Dropping Moppet off at school on Monday morning, I felt that familiar knot of worry, sadness and pride in my stomach. That will-she-be-okay feeling all mashed up with the happy-sad my-baby's-such-a-big-girl feeling.
Why now, you ask, when she's been going to school for a whole year now, and loving it? Well, Monday was her first day in the 'upstairs class' - new teachers, a different classroom environment, and a new routine.
There's so much going on in her life right now, I was worried that she wouldn't take well to the change. I told her that she would have a new teacher, and that she'd go upstairs to a new class, and that all her friends would be with her. She just shook her head and said, 'Teacher T (her old teacher) will be there.' 'No she won't', I said, 'it will be a new teacher'. 'NO, NO, NO!' she yelled. 'Iss Teacher T will be there!'
I sighed and prepared myself for a tantrum at the school door. As usual, she surprised me.
She looked a little uncertain when told to go upstairs, standing with her arms wrapped tightly around my leg, so the teacher invited me to go on up with her and show her around her new digs. So up we went, and checked out the huge pretend kitchen area, the craft corner, the bookshelf, the computer, and the enormous dollhouse. That's finally when she perked up - at the dollhouse. 'Look mama, boy doing potty!'
It was true, there was a little wooden doll seated on a little wooden potty. 'Let's give him a bath. Wash your bum-bum.' Suddenly, I wasn't there anymore - all her attention was focussed on washing the doll's wooden butt. 'Bye baby' I said, giving her a squeeze and a kiss. 'You have fun. I'll see you at lunchtime, okay?'
'Bye!' She waved me away, not even looking up at me. So summarily dismissed, I headed back home, first indulging in a quiet little cry in the car. And it struck me that in this last year, while she's grown up so much, I haven't at all. I dealt with the whole thing in the same teary-eyed, sentimental way I did last year - and here she was, my 2 year old, taking it all in her stride.
The school gave us a bunch of pictures of her taken during the last year and I can literally see the tiny, baby-faced toddler turning into a confident, happy little girl.
It's funny how despite knowing what's coming, I'm so unprepared for the strength of the emotions that hit me on occasions like this. The wonder doesn't fade. No doubt I'll be just the same old snivelling mess at her college graduation too. I guess when it comes to their children, some moms never do grow up.