One thing I like about CJ’s new preschool is the way that they handle dropoff. As soon as she walks in, they engage her in conversation (“What’s your doll’s name?”) so I can disappear without a lot of fuss.

This contrasts with the procedure at Community Center childcare, where by the end of the summer things had spiraled out of control. I brought CJ in one day in July, and she started to cry when I turned to leave. She told me she’d be better after another hug and kiss, and sometimes that worked but this time it made no difference. I told her I had to go, and she played her trump card. “I have to go potty!”

“Miss Cristina can take you,” I said.

“No, you take me.”

I looked at Miss Cristina, and we both spoke at once. “We’ll both take you to the bathroom,” we said, “but only Miss Cristina will take you back.” She agreed, and that was how I found myself standing in a bathroom at nine in the morning, with two persons of the opposite sex, one of them on the toilet, and both doors open. No one seemed to think this was a problem except me.

Around noon I returned to the Community Center to swim. I sat at the edge of the pool, slipped on my goggles. Then from the kiddie pool behind me I heard a familiar voice.

“Daddy?” it said.

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