Morning at Jericho: “I’m good, Ma!”

Two Chinese nannies, three Japanese mamas, one Chinese daddy, and Ellis and me reppin’ Korea waiting on a dingy couch and a couple chairs.

No, not the premise of a joke that racists relished telling when I was growing up, but the scene right outside Micah’s classroom this morning.

Today was the first OFFICIAL day of school after Orientation Week. Micah would be off on his own for nearly three hours.

I wasn’t sure if he was going to need me to stay. I had prepped him all summer with pick-up lines for snagging friends. Short and sweet: “Hi, I’m Micah. You wanna play?” He repeated it to me, trying to be a comedian. “Hi, Mommy, I’m Micah! You want to play weeth me?” while giggling uncontrollably.

It was Game Time. He plopped himself down on the carpet where some cute little kiddies were already engrossed in play. He beamed at a green bunny and took it to them. “I have at home. I have deess one at home!” Here I had been feeding him lines when he went with what he knew. Atta boy!

He was ready. My little birdie was ready to fly.

“Micah, Mommy wants to give you space to make friends and play on your own today at school. You’re gonna have so much fun. I promise I will be right outside if you need me, okay? Ellis and Mommy come pick you up later, OK? I promise I will be right outside.”

He barely acknowledged me as he moved on to play in different areas.

I wore Ellis and parked our doublestroller on the patch of dry grass out front, and walked around his school a countless number of times, like it was Jericho (though I wasn’t wishing that the walls came tumbling down, down, down, dooby dooby down).

Every now and then a child would run out looking for their adult. When a child came running out, either wailing or crying softly while trying to be brave, another child or two would follow like little ducklings, looking for their caretaker in the waiting area. In one case, one little girl was in such hysterics that the teacher went for a walk with her.

One older Chinese nanny was too cute. Her child came running out when she least expected it and she didn’t want to be seen so she tried to hide behind her friend, the other older Chinese nanny. They were both completely in plain view but in her desperation, she tried to act like a statue, then hide.

Ellis was extra jolly, thriving in my undivided attention and affection. Gurgling away and poking my eyes, booty-shaking and motorboating me. I didn’t mean to wear his growing body on me for the entire time on this sunny day but I wasn’t thinking straight as I thought I might have to run into the classroom at any moment. Ellis gladly took his morning nap on me, in deep, angelic slumber.

I lusted after a cold beverage, but I didn’t have my wallet on me and I wasn’t about to borrow money from new classmates’ mamas. It didn’t matter as I had no plans to leave the school’s general vicinity. Not on the first real day. After all, I had given Micah my word that I would be right outside. I was preoccupied, thinking the teacher would call my cell at any moment while I was walking ’round and ’round the block.

I kept thinking that when they were off to their next activity, Micah would cry. I wasn’t being entirely paranoid as this dude would NOT separate from me for months as a younger toddler when I tried to attend a weekly women’s Bible Study. Even after he turned two, it took months and months for him to attend Sunday School on his own. Now he practically runs to Sunday School, eager to see his favorite teachers.

Playground time was the finale today. I made sure I couldn’t be seen when the kids all walked together from the classroom.

Ellis and I hid behind a toolshed next to the school, near a dirt pile, to catch a glimpse of Son/Brother. (Please note: if you see a suspicious adult creeping around any given playground, before you call the popo, take pause and consider first that she may just be an anxious parent on her son’s first day).

I didn’t see him at first among a batch of kiddies, so I inched over a bit while still hidden, and there he was, chasing after a ball and looking like he was having so much fun. We later saw him riding on a red trike, looking like Christmas Day. He looked so happy! Like he ain’t never cried hysterically for mama before.

Ten more minutes ’til dismissal. I nursed Ellis while sitting on some cement steps in the blazing sun. My body will be aching come tomorrow morning. The Chinese nanny had returned and we just kept smiling at each other as her English was as good as my Cantonese.

When I entered the classroom to pick up my dude, he squealed with glee, “Mommy! Mommy! Wook!” as he showed me his art project. A mama who ended up having to accompany her little girl today, reported back to me that Micah had fully participated in each activity and had a blast.

I know he will have needy days and independent days but today was as perfect as they come.

Thanks for the precious memories, dear week of 09.09. Reminded me that while these are some of the most hair-pulling times, these are also some of the sweetest times of my life.

Plus, First son/Big Bro being off at school in the mornings couldn’t have come at a better time. Mr. EZ is knocking on the door of toddlerhood, protesting the stroller and highchair, spitting out foods that he doesn’t like, always needing to be on Mama, and nursing like he’s going to be cut off soon. Stage Five Clinger had to be carried on my back after Micah’s school today, all the way home while I strolled big bro in the half-empty double.

But don’t worry, my dude, I find separation anxiety the ultimate form of flattery and I will be right outside the nearest toolshed when it’s YOUR first week.

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