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Final Countdown, Take 2

Cora starts preschool on Monday –
pre-kindergarten, three days a week. To say that she is ready is an

Cora cried – tears of rage, not sadness – when she
learned that Maddie would be starting school a whole week before
she would. “Not FAIR!” she screamed, and stormed off to
take a break. I do believe she’s the only kid who’s
asking for MORE days of school.

I’m not sure what the huge
attraction is: a chance to be more grown-up, certainly, but there
has to be more to it than that. When I ask Cora what she’s
looking forward to most about preschool she replies, “The
goodies class.” I’m sorry, what? “You know, the
class where you make goodies you get to eat!” Oh, the cooking
class – where nearly every recipe involves either jello or
whipped cream or both.

I do, though, see a desire in Cora to simply know more. I
bought a pre-k workbook for her and leave it out at
“her” kitchen stool, and she’ll sit down there
four or five times a week and ask me to get her started;
she’ll work on numbers or letters or handwriting or what have
you, contentedly working her way through the alphabet as I cook. I
can see her staring at words and struggling to make sense of what
she sees – to put order to all the squiggly lines staring at
her. I know my girl’s brain is ready to learn.

She and Maddie have had several heart-to-hearts over the past few
weeks about what to expect in preschool, and Maddie has taken on
the Wiser, Older Woman role with relish.

“Ok, Cora, what do you want to know?” she asked one

“Well, Maddie, I’m afraid that when I get up from my
chair to throw something away, I won’t know where to go from
the trash can. How will I know which chair is mine? How will I find
my spot again?” Cora asked.

“No worries on this, Cora,” Maddie said confidently.
“They put your name on the back of your chair, and you can
already spell your name, so you’re good! Plus,” she
continued practically, “yours will be the only empty

They’ve talked through the big new world of school lunch:
“You get your lunch box, get all your food out and put it all
at your spot. Then you have to put your lunch box under your chair
while you eat. This is non-negotiable.” I could practically
see Cora taking notes while she listened, head nodding intently.
They’ve covered recess, where to put coats in the winter, and
how to go potty by yourself.

Cora’s got meet-the-teacher this afternoon and she’s
been counting it down all week; and she knows it’s a mere two
days after that before she gets to start school.

My baby’s walking forward, and she’s not looking


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