. Pray for me.