Your First Day of Kindergarten and Other, More Important Things

Dear Future Stella,

Current Stella started Kindergarten this past week, which shockingly, wasn’t the highlight. Don’t get me wrong, it was all the cliché stuff people always talk about and I promise I will get to that in a minute, but first my highlight. Back when we were first accepted at your new school I attended an event for new families. At this event they were selling school swag as a fundraiser. I purchased this gold glitter water cup for $10 that quickly became a little more important to me than Gail the Puppy.
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This cup went everywhere with me. All of a sudden I was drinking 120 ounces of water a day and peeing every 20 minutes. This surge in water drinking was due to the drought in California because I have always liked rare things and water is the hottest commodity right now. Its so endangered you have to ask for it at restaurants! That dude that killed that lion has nothing on how much water I took down over the summer.
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It feels naughty to drink so much of it when every single lawn is turning brown and water bills are sky-high. I never cared about it until all of a sudden it was scarce and drinking from a gold glitter 20-ounce cup all day long just shows the world that I give no fucks about the water shortage because I am parched and need to stay hydrated. Anyway, about a month ago my water cup was targeted by who I believe are water-rights activists and someone “accidentally dropped it” and shattered the lid. I tried glueing it back together but with all the moisture happening around the seal constantly it didn’t hold up. I called the school but it was summer break and the swag woman was on vacation. They wouldn’t disclose where she was specifically and they declined to give me her direct contact info. I was so thirsty and drinking from any ordinary cup just wasn’t the same. Fearing I was coming close to dehydration I turned to the internet. This damn cup was sold out or backordered everywhere. So needless to say, I couldn’t wait for school to start so I could get to drinking again. The principle assured me that the swag table would be set up on the first day of school. She was right, and I was able to purchase a new gold glitter water cup and that was the highlight of my week, if not my life. Now I just need to figure out how to add it to my will so this cup will split the pot with you and Gail the Puppy. Before you get all greedy, please note that most people have siblings they have to share with.

Anyway, I guess you want to hear about how your first day went? Let me just fill my water cup up and give Gail the Puppy her mid-morning massage and then I will get to telling the story.

It’s really insane how many moms have told me to take pictures with Current Stella on the first day of school and then continue to do it each year until college. I mean, no offense Moms, but duh- who doesn’t do this? I take pictures with Current Stella the first time she does anything, so, naturally, I was more than prepared to shoot some great shots of Current Stella on her first day of Kinder. Then the alarm went off and I panicked because I thought the house was on fire. It was so loud that the only possible explanation was our building was engulfed in flames. When I realized it was just Father Time telling me I need to wake up and get Little Stella off to school I was beyond irritated. Im not really sure what happened after that, except that I know that I was able to feed her and get her to school on time based not on my own recollection, but on this photo I later found on my phone. The waffle in her hand shows that breakfast happened, and the time stamp on the photo proves we made it on time.
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My memory picks up in fragments after that. I know that her BFF Tyler came to support her on this big day. I was able to snap a cute picture of the two of them. Future Stella, is Tyler still your ride or die? Thats what the young kids call their good friends in 2015.
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I was looking out at a shit load of tiny little Britneys from the Hit Me One More Time music video mixed in with an equal amount of XS-sized golfers and then an overwhelming number of older, emotionally unstable paparazzi circling the mini humans. Just as I was thinking about how strange my dreams have become I realized this was real life and those pint-sized popstars were actually just Catholic school girls and the cute country clubbers were the young Catholic school boys and the photogs were parents and right about the time the lucidity of the moment was beginning to wear off into reality is right when all the kids, Current Stella included, began to exit the gymnasium in one perfect single file line. I looked around for someone to complain to, a supervisor of sorts, because I didn’t sign up for this. We are not even Catholic and last I checked Stella doesn’t even know where the oyster fork goes so I just don’t understand how she could possible be wearing that plaid pleated jumper with a backpack on, I mean, has her spine even fused yet to support whatever is in there? Speaking of, what is in that backpack and why is it so large? Its literally the length of her body, which by the way, is ridiculously longer than when I checked 5 minutes ago when she was swaddled in a blanket with a pacifier in her mouth. Just like that, she was gone and off to go learn or cross herself or whatever it is that is done at Catholic School because according to a nice woman in the gym, I not only signed up for this but I paid for it too and there was substantial documentation supporting her argument that Current Stella is actually 5 and ready to attend school. Needless to say, besides the photo I took in my sleep of you on the bus on the way to school, and hugging Tyler outside, the only other photo I got of your first day of school was this one.
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After I left the gym the reality of my new freedom on my days off began to sink in and a slow mischievous smile began to emerge on my face. I could finally take that pole dancing class or have the time to become obsessed with something really obscure, like becoming a beekeeper, or I don’t know, begin to fill my refrigerator with other things besides baking soda and condiments. Just then, a sweet woman wearing a cardigan and pearls tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I would be attending the coffee in the Parish Hall. I smiled because I love coffee and I assumed Parish was some sort of Parisian Pastry Shop so I obliged and followed her sweet clean scent all the way to this basement looking place where there was indeed a carafe of coffee with some pound cake on a plastic tray. Not exactly Patisserie quality, but I was starving. It was then that I realized that I was being tricked into a room with no obvious exits and I was there not to meet friends and eat French delicacies but I was to sign up to volunteer for various things. 20 minutes later it dawns on me that I might have accidentally volunteered for a full time position at a Catholic School with no sick pay, stock options, or health insurance. Instead of spending my new free time teaching Gail The Puppy how to speak another language (I was thinking Mandarin) it appears I will now be doing one of the following:
*assisting children with their lunches (help eat goldfish and chicken nuggets)
*supervising them on the playground (gathering intel on who is a couple and who sucks)
*grading paperwork (Current Stella gets a A, the rest of the class gets a C)
*decorating school events (I still have a shitload of rainbow decor leftover from Current Stella’s Pride party and I think the Catholics will love that)

The woman with the clean-up crew clipboard was getting dangerously close to me so I needed to figure out an escape plan. I draw the line at cleaning up. I did that thing where you pretend you need to take a call and duck out. One of my co-workers, Emily, has a son entering 5th grade at Current Stella’s school and because we both took the day off of work (unpaid) to apparently sign up to do more work (unpaid) we decided we needed a drink. Never mind that it was barely past 9am. Tempted to put my champagne in my new gold glitter cup 2.0, I refrained and drank like a civilized mom on a Thursday morning.

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After school got out, we picked Current Stella up where we finally got some decent pictures (of the gold glitter cup mostly), took her bowling (she is terrible) then went to Off the Grid for dinner.

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Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you had your final Friday at Tacolicious with your Dad this past week. This is the first of many fun things that school or life will take a giant shit on. Welcome to the real world.

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Love,

Mom

Why I Needed a Summer Break Too

Dear Future Stella,

I didnt really tell you (or anyone) that I was going to take the summer off from writing this blog but it was not actually something I planned. At first, I thought I just needed to come up for air for a moment, maybe take a week off of writing while I got Current Stella ready to finish preschool. After that first week off Current Stella’s lazy summer vibes were quite contagious and the thought of Current Stella having 3 months off all her preschool responsibilities while my life continued on at full speed really didn’t sit well with me. That kid is just living the dream and I wanted in on that action. I tried to think of other things I could “take a break” from but none of them were realistic (wine) and most were inappropriate (wearing a bra). For example, I would have loved to take the summer off from my paying job as a hair colorist and instead bounce around to different all-inclusive resorts each week, a la Current Stella, because lets face it, thats basically what summer camps are, except camp is way more expensive and doesn’t last quite as long. However, if I didn’t work for just 3 months, sweet, little Gail The Puppy would end up homeless (along with the rest of us) and that just made my heart cry. I couldn’t do that to her. In fact, Gail the Puppy was the biggest motivating factor to why I decided I needed a break. She was starting to act like one of those attention-starved dogs that was raised by their dog walker, which is strange because we don’t have a dog walker. She needed more face time with me so I needed to eliminate something that was a total time suck but that wouldn’t result in any loss of revenue. Giving Current Stella up for adoption and taking a break from this blog were the only things that fit the bill. Ultimately, I chose to pause on the blog but I also cut out bedtime stories and home cooked meals for Current Stella. Both of those are pointless when we have a TV and a microwave. Gail needed me, and she still does, which is why I have decided, moving forward, to write to you only once a week. Maybe when Gail goes to college I will have more time to dedicate to this, but for now, she’s my priority. You understand, right?

A lot of things happened in the past 3 months so I wanted to give you a brief summary.

*Current Stella graduated from Preschool. To my knowledge, everyone graduated so this wasn’t that special. Here she was looking very amused.
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*Current Stella started receiving an allowance. She gets a whopping 6 bucks a week, $2 of which she is forced to save, $2 more she has to donate (apparently to your father when he runs out of cash) and she gets to spend the remaining $2 on whatever she wants. Her first purchase was a toy from Walgreens that, I believe, is for infants. It was in the budget though so Current Stella was stoked. She also bought a tragic looking doctor kit from the Midstate Fair and just a couple of days ago she used it to buy a wood airplane from the Ferry Building.
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*Current Stella and your Dad got matching fishing poles for Fathers Day. Yeah, I know, I am an incredibly awesome gift giver. Your Dad is just ridiculously amazing at being your Dad. I almost hate to acknowledge it on Father’s Day because the man doesn’t need any more paternal accolades.
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*Current Stella went to a Sports Camp in your Dad’s hometown of San Luis Obispo. She’s not exactly Sporty Spice, but this camp was a hit. She’s telling everyone it was her favorite part about her whole summer. Future Stella, if you didn’t receive some kind of full ride sports scholarship scenario for college or you are not currently a professional athlete then you have majorly failed as a human. Also, you better have a shit load of money in your save jar because, based on your enthusiasm for this camp, we have stopped contributing to your college fund and we now have quite the budget for Gail the Puppy’s future.
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*Your Grandma had a birthday on June 25. You were staying at her house at the time. I was supposed to dedicate an entire post to her, but her birthday fell during my hiatus. To be honest, she deserves an entire blog documenting what an amazingly wonderful Grandma she is. She’s the only person in your life who genuinely enjoys folding your laundry and cooking you meals. She also plays whatever you want, listens to your every word, and teaches you really useful shit like how to set a formal table. I was super pissed the other day when Current Stella didn’t know where the oyster fork goes, so if you are reading this Denise, you have a lot of work to do.

*We went to Oregon for the 4th of July, as per ushe. This is our annual summer hang. Current Stella loves it, I love it, Gail loves it- its a total hit. This year I found a fake piece of poop on the internet to put in my aunt’s pool to stress her out. Stressing out people you love is a must in life, Future Stella, please write that down. The only flaw was that the poop was waaaaay too big to be believable and it had the most unrealistic painted-on piece of corn so your G-ta didn’t go for it. However, nobody on Instagram seemed to notice when I posted this picture of all of us with the casual caption “pool time”
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Later, your Dad found a better use for the fake terd.
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Here is a great photo of Gail the Puppy on the 4th of July.
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*We spent some time at Lake Almanor on Grandpa’s boat. It rained and hailed and stormed for most of our trip but we managed to have a fantastic time because your family is super fun and I hope you never ever forget it. Here is our one and only family photo from the summer, taken at Lake Almanor.
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*Current Stella stayed at my parent’s house for 2 weeks without me. I would show you pictures of what your Dad and I were doing while you were gone but my site would get flagged. Current Stella was totally spoiled. She attended a local day camp, ate cotton candy multiple times, and generally got whatever she wanted. My parents were probably too embarrassed to document your stay so I don’t have any photos. Let me paint you a picture. The clock on the wall says 11pm, Current Stella is still in her bathing suit, and she has a lap full of sugary confections that she picked out from the bulk bins from the local candy store. She’s watching a movie (who knows or cares what it is rated) and she is displaying the biggest, most indulgent smile of the whole entire summer.

*Current Stella turned 5. Your cousin Katherine (a.k.a. Baby Kathy) turned 3. You guys were supposed to have a giant joint birthday party at the water park but it decided to storm like the world was ending so we had to improvise at my parent’s house. It was rainbow themed (#equality #lovewins) and I had spent an embarrassing amount of time collecting decorations for this party so I wasn’t about to let the biggest storm in 15 years rain all over it. When life gives you rain, you simply make rainbows. Lots of gay, colorful rainbows. All over your parents house. The result was the gayest (and I mean that both as an emotion and as a sexual orientation) event of the year.
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Look how cute Gail (and Phyllis) looked at your party
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*Your Uncle Ricky had a birthday. He’s the best, and I totally forgot about this day, both on the blog and in real life. He just sent Current Stella the sweetest “Good Luck in Kindergarten” card ever. He’s just the best and we miss him all the time!!

*Headline News Update: Current Stella is still best friends with Tyler. Phew. Not only did they spend a whole week doing “Styler Camp” but we actually went on a little weekend getaway with Tyler’s family. Here are a few fave moments with Tyler and her sisters.
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*Current Stella hung out a lot with my family from Florida. Its brutally hot during the summer in Florida, and generally freezing ass in San Francisco so our family likes to come and camp out here for a couple of months. If global warming is real, this should make absolutely no sense to you Future Stella, because based on current calculations, San Francisco is going to be a desert by the time you 25. The family that comes is my Aunt and Uncle (Steven and Janie) and they are overly, ridiculously nice to you. They took you all over the city and made it quite nice for me to live my life. My cousin, Lindsey, came out with her husband and their baby, Jake, who is about to turn 1. I am not sure what my kid is supposed to call my cousin’s kid- second cousin? I have no idea what he is to you, but you were super into him.
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*Gail The Puppy turned 1. Probably the event of the year. It also probably means that I have to drop the puppy when addressing her. I cannot do this. Just like those annoying moms, I am going to start using months when referring to her age. I just. Cannot. Say. Years. She’s 12 months old and still chewing the fuck out of everything we own so I would classify that as a puppy. She’s so delicious and I can’t imagine my life without her. Its mathematically impossible for her to be alive so pour some out for her when you read this. She was my whole heart and if you do not name your child after her then I will cut you out of the will. Im serious.
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*Your Tia had a birthday. It happened on the same day as Gail’s so I really didn’t get to focus so much on this. Gail is a rescue so her actual birth date is unknown but I chose my sister’s birthday on all the vet forms so I would actually remember my sister’s birthday. On one hand, I finally remember my own sister’s birthday, on the other, its also Gail’s birthday so I can’t really focus on anything else. Anyway, your Tia is the greatest of the great. She loves you like you are her own, even though she has 2 of her own. The 3 of you are so damn precious together I cannot stand it.
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All in all, it was a great summer. You start Kindergarten tomorrow. Holy Fucking fuck. Kindergarten. In a uniform and everything. With a backpack. Im totally fine with it….They don’t allow dogs at drop off so I will need to rush home to attend to Gail The 12 Month Old Puppy. I am not at all redirecting my emotions onto other, less important things. I will be generally concerned about Gail, sometimes when she is left alone it makes me cry. That is the only reason I will be crying tomorrow.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, my own words cannot possibly express what a great summer we have had. You continue to show me what it feels like to care about other human beings. The way you lounge all morning in your pajamas reminds me of the important things in life. The way you take on new groups of people and adventures like you did with all 3 summer camps without a peep of apprehension inspires me to attack life with the same excitement.

Love,

Mom