Weevy’s been to three days of school so far, and Tuesday was the first day I was allowed to leave the room. As instructed, I went up to her, gave her a big hug, and said “Daddy’s going out for a little while, but I’ll see you very soon, OK?” She was busy with the Play-Doh and barely looked up. “Daddy work?” she asked. (Her explanation whenever she can’t see someone is that they’re either sleeping or at work.) “That’s right, Daddy work.”
I was shuttled into a hallway/parents’ holding pen, where there were a bunch of moms, a few nannies, and one other dad. Of course, his kid’s nanny was in the room with the kid, and he left in short order to go to work. I felt a little ostracized — cliques were already forming — but I managed to make conversation with a few moms before I turned my attention to the iPhone, on which the wife was texting me with questions like “Does she look cuter than all the other kids?” I have no idea how I handled myself in social situations pre-iPhone.
After what seemed like an eternity but was only about an hour, we were herded back into the classroom, where I found Weevy sobbing — I think, or hope, that it’s because I was one of the last parents to come back in. You know, the whole ‘ladies first” thing. As soon as she saw me, she stopped crying, and as I scooped her into my arms, she exclaimed, “Daddy came back!” And for the next hour or so, it was “Daddy came back!” on endless loop, with the occasional description of the situation — “Cry? Water eyes? Daddy came back! Happy?” (She phrases most of her words like questions.)
At home later on, she asked me for a wipe to clean her hands. “Wipe wipe wipe?” I’d never heard her say that before. “Is that what they taught you to say in school?” “Yes?” Holy shit, I’d MISSED something! I mean, I haven’t been there for every waking moment of her life, but when I wasn’t around, my wife or in-laws were there. This was the first thing which Weevy had to tell me about herself. I don’t know if I like this.