Marvelous Madelyn Archive

A Fairy Happy Birthday

This year in kindergarten, all around her, teeth were dropping like flies. Madelyn made it very clear that she was jealous of all the other kids in her class who had teeth that were flappin’ in the wind and regular visits from the Tooth Fairy. Even when her very best friend lost her first tooth, Madelyn sulked in the corner because her envy outweighed her happiness for her friend. I can remember wanting to grow up at the same exact time as all my friends, too (and reading all those Judy Blume books near the end of elementary school made me eager to, as Judy would say, … develop… so I understood), but I explained to Madelyn that she was one of the youngest in her class so she would probably not lose her first tooth at the same time as everyone else.

I was shocked when, a month before turning six, she still didn’t have a wiggle. But about two weeks ago, Madelyn complained of her tooth “hurting” and I thought that was strange since the tissue and the tooth looked healthy. I asked my dentist friends and they mentioned that just before the start of a wiggly tooth, sometimes kids say their tooth hurts, but what it really means is that it’s just bothering them and there’s no pain to be concerned about.

That’s exactly what happened to Madelyn!

A few days later, I checked, and sure enough, the tooth moved side to side ever so slightly. Just as quickly as the wiggle came on, so did the progression of the wiggle! It seemed like no time at all until she, too, finally had a tooth that was flappin’ in the wind.

The night before her sixth birthday, we went to Lazy Dog Cafe for our traditional Birthday Eve Dinner and she enjoyed a huge ice cream sundae with a candle in it. As she blew out her candle, I knew exactly what she’d wish for: to finally lose her first tooth! It was barely hanging in, but I figured it needed another couple days. I had a pretty good feeling it would be out before the end of the weekend.

Wishing for the wiggle of all wiggles.

Good thing she didn’t lose her tooth right then and there or we never would have found it in that ocean of whipped cream.

Knowing this, I kept reminding Bryan to make a stop at the bank to pick up some magical and fairy-like $2 bills. I couldn’t do it because I have been with Madelyn non-stop all day working on a television show (more on that in … a while). But between his busy work days and the limited hours a bank is open (9 to 5 just really isn’t long enough apparently!), as of August 8th, we were still not stashing away $2 bills.

After our Birthday Eve Dinner, I had to drop of Arielle at my parents’ house so that she could spend the night since we’d be waking up early to take Madelyn on set. We were excited to show Bryan around and introduce him to the cast and crew who’ve become like family. Sending Arielle to my parents’ house the night before was the most logical plan since our morning would be super early.

While I was in the car, Bryan called and I heard chaotic crying and gasping in the background. “SHE LOST HER TOOTH!” he announced. I let out a desperate, “Are you serious?!” that was not that dissimilar from how I responded to his marriage proposal.

We quickly connected to FaceTime once I got to my parents’ house so I could see Madelyn’s face. She was still freshly watery in the eyes and super unsure about this milestone.

Me, in the upper left hand corner, trying not to cry because growing up omg.

Thankfully, he preserved the moment by having her tell the story of how she lost her tooth. Sounds to me like not only did she get rid of the day’s sugar and plaque, but she brushed away her tooth, too!

As the best daddy in the world, he handled the clean-up and talking her off a ledge like a total pro; Madelyn was completely freaking out that her tooth was now a fossil as she held it in her hand and saw a hole in her gum line in her reflection.

Bryan had Madelyn get the room ready for the Tooth Fairy which included tidying up the area around the bed so she wouldn’t trip over dirty laundry, headbands, and Legos late at night in the dark room, as well as writing a note to the Tooth Fairy in order to establish a healthy child-fairy rapport.

She’s such a little cheerleader:
“Dear Tooth Fairy,
You are the best. You can do lots of things. I love you! I want you to put my tooth in a box safe and perfect as can be. You can do this! Go Tooth Fairy!
Love, Madelyn”

I had ordered a cute pillow on Etsy that hadn’t arrived yet, so Bryan had Madelyn drop her tooth into the pocket of my childhood Tooth Fairy pillow, tucked her note inside with the tooth, and placed it under her pillow as tradition tells kids to do.

Madelyn ready for Tooth Fairy Prep 101.

When I came home from putting Arielle to sleep, I got to work. Since our $2 plan was out the window, we went for the only cash we had that wasn’t twenties. A nice, clean, crisp $10 bill would have to do. And while I wasn’t super thrilled about setting the bar that high on tooth #1, I decided on a few things: 1) She doesn’t really know the value of money yet anyway, so if I switch it up on her for the next tooth, she won’t really care; and 2) She’s seeing her favorite show, “Hamilton,” in September, so the way to make this tooth loot relevant is to tie it in with Hamilton himself who, as Lin Manuel Miranda says, is the “ten dollar founding father.” Thanks to some loose powder shimmery eye shadow, I made the bill sparkly and magical, and I knew that would seal the deal for her.

I also wrote her a letter from the Tooth Fairy and stressed out a fair amount as I knew I had to straddle the narrow line of making the writing easy enough to read (no cursive) and different enough to disguise my printing. I added some more glitter and shimmer to the letter — because apparently the Tooth Fairy is just a moth who’s been squished on paper?? — and knew it was time to do the deed.

Just before planning the route to the pillow and sneaking into her room, Bryan and I documented the moment. After all, this very point of parenting was brand new to us, and something I was looking forward to since the day I realized who my Tooth Fairy was. A fleeting whirlwind of emotions left me a little teary (do I have a Chopped Onion Fairy who accompanies the Tooth Fairy?!) because I distinctly remember when that very tooth that was hanging out in her pillow pocket grew into her mouth. There were tears and a few sleepless nights when she was a handful-and-a-half months old, but she grew to showcase a beautiful smile and this moment that was six years in the making meant it would transition to a new version of that smile. Time is so wonderful and cruel like that. So, all this to say, because it’s a big parenthood moment, we snapped a photo of the Tooth Fairy just before making touch down.

We found these wings tucked up in the top of the closet with the rest of the costume stash.
Pretty much the last time I wore this, I was dressed up as an angel at a college fraternity party. I am very sure that many vodka cranberries were involved with the 2003 version of this outfit.

I found Madelyn sleeping on the middle of the foot of her double bed, not even near her pillow, as if to make it easy for the Tooth Fairy to find the buried treasure. One less tooth, but no less considerate, that Madelyn.

I did the exchange and tip toed away. Very simple, but very breathless. I was sure she would wake up from the sound of my heart beating, like horses stampeding in a Game of Thrones battle. She stirred for a moment and I was already coming up with my go-to on-the-spot reason for being in her room in the middle of the night. But Sleeping Toothless Beauty continued slumbering, and my stealth fairy powers paid off. I didn’t know I could hold my breath for so long until I was safe in the hallway, undetected and unscathed.

This morning, she woke up on her birthday and ran into our room, way more chipper than anyone should be at 7 a.m.

“MOMMMMMMYYYYY!!! I have some exciting neeeeews!” she dangled the word “news” like I’d never guess in a million years and was waiting for my shocked reaction.

“Oh yeah?” YAWN. “What’s that? What could be so exciting this early?”

“Well,” she took a deep breath to drop the bomb. “The Tooooooth Fairy caaaaaaame! And she left me moneeeeeey! And it’s TEN DOLLARS. You know why? Because I love “Hamilton!” She really punched it with that “Hamilton.”

I declared that her Tooth Fairy knows all about her and is magical that way. How impressive. She couldn’t get over the fact that the Tooth Fairy was so smart and brilliant (go on… tell me more!) to not only know these things, but to put this much thought into them. If only she knew that the Tooth Fairy couldn’t make it to Chase before closing.

Madelyn couldn’t stop grinning her new grin. If she were a peacock, her feathers would be sprouting all over the place. And when I reminded her it was her birthday, too, her eyes almost burst open and her jaw hit the floor; in all the excitement of the Tooth Fairy morning discovery, she had completely forgotten she woke up on her birthday! She did her happy dance, gaping hole in her smile and all, and we spent the morning cuddling this baby who, truly, over night, grew into a totally awesome and unique six-year-old.

After her birthday dinner, I couldn’t help but capture this quintessential six-year-old moment.

I couldn’t think of a cooler way to lose a first tooth or a cooler girl to lose it.

  1. Mimi
    8/11/2017 9:47 PM

    Wow Madelyn! So many big milestones happened to you in 2 days!
    Happy 6th Birthday! I hope all your birthday wishes come true and you have the best time being 6. I had such a wonderful time celebrating with you and your friends at the dance studio party.
    And how exciting that you lost your first tooth! The Tooth Fairy is the best fairy and is always excited to visit a kid who takes such good care of their teeth like you do. This is only the beginning of more visits from the Tooth Fairy.
    I am so proud of you and love you very much!
    love, Mimi

She’s Bringing Sixy Back

It’s hard to believe that when BornFriedman started, Baby Girl Friedman was just a little blob of cells and now, just about six years later, she’s a blob of sass and smarts and talent and love and kindness and humor and beauty. And all of that is worth celebrating, so celebrate we did!

Last year, her Dodgers party at our house was a — hit! — but I actually kept my promise and scaled down for her sixth birthday party. And by “scaled down,” I mean I outsourced the venue and activity (I love you, Protégé Performing Arts), prepared zero food (I love you too, Stonefire), and kept the guest list to her favorite gal pals for a super girly and twirly dance studio party.

While I’ve always been a glutton for punishment with making a zillion decorations and party favors and food, I’m so glad I left it up to the pros since our uniquely busy summer schedule left me little to no prep time for this year’s party. I did a few artsy projects like painting mason jars for center pieces and my annual banner to hang over the food table, but it dawned on me why I felt so rested and bright-eyed on the day of this party: easy party!

Madelyn has been taking tap and ballet at Kelly Salvatore’s dance studio in North Ranch, Protégé Performing Arts, for the three seasons it’s been open. We love Miss Kelly, not just because she’s a personal friend of ours, but also because she’s the Pied Piper of children and has the most wonderful disposition with all of her students. I don’t know how she does it with such ease! Madelyn loves going to dance class once a week because Miss Kelly makes her feel so loved while still teaching her the foundations. I was so excited to share Miss Kelly with Madelyn’s friends at her party!

The girls got started with a little free dancing and stretching. Madelyn did an amazing job introducing her friends to each other since they all came from various parts of her life. I was super impressed with how she mingled with everyone and made sure they all felt included. That’s difficult for adults to do, let alone first-graders, so I was really proud of her!

I loved watching Madelyn and her friends dance together as if they’d all known each other for years. Grown-ups could learn a thing or two from kids about letting loose, letting go, and tearin’ down those walls.

Miss Kelly cleverly set up a dance “obstacle course” — OLYMPICS 2028!!!!!!! — and the girls had to do certain moves at each spot along the way, ending with a cheer to the tune of “MADELYN IS SIX!” or something like that, accompanied by a passionate pom-pom shake. They did a great job learning the directions and waiting their turns. It was too cute and all the girls were amazing!

And then there was a Hula Hoop game. Twelve little girls Hula Hooping is very loud. Lots of beads sloshing around and hollow plastic bouncing and tumbling all over wood floor. But those girls sure do love to work those hips. Shakira would be proud.

They also learned a little hip hop combo to “My Shot” from … any guesses? HAM wait for it (haha) ILTON! Six-year-old booty shaking might be the best thing ever invented. When the show opens at the Pantages here in Hollywood this week, I think there are definitely some understudy contenders from Madelyn’s birthday party guests.

Perhaps the most entertaining portion of Madelyn’s party was her own little sister. Arielle was living her best life for that 90 minutes of time on the dance floor. Everything she did, she did with the most fierce determination. When it came time to stretch, she was totally nose to the toes; nose to the floor, even. When it was time to shake her tush, she almost pulled a TSwift and shook it off. ALL OFF. And she committed to her balloon. All the kids got to dance with a balloon tied to their wrists, but Arielle and her balloon were intertwined in the greatest love affair of all. They danced together like they were Fred and Ginger or like they were aiming toward the Mirrorball Trophy. Arielle and that pink balloon: I’ve never seen a purer joy.

They worked up an appetite so the dancers — and patient parents! — were fed. Stonefire (read: breadsticks) turns every party into a rager. We’ve been eating left overs for 24 hours. I am very pleased with my choice to cater in this lunch!

And using a kids party as an excuse to order a half pan of mac n cheese was my most brilliant idea. Kids parties every weekend???

Back in the dance room, the girls got in line for a little stroll down the cat walk, practicing their best strut and some awesome poses. These girls loved the mirror and the mirror loved them right back. I’m not sure Madelyn will be tackling Fashion Week any time soon or ever, but in that moment, she was such a super model, she could’ve married Tom Brady right then and there.

The grand finale was a dance choreographed by Madelyn (she’s really good at step-touches and hip sways) as well as a break down to “Can’t Stop The Feeling” because… Justin.

Even with all the dancing love, nothing transitions a bunch of girls into the final activity more than the word “CUPCAKES.” Madelyn’s friends gathered around her to sing the birthday anthem and she made her own speech after she blew out her candles! Usually, I say something to the guests, but our big six-year-old is enough of a Chatty Maddie and budding toastmaster that I thought she might want to share her own words. In her speech, she announced her love for all of her best and favorite friends surrounding her and how glad she was to see everyone together and “mixed.” And then she thanked the grown ups. Eddie Haskell or sweet girl: take your pick… but it was one more proud feather in my cap.

The girls took a group photo and then began to trickle away with hugs and goodbyes. With all the rush of hosting a birthday party, we crammed in a family photo before we left, which was a feat because, well, Arielle wanted off her feet. She partied so hard, by the end, she resembled a college girl… the day after. If her speech was better, she would’ve asked me to drive her to the nearest dirty burrito shack. That girl.

We had the best time at Madelyn’s sixth birthday. This little big one is so full of life and pizzazz, it was so appropriate for us to celebrate her with dance and expression! Her big day is actually Wednesday, August 9th, but we will be making her feel special for this whole birthday week. More surprises are in store for her throughout the rest of August, and selfishly, the surprises are just as great for me because I love seeing her face light up. There’s no greater delight than watching Madelyn as she dances through life.

  1. Mimi
    8/11/2017 9:58 PM

    HAPPY 6th BIRTHDAY TO YOU, MADELYN!!! You have such nice friends and it was a fantastic party! I love how you were such a great hostess making sure everyone was having a great time. I think Arielle had the best time too and never seemed to get tired from all the dancing. I can’t wait for the special birthday surprise outing I have planned for us next week. 🙂
    I love you very much!

  2. Linda SMith
    8/8/2017 9:45 AM

    That was an amazing blog….lucky Madelyn

Halloweenie No More

by Alison Friedman in Halloween Time, Marvelous Madelyn

Every Halloween, we go trick-or-treating with friends and I do my best to throw a little festive, pumpkiny cheer around the house in order to honor my Pinterest board. But in all honesty, and I know it’s going to get me in trouble, I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween. It’s a lot of stress to decide who you’re going to go trick-or-treating with (it’s kind of like the big question of where will you be at midnight on New Year’s Eve; or where will you spend July 4th in order to enjoy prime fireworks viewing), and I am also kind of cheap and don’t love spending money on seasonal stuff that sits in a box for 11 months out of the year, and I’m also still a little PTSD-ish about the pressure to be a slutty noun during college Halloween. But when you have kids, Halloween gets reborn and Mom-o-ween unfolds.

Madelyn's First Halloween. as a cow. I dressed up like a farmer and phoned in my costume that was a pre-existing outfit that consisted of a plaid flannel from Target.

Madelyn’s First Halloween. as a cow. I dressed up like a farmer and phoned in my costume that was a pre-existing outfit that consisted of a plaid flannel from Target.

I want Madelyn to have a pretty normal childhood and she’s a little behind in the Halloween department right now. At Jewish preschool, there are no Halloween festivities (pumpkins = Fall!). They get to don costumes for Purim, but not Halloween. I was secretly glad about this because Madelyn escaped that month-long buildup of anticipating October 31st. For her, Halloween was just a few hours before the start of November. For me, Halloween was easy.

But all I’ve been hearing about since Starbucks released their first PSL of the season is that “OMG Halloween is this mooooooonth!” and Madelyn keeps asking if it’s Halloween yet. Public elementary school is to thank for the constant talk of costumes and candy and decorations.

I had a pretty weak collection of Halloween decor — a few decorative pumpkins, a wreath, a witch that hangs from the bushes in the front of my house. My mom buys me scarecrows every year that Madelyn has affectionately called Mr. Corny. But I’ve kept it pretty light; more cutesy Halloween than blood-curdling screams scary Halloween.

Today Madelyn and I were walking through a parking lot for some errands and she saw the Halloween pop-up store that peppers the shopping centers where we live. She begged me to go in, but I hesitated because we had a to-do list to complete and this wasn’t on it. Also, Madelyn tends to be a delicate flower (read: wuss) and I knew there was no way in H E double hockey sticks that she’d enjoy the interior of the Halloween store.

The girl knows how to beg so I gave in and knew she’d want out of there the second she walked in. After all, right at the front of the store was a whole display of expensive animated figures that jump out and make noise or flash bloody machetes.

Well. Joke’s on me because Madelyn could not get enough of these new friends. Cloaked ghoul, zombie girl, giant hairy spider, werewolves with a fog machine — she. did. not. blink. She giggled and smiled and basically found her new Disneyland. It’s like I don’t even know my own spawn anymore.

Wheeee! Scary things that jump out at me! Yay!

Wheeee! Scary things that jump out at me! Yay!

She was unstumpable. Surely, she’d completely freak out at the bloody appendages hanging from chains?

No. She held them up and swung them around like a lasso. If anything, she thought it was kind of gross that there was fake blood on them, but the concept of a plastic foot made of raw details didn’t even faze her.

"Look, Ma! It's like a necklace with a hand charm!"

“Look, Ma! It’s like a necklace with a hand charm!”

Madelyn is so thoughtful that she's always willing to offer a helping hand.

Madelyn is so thoughtful that she’s always willing to offer a helping hand.

There was a section of skeletons whose bones looked pretty real. There were all different sizes and some even wore capes. They were hanging on a rack in a row. Among them was a scary-ass clown.

She laughed and pointed.

In the back was the equivalent of the XXX movies at the video store from the 90s. There were entire scenes of the scariest creatures I’ve ever seen inside dioramas with pretty gory details and if you push a button next to each scene, it lights up and makes loud shrieky noises. One of them had the unfortunate luck to be electrocuted with zap sounds and all.

I was absolutely sure Madelyn would lose her mind and need therapy after exploring this section despite my suggestion to walk a different way.

Instead, she gleefully pushed the buttons down the line of the display and frolicked through the cacophony of dioramas that were a heartbeat away from becoming real, live Charles Mansons. She was like Maria in the mountains in the opening scene of The Sound of Music. I tell you. I do not know where my daughter went this afternoon.

She seriously just saw the scariest thing i've ever seen and she was hysterical.  Cracking up. Comedy club.

She seriously just saw the scariest thing I’ve ever seen and she was hysterical. Cracking up. Comedy club.

We explored the costume department with the kitschy crayons and slutty fairytale characters, and cheapened 1920s flappers. Then she found the political costumes where people can dress up like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They even had masked heads of donkeys and elephants, just to really camp up the joke that is this year’s election. Halloween is a scary holiday, but the real Halloween happens a week later when we all get to vote. Trick or treat? What will it be?

Madelyn for President!  Make America Silly Again!

Madelyn for President! Make America Silly Again!

And after all this — after all the creepy, gruesome, horrific, and nail-bitingly scary things she saw and heard in the Halloween store today — Madelyn still insists on dressing up as Rapunzel. She may play a toughie on the outside, but deep down, she’s still a soft princess at heart.

Professional Kindergartener

It’s been about three weeks of kindergarten and so far, it gets a thumbs up. Everyone is happy and we are getting into the groove of the new schedule.

2nd day of kindergarten and it was just as strong as the first!

2nd day of kindergarten and it was just as strong as the first!

A week before school started, Madelyn got her placement for her class and she ended up in a K/1 split. I was pretty happy about it because I’d heard amazing things about the co-teachers who were doing the K/1 and I knew she could handle the challenges that come with being in a split class. As a teacher, I know that the split classes usually house kids who are independent workers and catch on quickly. I was in a K/1 when I was in kindergarten and I turned out OK. I was super excited for her to have that influence of the older kids while being surrounded by other kindergarteners who were just like her.

The same day we got the assignment, we also happened to meet her teachers. Madelyn was smitten. She thought they were so, so sweet and bright-eyed and I thought they were so, so creative and inspiring. We both walked off campus that day like we were walking on air. The first day of school could not come soon enough!

Madelyn's favorite part about elementary school is hanging up her backpack on the hook. It's the little things.

Madelyn’s favorite part about elementary school is hanging up her backpack on the hook. It’s the little things.

But two days after receiving our assignment, I received a call from the principal that a surge of kindergarteners had just registered and it was enough to make a whole new K class so the split dissolved, a new teacher was hired, and Madelyn would be in this just-created kindergarten class. My heart sank; everything I had wanted for her was busted and now we didn’t know this new teacher. The fear of the unknown was strong.

The first day of school was the first time we got to see her teacher, and Madelyn came home and reported that she was very nice. I didn’t get much else home for the first two weeks, so other than the hellos and goodbyes we exchanged at drop-off and pick-up, I didn’t have any interaction or information about the class. What mattered most, though, was that Madelyn was happy.

In the meantime, she was making friends and learning her way around a new environment. As a mom who was super involved at the preschool level, I knew all the kids and the teachers and everything that was going on in and out of the classroom. In elementary school, though, I had no idea what she was playing at recess or the order in which she was eating her lunch. I didn’t know the routines of the class or who her real friends were. This part has been the biggest adjustment for me. Also, Arielle comes to pick-up sometimes and she wants to walk around — everywhere! — and squeals in delight when she sees her big sister coming out of the gate. These are things she didn’t care about just a few months ago when we were doing the preschool circuit.

Reunited and it feels so goooooood

Reunited and it feels so goooooood

In the last week or so, I’ve gotten to know some of the other parents and everyone seems so nice. Madelyn talks about the same two girls from her class all the time, so I know she’s making friends. I am so happy for her because I really like these new friends and their moms a lot. Knowing that’s in place makes elementary school feel a lot less isolating and more like we are going through these experiences together.

Madelyn always wants one more hug or smooch or wave goodbye in the morning before walking into her classroom with a big smile on her face. I will give them to her as long as she'll let me.

Madelyn always wants one more hug or smooch or wave goodbye in the morning before walking into her classroom with a big smile on her face. I will give them to her as long as she’ll let me.

Last week was Back to School Night and Bryan and I had a date night out to meet the teacher and learn more about the class. It couldn’t have come sooner! I was so excited to have my questions answered and learn a little bit more about how Madelyn spends her day.

I am glad to report that not only is the teacher so sweet, but she’s very cool and approachable and keeps it REAL — yet still very professional! — so she is right up my alley. Of course I am so glad that things worked out the way they did, and I know the days will just get even better and better as the class grows together. I signed up to volunteer in the class one day a week, and I can’t wait to see Madelyn and her friends in action.

And this should not be a shocker, but when I saw that the “Room Parent” duty was still blank on the teacher’s volunteer sheet, I couldn’t let it remain empty. So, I filled in a random person’s name. No, just kidding. I wrote my own. I am such a sucker.

Oh! And homework has started! The first two weeks that the homework folder came home, I thought it was pretty weak. But now I see that those two weeks were practice because THIS week, homework got real. I don’t even mean that in a bad way, but it’s totally digging into the curriculum now and it’s not just coloring stuff. Thankfully, Madelyn absolutely loves homework. I know her tune will change eventually, but for now, she wants to complete her entire week’s packet of work the first night she gets it. I have to pace her, otherwise she’ll finish it all in one night. Thankfully, nothing has been hard or new for her since she’s been reading and spelling for a while now, but she enjoys the process of thinking about the work and always wants to do a little extra. If only college scholarships were based on kindergarten work ethic and standards knowledge.

So at just a little under a month, I give kindergarten an A+. I was nervous for this adventure to start because leaving our preschool bubble was so bittersweet. It’s been a big change for me as a mom: out the door on time; productive mornings to run errands and prepare for the week; oh yeah and taking care of a toddler; working part time; doing homework in the afternoons while also thinking about dinner and what to make and did I go grocery shopping because I don’t have ingredients; getting both girls to bed with actual bedtimes; cleaning the house watching TV before bed. But now that we are feeling like a professional kindergarten family, things are great and becoming more and more comfortable. The schedule is falling into place. The routine is good for everyone. I’m sure I’ll have it all down pat just in time for Thanksgiving break when we have nine days off.

Old School. New School.

After a busy summer that started with preschool graduation, followed by three different summer camps, Madelyn began kindergarten at long last!

But let’s back up.

Preschool graduation was the sweetest. It was such an emotional day and a true icing on the cake to a fabulous preschool experience. I was so lucky to make some of my most favorite friends ever, and I was honored to have a part in helping create the graduation ceremony with some awesome moms. It was inspired by the movie, “Up” with the theme “Adventure awaits” and we decorated the day to feature colorful balloons.



Madelyn had been practicing all the graduation songs and the order of the ceremony for months and every night at dinner, we’d get a whole show. I knew the whole shebang from start to finish thanks to her sneak peeks, and if anyone was absent, I could’ve easily filled in because I was so well prepared by my little maestro. The irony, is that Little Miss Super Star totally and completely lost her mind when the actual ceremony started. I think the build-up of graduation and the realness of the emotions that preschool was ending hit our very … delicate… girl, and as soon as the processional began and alllllll the happy kids walked into the ceremony, cheerfully marching and singing, Madelyn covered her eyes and the waterworks almost caused a flood in the temple (#SaveTheTorahs). She stood up with her class with her head in her hands and that’s how she finished the song. Newsflash, girlfriend: That’s not how you’re going to get into “Hamilton.”

This is called: Four-Year-Old Freak Out.

This is called: Four-Year-Old Freak Out.

Eventually, with some water and a pep talk from her teacher, she got it together and was able to perform with the rest of her class, hand motions and all. Regular Madelyn was BACK! She finished strong and even collected her diploma.

Therrrrrre's my girl That's how you make it on Broadway. Confident, long arms.

Therrrrrre’s my girl That’s how you make it on Broadway. Confident, long arms.

They still let her graduate, even though she totally flunked the first song in the performance. Softies.

They still let her graduate, even though she totally flunked the first song in the performance. Softies.

And then when graduation was over, she ran toward us and celebrated with her bestie, Keith, as if she had just won a Tony for her performance. Did she forget Processsionalgeddon only 30 minutes before? Either way, we were super proud of her. Our graduate was sparkling the way she normally does, and she said it was the best day ever. She’s a good actress after all.


Madelyn and her bestie, Keith. If there had been a Preschool Prom, they would've totally gone together.

Madelyn and her bestie, Keith. If there had been a Preschool Prom, they would’ve totally gone together.

My Graduation Committee friends and I had so much fun decorating the room, that we also thought there needed to be a photo op! All the kids loved taking pictures and holding the graduation signs and the parents got in on the action too.

I’m so glad we captured some really fun pictures of Madelyn with her big smile on preschool graduation day!






One of the songs that Madelyn actually performed at graduation was a song called “Kindergarten Here We Come” and it did. Those lyrics don’t lie. Her first day of elementary school arrived and she yo-yoed between being super excited and super nervous. I was totally expecting a Processionalgeddon to make another appearance in the form of Drop Off-pocolypse based on her tenuous feelings about starting kindergarten.

It started to sink in hard core at the kindergarten orientation the week before school. It took place in the MPR/Cafeteria and I explained that this would be the room where she would come see shows, or assemblies, or receive an award. And without missing a beat, she asked, “And is this where we will come do Shabbat?” Crickets. So, yeah, I had to explain that there’s no Shabbat or any other Jewish holidays at elementary school and she wasn’t really OK with that.

Moving right along…

She continued to ebb and flow between nervous and excited. I did what any mom of a girl with fragile feelings would do: I took her shopping. We picked out a bunch of new outfits for school and one of them became her first-day ensemble. And then I showed her pictures of my first day of kindergarten. Her observations: “Mommy, your bow is very big.” “The teacher has white legs.” and “My hair looks better than yours.” All of these are mostly correct.

LITTLE TWIN STARS BACKPACK! Madelyn and her Pottery Barn Kids backpack are SO jealous of my 1988 accessories.

LITTLE TWIN STARS BACKPACK! Madelyn and her Pottery Barn Kids backpack are SO jealous of my 1988 accessories.

Am I going to school on a prairie? A dude ranch? And why is my waist so high under my non-boobs?

Am I going to school on a prairie? A dude ranch? And why is my waist so high under my non-boobs?

Teacher's dress confirms it: prairie it is.

Teacher’s dress confirms it: prairie it is.

Last night, we made sure to start off on the right foot by implementing our bedtime routine that we failed at all summer. She’s just a night owl. But she’s also not a morning person (I have NO idea where she gets that from. Hum dee hum dee doo dee doo), and we knew she’d have such a hard time waking up if she didn’t have an early bedtime. We tried to implement it all summer, but things got in the way and we couldn’t be consistent. Last night, we meant business. We read a story about kindergarten and we went to sleep talking about kindergarten. She had to have nothing but pleasant kindergarten dreams to really get into her subconscious, right? Both kids were in bed by 7:45 and Bryan and I felt like we won parenting.


This morning, the first day of school, Madelyn woke up all on her own. That’s good because I had a really hard time getting up (see above re: non-morning people and how it’s a genetic disorder) but I blame that on the tossing and turning I did all night because apparently, it’s not just kids and teachers who are nervous for the first day of school!

Chipper and cheery, Madelyn completed her morning checklist that we started a few weeks back. She loves checking off her must-do items each morning that help her get focused and ready for the day. I recommend this method to parents everywhere, especially if you have a kid who dilly-dallies in the morning like mine.

She ate a sensible breakfast (TJ’s frozen waffle and yogurt. I ain’t no morning Martha) and we took our First Day Of School photos like all the other parents took while breaking the internet today. I made her a sign because I’m too cheap to buy one and I got a little emotional as I saw my baby all ready to go to kindergarten. Elementary school is no joke. This is like the start of it all and I had Danny Tanner moments of seeing my girl grow up before my eyes at this front door: smiling in braces; dangling car keys to her first wheels; with a date and corsage before prom; move out day for college. YOU GUYS! This is like the runaway train to all that stuff. We can’t get off! She just grows up and we have to be OK with that! This is insanity! Also, PS, I have no idea where Madelyn gets her dramatics.




She was excited to go, but then as we parked and started our walk to the gate, she got a little apprehensive. I know that it’s a sign of doom to come; Her voice begins to sound wiggly and she starts to question things.

We walked to her classroom and we had about ten minutes until the bell would ring. Kids were starting to gather. All of them were bouncing off the halls. Madelyn began to cling harder. It’s funny: most people see videos of Madelyn or observe her with her friends and think she’s a total ham. And 99% of the time, that’s the case. But when she’s uncomfortable or unsure, she shrinks. This was no different and Bryan and I exchanged looks of dread and embarrassment and pity for the likely fact that she was going to lose it when it was time to walk in.

The teacher opened the door and all the kids lined up to meet her and walk inside. Madelyn mentioned she was missing her preschool friends and we reassured her that they were missing her, too, and they were all starting new adventures also. She was glad to know that they weren’t all back at familiar preschool without her. Girlfriend has some serious FOMO like her mama. However, before we could really get a grip on the situation, her head went into her hands and her shoulder slumped over and it was like we were looking at that scared little girl at graduation who just couldn’t get it together. We were losing her! She was a goner! Houston! We have a problem! Bryan crouched down and shared some words of inspiration; then I took my turn. And in the knick of time, she swallowed her tears and fears, and as the second-to-last kiddo to get to the front of the line, the teacher welcomed her and ushered her to the carpet where all the other kids happily gathered and we shrugged. Parents aren’t allowed into the classroom at kindergarten drop-off, so our job was done. It was out of our control now.



The day went slow for us back at home. I was dying to know what was going on back at school. It’s not that I’m a helicopter mom; I’m just a very curious mom!

When it was finally time to pick her up a measly 5 hours later, she offered up a pretty good report. She mentioned she only cried twice during the day (only) and it was because she didn’t know where her teacher went during lunch (answer: to talk about all the students with all the other teachers) and she didn’t get a chance to go down the slide because the “Orange Vest People” (campus supervisors) said that recess was over.

I asked a million questions about the day, but it was like pulling teeth to get answers and even the best dentist in the world wouldn’t be able to get her to offer up some juicy details. From what I gathered, there was something about a scavenger hunt and she made two friends. She also said the bathrooms are clean but there are no toilet seat covers so she lined the seat with toilet paper. I’m glad to know that the life lessons I’ve taught her have traveled to school. But as far as a play-by-play of what kindergarten was like: nothin’. I think tomorrow I’m going to strap a GoPro to her head so I can see what goes on in kindergarten!

Despite the roller coaster of everyone’s emotions in the Friedman house, I am actually really excited and looking forward to these school years. Our school feels like a really nice and tight-knit community of families which isn’t dissimilar from our preschool experience. I can’t wait to watch her learn and explore both academically and socially, and I know this is just the beginning of truly amazing Madelyntastic things!


  1. Mimi
    8/25/2016 8:29 PM

    Dear Madelyn! You will enjoy kindergarten so much because you like to learn and try new things. You will make lots new friends and many of them will be your good friends for many years to come. I can’t wait to hear about all the fun you’re having. Pretty soon YOU will be reading a book to ME!
    Go Madelyn! Go Roadrunners!
    I LOVE you! <3