Yesterday when I confessed that it was, in fact, a school day, she registered the requisite protests. "I don't want to go to schooooool," came the pitiful wails. "Don't bring me to schooooool." Unmoved, I plopped her in the car beside her brother, as for the first time I was required to get them both to their separate places of learning at 9am. (Okay, she can be a little late. They don't count tardies for the two-year-olds.)
"You'll be fine," said her brother, with the assurance of one who knows. "Your school is even nicer than mine. You get to play all the time. I have to do work." His work mostly consists of colouring, but I suppose it's a little more arduous than all the playing with large wooden blocks he spent the three years of nursery school mostly doing.
"Waaaahhh," she answered.
We stood in line with Monkey as the rest of his classmates arrived, and wished him a happy day at school as he headed on inside when the doors opened. And off he went.
Perhaps Mabel remembers the first few mornings of kindergarten, when Monkey yelled and wailed and clung and cried and demanded that we not take him to school. I think she was at least a little impressed to see how he seemed to be taking it now.
When we got to her school, I brought her over to the table where several of her friends were helping to make playdough. As she gripped her wooden spoon and began to stir, I brightly told her I had to go now, and kissed her goodbye. She didn't flinch. Nor did she cry, or cling, or ask me not to. She looked a little damp of eye, and I could see that she was making a huge effort to hold it together, so I stayed not upon the order of my going but went at once.
She didn't cry all morning. She was totally fine when I picked her up from the playground two and a half hours later, sitting by a tree trunk with a big red plastic shovel, doing something with mulch.
This morning was much the same: she complained about the concept of school, I ignored her. I took her to school and said goodbye. She wasn't quite so stressed. When I arrived at the playground, she wouldn't look at me and said she didn't want to talk to me, but after a couple of minutes she deigned to come down off the slide and demand that I take her home.
I think she's confused by her emotions: she's probably worried that she's not missing me so much any more, and maybe even feels a little guilty for forgetting about me and having something akin to a good time. So when I come back, she can't even tell what she's feeling any more.
Her teacher told me that every sentence that comes out of her mouth (and there are plenty) is no longer a reference to Mummy and things Mummy failed to do - yesterday she told them that I hadn't made dinner on Sunday night and she was very hungry; blatant slander - I fed her several slices of pizza from those nice Domino's people, and fed myself several more.
All in all, I think she's settling in nicely.