The First Day of Kindergarten | September 1st 2016

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I wasn’t going to do it. I wasn’t going to write about your first day of school this year.  Each milestone I think to myself, “Am I going to document this? Do I need to? Will I document everything or will I stop at some point? What if I don’t have the energy to do the same for your brothers? Should I keep writing for you anyways?”  Apparently the answer is: this isn’t the year I stop.

You went to bed not terribly excited for kindergarten to start but certainly not upset about it either. Kind of just like any other night really. You woke up at two in the morning and got in bed with me. Again, not upset but perhaps a little nervous though you didn’t really let on.  I sent you back to bed but found you at 6:30am with your bedroom light on and your outfit that we laid out just slightly tweaked (black and white striped leggings instead of jeans...hmmm). For some reason you have entered the phase where you really want to wear patterns on patterns and it’s a little painful for me. I hope I don’t create some type of long lasting issues for you with my need for everything to match/coordinate.  You woke up on your own about two minutes before I was going to go wake you up. A win for the day because waking up naturally usually has you in a good mood, wake you a minute too soon and you’re a *teensy* bit sour for—a while. You’re first words to me were, “Mom! I really, really, REALLY want to go to Disneyland (pause) in Canada because it’s cold there and that’s were Elsa is!” All I could do is laugh and wonder where the heck you heard about Canada?!? (How I Met Your Mother maybe?) Much to my delight you and Max got ready without much fuss and we got out the door on time-ish--a true feat in the Bergantino household.  Halfway to school it started, the inevitable first day of school tears (for me not you) I started asking you questions really slowly so my voice wouldn’t crack, quizzing you on class rules, emergency information etc. You answered everything perfectly and with gusto which made me feel ever so slightly better about leaving you in a room full of STRANGERS (fine, other  5 year olds, whatever) for 6.5 hours. It’s just like, HOW! Could you ever function for that long without ME to guide you? Impossible. As we walked to the drop-off area I held your hand tightly and you asked me, “Mom, what are YOU going to do now?” “Well me and Max are just going to go home sweetie.” “Oh. I really don’t like that.”  And this is where is got extra hard because your bubbly, excited regular demeanor disappeared. A worried, anxious look replaced your smile and you stayed silent the rest of the way. We waited in line and I hugged you the whole time because you were cold. The sad look you gave me when you left with your class is literally haunting me. Still, I know you will be fine. You will be safe. You will snap out of it and have fun, make friends and learn. I am anxiously tapping my fingers on the table waiting until it’s time to pick you up. 3:17. The countdown is on. I’m torn with whether I hope you are relieved to see me and missed me as much as I missed you or if you didn’t give me a second thought as you were off to new things.

Just when I think I’m done crying and everything is good! What should I do? How should I be productive today? A fresh batch of tears finds their way to my eyes. I know we’ll find a routine, soon this will all be normal. But today it’s not. Today sucks. Today I packed my first lunchbox and took my first baby to Kindergarten. 

P.S. Max misses you too. He was delighted to see these photos. Pointing and shouting "SISSY! SISSY LIVIA! SISSY!"


I would like to note when asked "what do you want to be when you grow up?" you actually said: On Mondays I want to be a swim teacher, on Tuesdays and Fridays I'll be a doctor, on Wednesdays I'll be a building designer, on Thursdays I'll be a dentist and I also want to take photos of babies. I asked when you planned on taking a break and you said, "I'm going to take the summers off. Except for some days in the summer when I'm going to be a police officer." #ambitiousKinderKinderKinderKinderKinder

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First Day of Pre-K | September 14th 2015

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“I can’t believe I have to wake up this early.  *ON MY BIRTHDAY NO LESS*” I thought as I schlepped down the hall, eyes not quite fully open yet.  Today is your first day of Pre-K, a small but distinct difference from last year’s pre-school, this means a few things but most notably that next year you’ll be in kindergarten. All day long, five days a week. *SOB* As I open your door I see you laying there, curls a muss, long dark lashes resting on your cheeks, arms clutching Cupcake’s no-longer-stuffed neck. I rub your back and muster all the hushed excitement I can, “Olivia! It’s time to wake up! Today is the first day of school!” You rolled back and forth and back and forth again, with what must have been the world’s longest yawn. Looking a little confused—probably because you’re normally the one waking me up. You look up at me through barely cracked eyelids and lay your hand on my knee ever so gently and with your nose scrunched up in what would be a condescending way if you were an adult, “Can you just do this for me today mom, I’m a little too tired to wake up.”  An oddly familiar phrase—what can I say we aren’t morning people and my faked excitement fell flat. 

You did eventually get out of bed and as we got ready you chattered excitedly “What do my new friends look like?” “Can I pack a lunch in my Cinderella lunch box-or is that only for when it’s my turn to bring a snack?” “MOM! Today is you birthday! I’m going to make you a present because I love you SOOO much! I’m going to draw you a picture that is the most perfect, perfect, perfectest thing I can think of for you.”  I thought to myself, “You see this isn’t so bad, this is exciting and fun and not sad at all! I’m doing it! I’m keeping it together. Pro status confirmed.”  Fast forward 2 minutes and 15 seconds later in the car, when a lump appears in my throat. You know, the kind where all of a sudden you can’t get air to your lungs. That’s when I realize my brain had been tricking me and this first day of school business is never going to be easy or fun.   

richland pre k richland pre krichland pre krichland pre k

As we pulled in, you said, ““I’m going to miss Ms. Christy and Ms. Brooke.” As I unbuckled you in the parking lot you asked for a kiss, as I unbuckled your brother you told me, “Mom, I think I might need another kiss.”  Anytime baby, as I worry that maybe you aren’t that excited and maybe you too are a little nervous.  That thought quickly disappeared as you ran into your new classroom, up to your never-before-seen teachers and excitedly showed each of them your pink sparkly nails, found your seat and started coloring without so much as looking back.

While a little sad—This year I didn’t publicly bawl my eyes out as I’m armed with the knowledge that:

1.  You’re so much cooler than I ever was—so confident, and out-going. You’re going to be fine, have fun, make friends and learn a ton. Without a doubt.

2. By day two , maybe day three I too will be excited, running out the door and not looking back.

3.Your brother just pooped and OMG I have to get him out of here before anyone dies.

You’ve consistently told us you want to be “A Star” when you grow up and we laugh because WHERE do you get these things!?!? While simultaneously trying not to gag because ugh. Hopefully that “star” changes from a noun to an adjective. 

richland pre k

This is all the sappy stuff I have time for this morning--just as I was rationalizing, “At least I’ll get a little peace and quiet!” Your brother learned how to say Mom, so, so much for that.  Shine bright my little star.


Shamless. First Day of School and Birthday Girl selfies. 


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The Last Day of Preschool | May 20, 2015

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I pulled your white shirt over your head then pulled you in and squeezed you tight, taking in the last of the squishiness still in your cheeks and the not-for-much-longer baby smell of your crazy curls, “MOOOOOMMMM,  why are you hugging me so much today?” you whined. “Sorry baby, I’m just a little bit sad that you’re growing up way too fast.” “it’s ok mom I’ll still love you when I’m a grown up.” “You will?” You nod. “Do you promise?” You nod again. “Ok then, do what you have to do.”

HulaCan you Hula Dance??

You’ve learned so much in your first year of preschool, like really-- so much. Not only did you learn things like how to write your name and which animals are nocturnal you learned how to sit and listen and follow rules and to not hit other kids because they want to play with a toy you’re playing with. You made friends, you played tag, hide and go seek and something called, “cannon ball drop”??? You even had your first crush; you know the kind where you chase, hit and tease and then talk about them all the time because you extra like them although you’d never admit it. I just can’t even. Hula2Hula 3Heck ya I can!

You’ve grown (three inches to be exact) but one thing definitely hasn’t changed, you are CRAZY. CRAZY friendly; there isn’t a baby whose belly you haven’t tickled or a classmate you haven’t bear hugged into a pile on the floor. CRAZY smart; the things you tell me on a daily basis shock and amaze me. CRAZY hilarious; again the things you tell me on a daily basis shock and amaze me and take years off my life in laughter. “Hey mom, I have a joke for you! For lunch I’m going to eat apples and alligators” as your nose scrunches up, your eyes close and you cover your mouth in a fit of giggles. Classic. You’re CRAZY beautiful; we still don’t know where your crazy curls come from but we know your chocolatey eyes are from your dad. The list goes on and on: sweet, kind, polite, fun, stubborn, bossy, “fashionable” etc, etc.Hula4It has been such a blessing to watch your little personality develop this year. I see so much of me in you, like how you get upset if you don’t trace a letter perfectly and how when you’re coloring you have a vision and if you want the heart to be two colors instead of three no one is going to change your mind. That’s so me. I see so much of your dad in you, you are entirely too set in your ways for being just three (and a half) years old. That’s so him. You’re a beautiful concoction of both of us but you are YOU. You brighten our lives in ways we didn’t even know possible. I hope you always march to the beat of your own drum beautiful girl because you have a pretty awesome beat.Hula5

Hula 6Sometime saying goodbye is hard but saying hello to summer with Finnegan Frost is the best :)

All photos ©Amanda Bergantino Photography

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