Last weekend, we took the Underground crew to one of the many county fairs going on in the area. The Dormouse experienced another right of passage because she was allowed to ride the ferris wheel for the very first time. I took this shot of the big wheel while they were up in it.... because I? I sat under the ferris wheel trying to discreetly nurse a cranky Caterpillar while the noise from the nearby ride that looks like a roller coaster but only goes around and around with a slight lift to one end caused me a subdural hematoma as the boom, boom, boom of the bass shook my brain inside my skull. What is that ride called anyway? And WHY must the music always be deafening? Is that somehow integral to the 'round and 'round experience? Like if they overstimulate you badly enough, you won't notice that all you did was travel in a circle?

After the infamous ferris wheel, we sat down to eat nasty but oh-so-desirable carnival food from the Fried Dough Hut and she announced, "This is the best day of
my whole life!" Sometimes kids just make you feel good about yourself.

Yesterday, I took The Dormouse school supply shopping. Let me repeat that for emphasis. I TOOK MY BABY THAT I BIRTHED FROM MY VERY OWN LOINS TO PURCHASE RANDOM OFFICE ITEMS THAT SHE WOULD THEN TAKE WITH HER WHEN SHE LEAVES MY WARM EMBRACE AND GOES INTO THE COLD, CRUEL WORLD OF PUBLIC SCHOOL. Am I being a bit too melodramatic? I do not think so. I think this situation warrants exactly this much melodrama.

Because I am a lazy mother and because The Dormouse is a control freak, we went to Staples and I gave her a basket, the supply list the school sent to me, and a pen. If I'd been smart, I'd have taken the camera and shot video of her trudging around the store, feeling very self-important, tucking the pen behind her ear, looking for the exact right pencil box, then dutifully pulling the pen from behind her ear, placing a giant check mark (which can only be done with sound effects: "cchhhhheeKK!") next to the list item when she found the Best Pencil Box In The Whole Wide World, then capping the pen, carefully replacing it behind her ear, and moving on to the next item.


"It says 'One pair of Fiskars brand scissors, or similar, with metal blades (not plastic).'"

"There are some scissors over there, honey."

"But Mooooommmmm! Those do NOT say 'Fiskars' on them!"


"One regular bath-size towel for rest time."

"You can probably just bring the blanket you bring to preschool now."

"But Mooooommmmm! It says right here, 'bath towel. No quilts or beach towels.'"

"OK, but I don't think they sell towels at Staples."

"OK, Momma, let's go to Target and get a towel now."

"Hey, here's an idea, let's get the rest of the things on the list and THEN go to Target."

Mooooommmmm! We have to get this before I can go to the next thing on the list. The towel is before the crayons."


Who allowed this kid to learn to read? It was a completely bad idea.

The only time she wavered was near the end, when she picked up the full basket and exclaimed, "Wow, momma, this is heavy. Shopping is Such. Hard. Work."

I also allowed her to purchase... pause for dramatic effect... AN OUTFIT <cue angels singing> Laaaaaaa! </angels singing> She picked out a couple of nice, even-acceptable-to-me tops in greens, blues and browns. I turned around to look around for some pants to go with them and by the time I turned back, she had predictably abandoned them for three new shirts from the pink palette. How is it that this child has half my DNA?

Now I just need to win me some Hanes underwear from the nice people at PBN, because I don't think I can go through that again.

After that lovely experience, (which I'm pretty sure could replace waterboarding at Guantanamo Bay) we went to her kindergarten orientation and met her new teacher. I was actually quite impressed with the woman -- who seemed enthusiastic, well-spoken and not at all a child just out of kindergarten herself -- and I didn't want to scratch her eyes out as she continually referred to my baby as one of her kids.

My mother always tells the story of my first day at school, when I got out of the car, said "Bye, mom" and didn't look back. No tears, no clinging. I expect little else from this adult-child, who is so beside herself with grown-upped-ness, the ferris wheel is now only a thing of yesteryear to her. But for me, it was just six days ago.

If pride is a sin, color me guilty, because I'm completely proud of this little thing that wouldn't grow four years ago and the girl she's becoming. Yet, at the same time, I feel this twinge of sadness because I know this is a very real milestone that forces me to say goodbye to her babyhood and hello to years of peer pressure, mean girls, teachers who give her bad marks, disappointments and sadness. I know it's a necessary part of life... a growing experience... and there will also be hundred percents, great performances, best friends and successes. But I hate the thought that she'll go through any of the Bad Stuff and I want to shelter her from it all. Really, I just want to ride the ferris wheel with her and have that be enough to be the best day of her whole life.

Preparing for the first day of school is something I always knew would come. But wow, I didn't expect it to come so soon.