Play a song for me

Dear Ms. Preschool Teacher,

I’m so relieved that today went smoothly. I was a tad nervous after last week’s tearful playdates in the classroom, but today—wow! I can hardly believe Smiley and I didn’t cry on his first day of preschool.

Thanks for suggesting I bring his blankie this first week. I was not convinced it would be a good idea, given my mild germaphobia and past history with lost blankets. But he did like bringing it along and I’m glad it helped the transition.

To be completely honest, I planned to bring his favorite spatula instead of the blanket. I mean, you said we should bring any beloved object and he does love that cute red Williams-Sonoma one, plus it’s way easier to clean…but I would have hated for him to get labeled as That Kid so early in his school career. So the blanket it was. And it worked…yay!

In the all the craziness of this past week, I haven’t had a chance to tell you a few things about Smiley that might make your job a little easier.

Besides books, blankets and red spatulas, music is the key to soothing my little guy. When you catch him pointing to the counter saying “de, de, de” that means he hopes you have an iPod up there and that you will turn it on and dance with him. This kid loves to dance, but only when he’s being held. We waltz, two-step and shake our butts just about every day in our little kitchen.

Smiley’s favorite song is about Dora. No, not that Dora, sheesh. What kind of Mom do you think I am? I’m talking about the Dora who is going to town in Andrew Bird’s song. Play this bouncy gem and you are guaranteed smiles.

When we are feeling even friskier, we shake it to Black Joe Lewis’ Sugarfoot. I’m not sure it’s appropriate for a church preschool, but at home we just gloss over the lyrics because damn it’s a super fun song!

To slow things down, it’s the Avett Brothers all the way. We are both partial to Pretty Girl from Annapolis, but Smiley will listen to just about any of their songs if he can cozy up on my shoulder and stare at himself in the glass door of our microwave.

Speaking of cuddling, can I make a special request? I hate to get all territorial in our first week, but can you please not dance with him to Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man. You see, that’s our song. And the moment it comes on—no matter if we are in the car or house or grocery store—Smiley’s arms bolt up in a Pick Me Up Now!! motion. I can't help but oblige. He lays his head on my shoulder and sighs. When the harmonica heats up he presses into me. Then just as Dylan sings, “Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free...” I swear I feel the weight leave his body and mine.

It’s pretty awesome, really. And sorry, but it’s all mine.

You can have every other song and even the red spatula, but please, hands off the tambourine.

Sincerely, Liz (Smiley’s Mom)

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Speaking of music, we have a new favorite album in our house. It’s full of fun kid- and parent-friendly tunes, but best of all the profits go to a great cause. Read more about it here…and buy it here.