Throw back to Slytherin Baby’s first day of school last year
“I’m doing this for your own good,” I told Slytherin Baby who looked at me askance. “You’ll have lots of friends to play with.” Slytherin Baby threw her dolly on the floor in disgust. “You’ll have new toys to play with.” Slytherin Baby threw her dummy on the floor. “I promise, I’m only thinking of you. This is not so that mommy can have a few hours each morning to do some work and not lose her mind.”
“Lose her mind,” Slytherin Baby replied bending down to retrieve her dummy.
“Don’t repeat that at school please.”
“Repeat at school,” she chanted back at me, inspecting her dummy closely. “Wash the dummy!” She ordered holding it out to me.
“Yeah, I’m definitely sending you to school for you and not me.”
And so it was that Slytherin Baby was packed off to her first day of school. She eyed me doubtfully as I handed her over to The Teacher, but was successfully lured away with the promise of a dolly. I totally didn’t need the tissues The Teacher pressed on me as I left with a promise to Slytherin Baby that she would have a good day, I just had some dust in my eye.
“How did today go?” Himself asked that evening.
“Very well,” I replied. “I went to the shops and I finally managed to find a pair of shoes that aren’t slops. You know, to put in the back of the cupboard in the unlikely event the pandemic ever ends and I can go back into work.”
“I was actually talking about Slytherin Baby,” he said as she strode into the room.
“Who there? Daddy!” she roared, lunging for him.
“Ahh, well. She stayed at school long enough for me to go to the shops and buy a pair of shoes.”
“So, not great?” he asked. “Wait what did she just say?”
“She’s just going through a bit of pronoun confusion; ‘upy you’ means ‘pick me up’,” I explained. “I’m pretty sure…
“Did you have a good first day of school?” Himself gurgled at his daughter, who looked at him and pointed at the front door.
“Yeah, that’s what the school said,” I muttered. “Hopefully this won’t be the first of many days that she gets sent home.”
“Did she have a really bad day?” he asked bouncing her on his hip.
“No, she was actually very brave; she stayed nearly the whole day. She just needs to get used to it.”
“Go outside!” Slytherin Baby ordered.
“The Teacher says Slytherin Baby is ‘very verbally astute’,” I reported.
“‘Verbally astute’? That sounds good,” Himself replied, smiling at Slytherin Baby.
“Hmmm,” I murmured skeptically.
“Put down!” yelled Slytherin Baby, giving up on anyone actually taking her where she needed to go.
“She said that a lot today apparently,” I sighed.
“Isn’t verbally astute good?” he asked.
“It’s teacher talk; I happened to be fluent in teacher tal – ”
“Go outside!” interrupted Slytherin Baby, yelling at the closed door.
“And she also said that a lot today,” I muttered opening the door and catching her as she tripped on the door mat.
“So what does it mean?” Himself followed us out of the door and reached over to rescue an orchid from her snatching hands.
“It means she runs her mouth a lot.”
“Well, hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for her,”
“Yeah, hopefully,” I sighed. “I’m sure it’ll be better for Slytherin Baby too.”
As it turned out, Slytherin Baby stayed the full morning on her second morning.
“Brave girl!” exclaimed Himself.
“She was very brave,” I smiled.
“The Teacher!” sang Slytherin Baby and she leapt into Himself’s arms.
“No,” I explained. “That’s Daddy.”
Himself looked at me quizzically as Slytherin Baby inspected him, sighed, and then patted his rather hairy cheek in a conciliatory gesture.
“She adores her teacher. In fact, I think she has claimed The Teacher as her own personal property.”
“That’s good. She just needs to get used to the whole going to school thing. I mean she lasted the whole morning today,” Himself said.
“You’re right. Of course, we’ll just have to see how tomorrow goes when no one has a birthday and there aren’t any cupcakes.”
“Another early day?” Himself asked when phoned at lunchtime on the third day and heard what was either a feral cat attacking a parrot, or Slytherin Baby screeching in the background.
“The Teacher said she was a little teary, but overall, she had a good day. She just didn’t want to push it the first week,” I explained. “Which I mean makes sense, sometimes teachers just need to cry and the best thing to do is send the kids home.”
“Daddy?” said Slytherin Baby, snatching the phone from me. “Hello!” she yelled into the phone. “Hello!” She listened for a moment to her daddy telling her she was such a good girl, then pulled the phone away from her ear to inspect the screen.
“Ta for mommy!” I told her firmly, holding my hand out.
Slytherin Baby glanced at me, then went back to the phone. She pressed the big red button that shone up at her so invitingly.
“Slytherin Baby!” I exclaimed.
“Bye-bye!” she yelled at the screen before handing the phone back to me. “Lunch!”
“The Teacher,” Slytherin Baby said that evening as I rocked her to sleep.
“No, I’m mommy. You know, the one who gave birth to you.”
“The Teacher?” she repeated.
“Oh,” I suddenly understood. Every evening for the past three evenings I had told her she would be going to play with The Teacher when she woke up. “No. Tomorrow you’ll be staying with Mommy the whole day,” I explained, patting her back gently.
“Mommy,” Slytherin Baby said, reaching up to hook her arms around my neck.
“That’s right, your Mommy,” I murmured hugging her just a little bit closer.