Of Second Birthdays & Feral Noodles
Preshus Photo Weekend Round-Up #24045831233

Pomp & Faceplants

I believe I have discovered THE biggest difference between life with a singleton firstborn and what it's like by the time you're on your third.

When Noah's preschool sent home announcements about parties and other special events, Jason and I would both immediately clear our calendars and charge up the camera batteries. And the backup camera batteries. I chaperoned every class trip, never missed a field day and have dozens and dozens of photos of him eating cupcakes with his classmates, none of whom I remember the names of anymore. But it was all nothing but magical preshus memories and dammit, I was going to be there for every single one of them, even if it killed me or got me fired from all the things. 

The concessions started when it was Ezra's turn to start school. Usually only one of us could attend the parties or picnics, though thankfully his school never had as many as Noah's. (Or maybe it did, and I simply got lazier about checking his various backpacks and hoard-boxes for notes and missed them all.) We had an informal sliding scale of parental priority: An IEP meeting was worth both of us taking an afternoon off; a parent-teacher conference to discuss a three-year-old Ezra's fingerpainting skills probably only needed one of us there. I couldn't chaperone Noah's trip to the zoo this year — something I think he's still bent out of shape about — and I missed everybody's Valentine's Day parties but damn it, I showed up at not one, but TWO Halloween parades. At different schools AND times! Give me some credit.

And then Ike's school sent this home and I was just like ggguuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhh.


A toddler "graduation" parade. For two and three year olds. Around a parking lot.

Instead of being UTTERLY DELIGHTED BY THE WHIMSY OF IT ALL — all I could think about was how I was totally getting ripped off here; it's the last day of school, keep him there until noon like I done paid you for, dammit. 

But of course, I went. I jumped off a conference call at 10:45 because yeah, I have to go to a graduation parade for my two year old WHO IS NOT ACTUALLY GRADUATING, HE'LL BE IN THIS EXACT SAME CLASS NEXT YEAR, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO BRING THIS UP AT MY ANNUAL PERFORMANCE REVIEW AS WELL.

I went because I didn't want Ike to be the ONE toddler there without a parent present. However, he was one of only TWO toddlers who didn't have both parents present, and one of maybe FOUR toddlers who didn't have both parents and at least one set of grandparents and maybe some aunts and uncles present. Whuuut. A lot of them dressed up for the occasion, everybody brought SLR cameras and a few people brought flowers for their little graduates. 

(Buncha overachieving rookies, if you ask me.)

(Well, except for the families who had clearly brought along multiple older siblings. Those people were just...my betters.)

So there I was, by myself, with a half-charged iPhone, waiting for my non-graduating two year old to emerge from his classroom and march around a suburban church's parking lot.

He came out, looking pretty baffled, holding tightly onto a beaded rope for proper parking-lot safety...and then promptly bit it on the asphalt after about 10 feet. BABY DOWN. WE HAVE A BABY DOWN!

To his credit, he never let go of his bead (because RULES), but instead kind of...lay there like flipped-over turtle for a minute, unable to stand back up because of the death-grip he had on the rope. The kids ahead of him struggled to comprehend why the rope wasn't moving anymore and the kids behind him tried not to step on him and end up in a massive toddler pile-up.

I stood on the sidelines, unsure whether I should...intervene? Go to him? Or would that disrupt these Very Formal Graduation Proceedings too much? So I just flapped my hands and shout-whispered "IKE! IKE! STAND UP IKE!" until a teacher noticed and helped him up.

"That one's mine," I said proudly to the dad standing next to me. 

He wasn't hurt in the slightest, and for a second it seemed like Ike was going to make a full recovery from the faceplant.


But then...


Uh oh.


Oh dear.


Aaaaaand it basically went on like that from there. 

We all followed the kids around the parking lot in a Giant Parental Horde, cheering and snapping pictures and shooting video, like some kind of bizarre reverse Pied Piper scenario, while Ike bleated for me and I tried to give him smiles and thumbs up and assurances that lo, I WOULD RESCUE HIM SOON. JUST HOLD IT TOGETHER FOR LIKE, 20 MORE FEET.

His crying turned out to be contagious, and by the end of the "parade" there were at least three other children sobbing in confusion. 



It was, of course, completely hilarious, heartbreaking and mighty adorable all at the same time. I'm so glad I got to go.

Congratulations, Ike! Just think, this time next year they'll probably make you do it all over again. 



hilarious. I just did that silent shaking laugh you do when your office door is open and there are people sitting just outside it listening to a seminar. The consolation is that Ike will never remember it, and you will still always have the memory (and the pictures). *fistbump* (lol)


I laughed so hard at this post.


OMG, so funny. My son is 9 and still gives us the guilt about coming to the end of the year parties. And this year is the recorder concert...painful.


that is adorable. A twice-in-a lifetime experience!

Mom in Two Cultures

Poor Ike. I lol-ed, in a hospital waiting room, no less.

Jessica V.

Oh - so cute, and heartbreaking! I snorted at this post - totally been there. This year, my 4.5 year old is "graduating" (with a ceremony, caps and gowns!) from his preschool to go to developmental kinder at another school, which is basically...just another year of preschool. Sadly, we'll be on vacation so we are missing the pomp and circumstance. ;-)


I'd really like to know about the paper hats. Were those in lieu of honor roll stoles? :) Having recently survived a 5th grade graduation (In my day, you only graduated from high school and college. Get off my lawn!) I feel your pain.


HAHAHAHHAAAAAA!!!! Words fail me! I snorted! I giggled! My eyes watered! I wheezed at my desk!

Poor confused babies!


Jess Z.

Poor Ike...but this was just hilarious! Tears in my eyes laughing! I don't get the preschool graduation thing either.


Poor Artist-Formerly-Known-As-Baby Ike!

..please tell me the toddler graduation is a DC-area thing. Please.


On Friday June 14th, both of my older boys have field trips... at the same time... in completely different locations.

On Friday June 21st they again both events - the preschool graduation and the class open house.

I am so weary of Preshus Memories, and I have a third one who won't even start preschool for another two years! I'll be standing there with my half-dead camera battery FOREVER!

Those pictures are kind of awesome.


Hilarious! Poor Ike! You know he cried because MAMA. You are too hilarious and he is just adorable.


Seriously, hilarious. I tend to check your blog at work and now I'm trying to not laugh like an idiot. Must contain self. Must look like I am working.


As a fellow DC metro area resident, thank you for that! I'm not looking forward to those...and yet...how can we not go?


OMG. Seriously laughed out loud. Tried to contain it so co-worker would not think I was losing it, but then...I lost it. Snort. Giggle, gaffaw, tears. The whole works. Congrats to Ike. May he be better prepared for next year. Heh.


Yes! The tiny goldi-locks cherub showed them all what a toddler really is! :D


Oh poor Ike. I did laugh though, since he's ok. I needed this as I'm at home from work with a toddler who was sent home from daycare with the runs. I needed to smile.


Ohhhhhhh... Do I ever feel you on the "Whaaaa?? Graduation?" thing. Our son's preschool graduation is at 10 am tomorrow; then our daughter's elementary school graduation is at 1. We can't attend my nephew's middle-school graduation because it is also at 1.

These memories better be Damn Preshus. Is all I'm sayin'. And now I need to go put batteries in the camera and make sure the card/disk/thingy that holds the photos is in there. Because last time we tried to record Preshus Memreez, we discovered it wasn't.


I also LOL'd! Toddler graduation! Too much! Heh.


I have a royal purple cap & gown from preschool graduation 5 years ago for sale. They charged us something like $30, $40 maybe. I simply can't throw out that preshus memory.


You're still better than me. I am apparently the very lazy parent of a singleton. And I'm mostly a SAHM, so its not like I'm taking off work. But, seriously, the child goes to school 8 hours a week. The only 8 hours that she is not with me, and for which I pay plenty of money. Why is it that at least once a month there is a day that has mandatory parent participation? And I don't mean for the last hour, I mean the entire morning. I'm happy to go in for the end of year party and the big Bike Fest, but after that its overkill.(Though, my husband cheerfully does not take off work, because hello that's why we have one parent at home. I do not need to go to the preschool conference for our precocious 2 1/2 year old much less a party or 'do and learn day' or whatever the heck we're being called in for this time.)

Sassy Apple

Good times! If you want to laugh as hard as you've made us laugh, go read the Hatmaker blog post on 'End of the School Year Parenting.' I PROMISE it's worth it!


Aw, poor little Ike! Had Jacob been in school at 2, this would have been us. Exactly! However, I must be super, super lucky that his current preschool does not have parent teacher conferences AND since he is not going to Kindergarten next year, he did not get to attend graduation. BOOYAH!


I attended both of the year-end celebrations for my daughter's preschool (one each year, not two in one year!) with just my son. I felt like the biggest, laziest jerk - everyone else had grandparents, both parents, older siblings (?!?) and aunts and uncles. I would like to know how one can go about convincing family to take at least a half-day off from work to attend a graduation ceremony from PRESCHOOL.


You are so much more good humored about these things than I am. I get nothing but cranky at the school's assumptions that there is a parent at home eating bon bons all day just HOPING for something, ANYTHING, going on at the school that will require her presence. Seriously. In the last two weeks of school: a picnic, field day, and a teacher gift presentation--all on different days x 2 children. Not to mention field trips to chaperone and poetry readings to attend.

You are nothing but awesome for being able to photograph this event!

Suzy Q

Too funny!

I do NOT understand the multiple "graduations" kids go through now. There should be only two: high school and college. And grad school if you're a smarty.


For Ike's sake and your sanity when he turns into a teenager, when next year rolls around, don't say "Well that's the last Toddler Graduation I will have to attend/endure.

This coming from the youngest child. By the time high school graduation came around, I wanted to slit my mother's throat.


Laughed until I cried at this! Go Ike!


I'm just pleased as punch he completed the necessary credits for graduation. Go Ike!


I am dying of laughter over here. So glad my husband is not around to judge. LOVED this post. Uh, sorry, Ike - congrats on your big achievement!


I almost kissed my son's Kindergarten teacher (on the mouth) when she told us they did not have kindergarten graduation at his elementary school-and we live in the DC burbs-land of completely pointless graduation ceremonies. We skipped last year's pre-k graduation because we weren't forking over 25 bucks for a "cap and gown" for that one. My poor firstborn!son has two "get off my lawn" parents who don't believe in graduation ceremonies when they aren't actually going anywhere.


I almost kissed my son's Kindergarten teacher (on the mouth) when she told us they did not have kindergarten graduation at his elementary school-and we live in the DC burbs-land of completely pointless graduation ceremonies. We skipped last year's pre-k graduation because we weren't forking over 25 bucks for a "cap and gown" for that one. My poor firstborn!son has two "get off my lawn" parents who don't believe in graduation ceremonies when they aren't actually going anywhere.


Hah! This made me laugh out loud, and then I actually had to read it to my husband, who, to my satisfaction, laughed as well. This completely reflects how I feel about school events.


My preshus memories came in the form of a $23 hardbound yearbook to immortalize my daughter's second year of preschool. She has two more to go. Everyone else in the class was all, the memories! Are precious! Me, not so much. (Althoughmy eldest did graduate from there last year, with a charming little cheap cap.$25 for a cap and gtown, no freaking way.)


UGh, maybe I'm bitter or mean, but I HATE any kind of "graduation" other than High school or college. Seriously, you should not have a graduation for every freaking year. Let them work and actually achieve something before all the pomp and circumstance. This must all be something new because my kid didn't have pre-school graduations. Or maybe it's regional;? But my younger one had an 8th grade graduation (catholic school) which I thought was ridiculous.


The one of him looking back at you like "Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave me NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" has me cracking up. Zaid has a "ceremony" next Friday at 10:30. That is the day after Zoe has a day-long trip to Jamestown (that was supposed to be today but Tropical Storm Andrea tryingta mess shit up in VA). There is no way I can make it to his the day after. My husband is all Mr. Incredible about it "it's not a graduation. He is moving from the 4th grade to the 5th grade" (except for us he's moving from PK-3 to PK-4).

And I really want to go.


@Val - oh trust me, when the time comes for Ike to actually graduate something, I'll be the one crying like a loon because IT'S THE LAST PRESCHOOL GRADUATION I'LL EVER GET TO GO TO WAAAHHHH STOP GROWING BABY NOOOO.


This would be my child, crying because "Why are you over there mom and I am stuck over here holding this string"?

Dare I say: I'm glad they were confused and crying, because they have no idea why they are doing that parade and therefore it is just dumb. At least preschoolers "get it".

Plano Mom

Just finished my second 8th grade graduation. Thanks for reminding me how silly and yet adorable it was back then.


Like many others, I had to stifle my office laughter. I have a little curly red haired girl just a little younger than Ike who would have done the EXACT same thing, although I'm not confident that she would have hung onto the rope. She's a boundary pusher, that one!


OK, how is he so stinking cute even when he's crying? And more important - where did you get those overalls? WANT!!!


Heh. My two year old didn't have a graduation, though she got to watch her 4yo sister "graduate", while crying on the other side of the fence, because I was there but not holding her.


I love this story almost as much as I loved traumatizing my own toddler at the zoo/safari ride outside of Youngstown last weekend.


i felt horrible for belly laughing the ENTIRE time i read that post. but thanks for the ab workout all the same.

(oh, and congrats on the graduation [?!] ike!)


I don't understand all these graduation ceremonies either. My friend's first-grader was named "valedictorian" of her class...her FIRST-GRADE class. Really???


Ha. Every year at my son's preschool they had a Halloween Parade, which I referred to as the "trail of tears", because it was always a chaotic, tear-sodden disaster.


Bizarre graduations from anything other than high school are one of the things I'm sincerely hoping my school system does not do. It just doesn't make any sense to me. So far we are preschool graduation free, so here's hoping!


Question as a non child owner: are some of those kids graduating from...the Klan?


I laughed all the way through this, especially at the end with the pictures. Also, a toddler graduation parade is fucking ridiculous!


OMG this was such a funny post! Graduation, marching around parking lot. Why didn't all the kids get hats, lol... What a little cutie, I love how he never let go of the rope. Go Ike!!


Here enters the obligatory Explainer of this batch of comments!

I am a preschool teacher, and a lot of what we are expected (and often obligated) to do is create a kajillion school-family connection gatherings/opportunities throughout the year, i.e. make sure families feel like A Part of the Classroom, and have lots of chances to participate and interact with the school and the classroom. This is not because we think that parents are chilling at home watching Days of our Lives and drinking white zinfandel while their kids are at school, I assure you!
Aside from parent-teacher conferences (which really ARE important, especially if your child has any delays or issues that need to be brought to the parents' attention), no one is going to judge you if you can't make one of the events. We understand that working parents have to BE AT WORK, and we understand that stay-at-home parents have other obligations as well!
One of the home-school connection opportunities we are always encouraged (read: totally obligated) to do is an end-of-year celebration, which inevitably becomes a "graduation" to the next classroom.

I assure you that I am not commenting to be a pill! This post was HILARIOUS, and I totally understand all the comments and sentiments from parents. I just want you to know that somewhere at the heart of all the gatherings is an effort to make families feel like a part of the learning community, and to help families meet each OTHER and connect that way.
It is not ALWAYS just so we can make you miss work so we can parade your children around on a fishing line. :)


Your posts make me almost wish I had kids.


Very funny! Nearly laughed out loud at work. :)

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