preschool separation: easier, and harder, than I thought

Maggie started preschool last week. As per usual with preschools these days, she went a half hour the first day, an hour the next, an hour fifteen day three. On each of these days, I cleared my schedule so that I might sit there in a tiny chair, offering her the comfort of my gradually more disinterested presence, before the tears and wailing and general agita once I dared, on day four or so, to say, “Mommy’s going to go now.”


On Day Two, twenty minutes or so in, I get the tap from the preschool director. 


PRESCHOOL DIRECTOR: Why don’t you go get a cup of coffee? I think she’s fine.


Oh yeah? Watch this, I thought, approaching Maggie at the sand table. 


ME: Maggie, Mommy is going to go outside for a little while.
Maggie keeps digging.
ME: But I’ll be right back! I’ll look at my watch! I won’t be late!
Maggie puts down her shovel.


MAGGIE: I don’t care.
ME: … what?
MAGGIE: You can go Mommy.
ME: I can?
MAGGIE: (shrugs) It’s up to you.


It’s up to me? The assistant teacher was standing right there, trying not to laugh at her rather curt dismissal of me, and so I left. Maggie shouted “See you later, crocodile!” down the stairs after me, but otherwise showed no reaction to my leaving. It was me in tears on the front steps.


This morning, when I dropped her off for her first full (four-hour) day, I started in on the mommy-will-be-right-back thing again, and she rolled her eyes.


MAGGIE: Mommy. I. DON’T. CARE.


I think I’m supposed to be happy about this. However, she is TWO. Do you think she might have mustered up a sniffle or two for the woman who bore her, and for a full eleven days past her due date? Hello? Anything?