Mackenzie’s 1st Day of Pre-Preschool (a Beautiful Disaster)

I feel like it was just yesterday we were taking Abby to her first day of pre-preschool (and Mac practically looked like a baby – check it out).  Shockingly enough, that was 8 months ago and what really happened yesterday was Mackenzie’s 2nd birthday celebration. How is that possible?


I say this all too often, but time really is flying. Goodness gracious…Travis and I have only known each other for just over six years and this is our life!?

We’re so lucky. But I digress…

Today was Mac’s first official day of pre-preschool.


And while she’s been asking to go to school since Abby started, she had to wait until she was two…so today was the big day.  It was her big debut.  And it was funny, because the only reason she was really excited about even having a birthday yesterday was because it meant she got to take her lunchbox to school.  This girl has been DYING to take her lunchbox to school.  Today her dream came true and she wasn’t about to let anyone else carry her lunch for her. She carried it from the house, to the car, up the stairs at school, and then she placed it “perfectly” in her lunchbox cubby.  She is OBSESSED with her lunch box.



There was nothing but excitement around the house this morning. Abby was excited to show Mac around her old classroom. Mac was excited about finally unveiling her lunchbox.  I was excited to push a single BOB three miles around Lake Merritt instead of a double BOB (and I’m happy to say my run was over 3 minutes faster than usual). And Travis was excited that it was Monday so he could go back to work and communicate with adults again (I’m kidding on this one…but I bet it’s partially true). 😉

All the excitement continued when Mackie (her new nickname) confidently marched up the stairs to her “Little Angels” class.


Abby insisted on dropping her off to show her around and Mac was thrilled. She dropped her lunchbox off and followed Abby all around. She got the grand tour. It started at the bathroom and ended at the play kitchen (and there were zero stops anywhere else…apparently those were the only two places that mattered).


We (I) chose to ignore the fact that Mac’s name was spelled incorrectly on her cubby (McKenzie), and after attempting to say goodbye multiple times to an already way too cool for school Mac, I was basically kicked out of the room by the head teacher (I swear I’m the furthest thing from a helicopter parent, but I was certainly lingering longer than necessary).

I left. Mac was happy. She was busy. Abby was ready for school. I was ready for my run with Caroline. So I drove away. I ran. I went home. I showered.

And then the call came.

It was the call I was expecting (because they always call on your kid’s first day of school to let you know how things are going). When they called on Abby’s first day of school, they said she was having a great time. She had already made a friend. They were holding hands.

I expected the same report about Mac.

I was wrong.

SO wrong.

I was told Mac was having a really, really hard time. That after about 30 minutes, she realized I wasn’t there. Abby wasn’t there. Baba (her lovey) wasn’t there. She was in a new place, all alone. The excitement over her lunchbox must have faded. The reality set in. I was told she hadn’t actually cried, but she was very “stiff.” AKA – Mac was ANGRY. She didn’t want to be touched. Or talked to. Or anything.

And I felt SO guilty. And so sad. And I cried. Was it too soon? Is she too young?

I wanted to rush to the school and give her a hug. I know Mac. It takes her time to warm up. She has a temper. She speaks firmly. She doesn’t really like hugs unless she’s exhausted and wants to snuggle, or she’s getting one from Abby, or Daddy’s home from work, or she’s with Gappy (my Dad). She knows what she wants and always, always has. She also knows what she doesn’t want…and school was definitely on that list this morning.

Gosh, and as much as I wanted to pick her up super early, I didn’t. I was approximately 7 minutes early. I was anticipating hearing Mac’s cry from the car. Thankfully, I didn’t. I was also expecting to hear her cry the moment I stepped into the room. I didn’t. I was greeted by her teacher – the teacher I talked with on the phone. Very calmly she said, “All it took was lunch. Once she had lunch, she was fine. She calmed down. She was happy. She was engaged.”

It was her lunchbox. It was always the lunchbox.

When I peeked around the corner of the room, I saw an extremely curious and content Mackenzie (or McKenzie). She was listening to a story. She was talking to a friend. She was opening filing cabinets she wasn’t supposed to. She was being Mac.

And once her story was over, she saw me. And Caroline. And Baba. And she lit up. She was so excited. I kind of wanted to cry again. But then she saw her lunchbox. And she lit up even more.

“My lunchbox!”


According to Mackenzie, she had the best 1st day ever. And honestly, that’s all that really matters to me.


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12 Responses

  1. Ciara says:

    oh my gosh – I totally teared up reading this post! Brought back those same memories from my little one’s first day last year and soon my second will go too just like Mac. Ahhh even though you know it’s the right thing and they will love it and grow, it can be so hard to ride out the initial transition. What a brave happy girl and strong mama for hanging in there!!! And sounds like a magic lunchbox 🙂

    • 7x7xMommy says:

      The crazy thing is that I teared up again today when I dropped her off…it’s so hard!! But you’re right, it’s definitely the right thing and thankfully her second day was amazing. She had a great time and came home in wonderful spirits. And yes, it really is a magic lunchbox! I think I need to write a post just about that! haha 🙂

  2. Sandy says:

    She is a strong girl! My little one cried for entire 2 hours…he was there on his first day. I can imagine – what you have gone through mentally and the good thing is that – it all ends well. Isn’t that great ?

    you packed lunch so beautifully! May I know – where did you get that lunch box from ? It does look – obsessing.. haha. Hopefully, my little one will eat if I pack it like that. I especially like the way you have cut the sandwich in “love” shape. What a great idea!

    • 7x7xMommy says:

      Oh my gosh, and that must have been so hard with your 2 year old. It breaks your heart, right? Even if it is the right thing to do, it is SO hard. Oh, and good question on the lunchbox…I’m going to write a quick post about it because I’ve had a few people ask the same question. 🙂 haha, and the heart was very special…today I cut her sandwich into a rectangle (pretty boring!). 🙂

      • Sandy says:

        yeah, it was hard and it still is, because the crying hasn’t stopped yet. He has gotten a lot better now. He likes to be with mommy :).
        That’s is so sweet of you to write an article on the magic lunch box! If can also give us mommies idea on what to pack – that would be awesome!

  3. Sandy says:

    She looks happy too! My 2 yr old was crying (because he did not want to go near any stranger). She is a brave girl!

  1. November 12, 2014

    […] Happy Birthday, Mackie!  We’re just so happy you can take your lunchbox and go to school now! […]

  2. December 11, 2014

    […] (though most of the time Sunday is my day off and I cook a huge brunch for the fam).  And now that Mackenzie is two and attends pre-preschool (same days and times as Abby), that’s when Caroline and I take the opportunity to exercise . […]

  3. January 8, 2015

    […] since writing about Mackenzie’s first day of school a couple months ago (and her lunchbox that saved the day), I’ve had quite a few inquiries about which brand it […]

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