Well, as expected, today's drop-off of Miss O at kindergarten was brutal. She's got the beginnings of a cold (and no, her snot's not green and she's not seal-coughing, so lay the fuck off) and I knew she wasn't going to be too thrilled about me leaving.
She was actually strangely chipper at breakfast and on the way to school. She's usually a trooper unless she's really sick. But once I got her into the classroom, the waterworks started a-flowin'. Like her brother, she can turn the tears on and off like the pulse button on a Cuisinart. She learned from the master. But it was pretty tough to leave her, though. I tried every stop-crying trick I knew.
First I tried the "Miss O, you're a big girl now, and kindergartners don't cry when they get dropped off. See, no one else is crying." Then I looked around, and there was a kid crying into his mom's shoulder a few feet away, so that one went down the crapper.
Then I tried the "uh-oh, goofy dad" approach. "Well, I can't stay here with you, Miss O. I already went to kindergarten when I was little and your teacher won't let a big old guy like me sit in circle time. She'll say, 'Hey, who let this man in here?! He's eating all the graham crackers and hogging all the juice! Get that man outta here!'" I managed to get a tiny smile out of her with that one, but the minute I got up to leave, it was back to the bawlin'.
I also tried the "Oh no! Maybe you're not supposed to be here!" approach. As in, "Wait a minute, Miss O! I don't see your name tag on the board today! Maybe you're not in this class anymore!" Of course, she went for this one and said, "Dad! My name's right there, see?!" Looked promising, but again, more tears.
And the thing that really sucked was that the more she cried, the snottier and boogerier she got. That led logically into the, "You're just going to make yourself sicker by crying" ploy. That one never works. And, true to form, it didn't.
By this point, I had at least gotten her to sit at one of the tables and she had started working on this coloring/numbers work the teacher had given everyone. She had to color in a bear, a chicken and some bees and then write the number "1" a bunch of times. She was half-heartedly coloring when I pulled out the old "Tell you what -- if you stop crying and really try to enjoy your day here, I'll get you a special treat for after school." It always ends up with the ol' bribe, doesn't it. Of course, she wanted clarification -- "What kind of treat? A toy?" I kept it vague and just left it at, "It'll be something you'll really like, okay? But you have to promise to stop crying and start your work." She promised and I slowly started to make my way to the door as she turned back to her work. Just as I was about to leave, she turned to me with that killer Keane painting look that just rips my heart out every goddamn time:
But I forced out a smile, shot her a "thumbs up!" and scooted down the hallway. It was so painful. The thing is, I'm sure she was fine once I left, and I probably should've left sooner, but there's something about leaving your kid at school when they're sad... I don't know, I've got some issues buried down deep with these particular scenarios. It probably has a lot to do with that whole "my parents sent me away to summer camp in Minnesota for four fucking weeks when I was 10" thing. Basically everything in my life has to do with that, in one way or another. And I'm more than happy to pass my unhealthy abandonment issues on to the next generation.
I sure hope I'm dead by the time the kids go to college, 'cuz I'll never fucking survive that whole scene.