Booger and Toots


Olivia “Youthton” John and Toots, before school drop-off.


Toots started kindergarten today. In the days leading up to this morning, she periodically admitted she was “nervous,” a revelation wholly unlike her, the social girl who tells strangers about the time “daddy had a weiner operation and laid on the couch all day.” Either way, I monitored her daily, asking what made her nervous, trying to address her concerns about making friends and learning to read.


Still, she seemed mostly excited, stopping every man and woman on the street to share the exact start day of kindergarten and the color, make and model of her lunch bag. So when The Rock and I dropped her off at class today, my heart splintered as she burst into tears. I’d never seen her do this before in social situations. Usually, she waves me off with an “I need kid time” dismissal.


I internally wept with her as she stood on a small red circle in the back of the room, weakly holding her tissue as the teacher led the class in an ironic version of “Oh What a Beautiful Morning.” Right then and there, I fought the urge to collect Toots and stick her in my cozy pocket, the one where tears don’t live. But The Rock waved me off as clearly the teacher didn’t encourage parental lingering, and so I reluctantly refused to look behind me as I left.


Now there’s an image in my mind of her solo on that red circle, clutching Kleenex, pale and wan, with tears streaming down her face as the rest of the kids ignore her.


It’s hard to shake that picture, even though I know closer to the truth is that right about now, her teacher knows all about The Rock’s weiner operation.


18 Responses to “Hullabaloo”

  1. MissM says:

    Every time LMC opens her mouth and starts with a “my mom said” my heart skips a beat and I cringe with fear. Oh these little girls!!

  2. I didn’t cry for the first day of Kinder because Tyler cried and I didn’t want him to be even more afraid. But first day of first grade? I bawled.

  3. vodkamom says:

    I am so excited for her- and for you. She will spread her wings and fly…….


  4. What gorgeous precious little faces!
    No wonder that image broke your heart. But while you were so sad, she was probably having the time of her life.

  5. Blognut says:

    She’s beautiful, Deb. And I’ll bet she got over being sad right away.

  6. We need an update! I’m sure the tears stopped right away and she had a fantastic time–that’s the way it always goes.

    Your girls’ eyes are so sparkly and full of life.

  7. Jennifer says:

    So exciting. How’d it go, after the tears?

  8. Kizz says:

    I hope she came home with plenty of good stories to tell. They’re beautiful!

  9. Theresa says:

    Oh my goodness, I remember those days :)

    Don’t worry, you and daddy are still her favorite people….even when she starts every sentence with “my teacher said and my teacher did” all starry-eyed.

    Save a few special papers and art in a box and write the date on the back. You will be so glad that you did!!! Now that Grace is a big girl of 7, she loves to look at the stuff from the “old days”.

  10. Me says:

    I see the best of friends in 20 years. That picture is to die for.

  11. Da Goddess says:

    Congratulations! You made it, Deb. You got through today and so did Toots. It’s not easy, but you did it!

  12. Mama Mary says:

    I cried reading this post–such a big day, for both of you. I’m proud of you for keeping it together when she lost it. I don’t know if I could do that. Your girls are absolutely gorgeous btw!

  13. I know she had a great first day. How are YOU?

  14. Even when we know they’re going to be FINE, it’s the fact that we know they’re going to be fine WITHOUT US that gets to us, isn’t it?

    Here’s hoping you’re both FINE!

  15. Danielle says:

    I know the feeling. I cannot stand leaving my little ones crying and reaching out for me as I walk away. But they are always fine as the teachers tell me, or the teachers are liars and they are just trying to make me feel better. I go back and forth on that one sometimes.

  16. Deanna says:

    I hate to tell you this, but it doesn’t get any easier when that little girl packs up her car and heads to her own place in this world, on her own adventure, a far reach from mom’s hugs! (I still get weepy…) But we live and are proud of them anyway, right?

  17. kate says:

    i’m sorry to say that i still have the picture of the now almost Second Grader standing in line on the playground pushing is teeny tiny fists into his teeny tiny eyes trying to keep the tears from falling. my heart still breaks a little bit when i think of it. but when i talk about it? he’s like i have no idea what you’re talking about, mom, you’re kind of a loon.

  18. Ah, she’s going to have a ball. And she’ll probably continue to share inappropriate family news with others, too. Mine do that ALL the time.

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