Tula, Tula, Tula.
I've mentioned before that she is a force of nature. And she is. (They all are, really.) But, she is a tornado you want to cuddle with. A tsunami with a huge heart. A bull in a china shop with the most adorable giggle.
She started preschool in September. It's only one day a week, like a starter preschool, and before she started all the teachers were saying, "Oh Tula is so ready for school! She'll love it!" We all thought that because, Tula - she is a doer. She does not cling to my leg and hang back to wait for me to tell her what to do. She does not wait for anyone to tell her what to do, she just does things. She jumps off tables before telling you to catch her. She runs down busy streets after escaping in the morning because she's trying to "go for walk with daddy". She sneaks out the hidden door in the museum and ends up on a completely different floor and roams the dinosaurs with a man she later called "the daddy who found me". She takes off in the grocery store and before I can even say, "Tula, where are you?!" she has made it across the store to the bakery section and has pounded like, at least seven donuts. And she never even paid for them!
While I tried to set the kids up for a picture, so proud of myself for taking them out to the grocery store in the middle of snow storm, Tula took the opportunity to get the heck out of dodge.
And then she got even further away.
I briefly thought this was going to be the picture I gave to the police. "She went that way!" I'd scream. "Look for her to the left! No, my left!"
But not only is Tula a spitfire, she is also never going to be what you'd expect. I expected I would drop her off at preschool and she'd be all, "Bye Mom! . . . . FOREVER," and then would hitchhike to Mexico and start an abalone diving business.
But that wasn't what happened. Turns out she wasn't cool with it.
Not. At. All.
She was so upset and crying so hard. And it didn't blow over. And then it didn't blow over some more. She just kept getting more scared and sad and I tried everything to get her distracted and playing. But then she turned her head to me with her gorgeous bright blue eyes, filled with tears, and said, "I come home with you? I get in the car. I come home with you?" And I was LITERALLY about two seconds away from saying, "Yes. You don't have to stay at this awful place! Come with Mama forever!" But I didn't get a chance because one of her teachers pried her out of my arms and said, "Come on Tula, let's read." And then they pushed me out the door.
And I just stood there in the hallway listening to my baby girl - my tiny, fiesty two year old with a vengeance - scream her bloody head off.
One of the other moms came up to me and said, "Please tell me that's not your daughter screaming." And I started to cry and snotted something about how maybe she's too little, and I should go save her. And then the mom said, "Oh honey, you can't stand here listening to this. Go home. Go home right now." And then she pushed me out the door.
I went home and was miserable, and was convinced I was the worst mother in the world for letting my terrified daughter watch me just walk away from her while she was pretty sure I'd just abandoned her in Siberia. It was the longest three hours of my life.
When I went to pick her up she was happy and fine. A little weepy and clingy, but smiling and showing me the toys.
And then both teachers came up to me at once. Which is never a good thing. That's like being called into the principals office. Turns out, Tula cried and screamed for a good 20-30 minutes and then after her rage, she just up and fell asleep in the middle of the classroom.
She FELL ASLEEP. In a room full of very loud two year olds.
I was so shocked that I started laughing hysterically at the implausibility. Like, I could not control my laughter. This is a girl who takes hours to fall asleep at night because she is wound so tight with energy she can't settle herself down.
And she didn't just sleep for like five minutes. She took a good forty, forty-five minute nap at 9:30 in the morning.
So that was weird.
Because no one wants their daughter to pass out from sheer exhaustion of panic and rage, only to have twenty tiny humans stepping over her on their way to the craft tables, and fish feeding time.
But she did.
And the next time was not so great either.
And neither was the time after that.
But then by like the 4th time she suddenly was ok. She wanted me to cuddle her on the chair for a few minutes and then she was off playing. And today when I dropped her off she walked in and said, "Ok Mom, I see you later!" smiled and was gone. Just like that.
And that broke my heart too. In a great way.
I'm pretty sure I'll be sleeping right next to her on the floor of her dorm room when she starts college, just until she gets settled in. And that is fine with me. Weird for her roommate, but just fine with me.
Or maybe I won't. Maybe she'll move in by herself and call me when she gets there and will tell me how much she loves it. Either way, it'll be awesome. Either way, it'll be Tula.