Sunday, August 20, 2006

Eyes wide open

"My daddy was a baby, too," Ittybit tells the nice woman, who takes our paperwork and searches for any spaces left blank. "That's right. He was a baby, too," she says adroitly, rustling through the sheets, not finding the small For Emergencies, Contact card.

"Oh that one always gets caught on the bottom of the envelope," she chuckles, as I absently fish it out from underneath the manila flap and hand it over.

I am thinking about all the things Ittybit's six-word announcement doesn't explain. It didn't explain how wide her eyes got when we told her the story that her father had once slept in the very same cradle she had slept in when we brought her home from the hospital.

It doesn't explain how miraculous such a notion must be -- that her big, strong dad was once small -- that she is compelled to let the world in on the secret. My. Daddy. Was. A. Baby. Too.

It also doesn't explain the mind-boggling reality that Ittybit is now, officially, a pre-schooler. And, come September, she'll be attending the same nursery school I attended as a tot.

As we stood in the scrubbed-clean room, filled with summer-stored toys, I can tell she's excited. Her eyes are as wide as mine, as I looked around at the tiny chairs and tables feeling a little like a giant who, in a former life, was a Lilliputian, too.

She delightedly runs off to play with the toys, while I wait to speak with the intake coordinator and other chairpeople about our future roles as new pre-school parents. My head is spinning. My baby isn’t a baby anymore.

The school is a cooperative, which means the tuition is reduced for parents who pitch in to assist in the classroom, fundraise or maintain the property as needed.

With a list several sheets long of chores that need doing, the facilitator’s eyes open wide when she sees what I've checked off on the "expertise" portion of the form.

"You and your husband have a power washer?" Oh that's so great. That's wonderful. We were worried about that this year. We have to clean all the playground equipment in the backyard, and no one thus far seems to have the abilities in that department. We were sure we'd have to hire a professional."

The man's chest puffs up a little, as he realizes his services will be appreciated, and his daughter will benefit from his labor for a change.

Off we go into the play yard filled with all manner of ride-on toys, climbing towers, slides and playhouses ... even a real fiberglass boat sunk into the grass as if it were sailing an imaginary sea.

Ittybit stands stock-still. Presumably paralyzed by indecision, she waits for an impulse that will hurl her tiny body toward the best plaything.

That's when I noticed the man's eyes have lost their usual almond shape. "Something tells me I'm going to be very popular around here."


A. Monk said...

Buck it up Jed, you power-washin' fool! heehee...

lildb said...

when I read about the kids arriving at school age, I can't help crying.

sorry. I'm a sap.

is it hard? are you sad? I mean, I can only assume it's bittersweet. ?

Autumn said...

tears. you write so beautifully. it is a gift to notice all these details, the eyes, the thoughts of your daughter, the pride, the memories...