The morning of her first day, I ask if she is ready to go to school. "No. I want to go to the other playground."
She is alternately fussy and exuberant, eating only a few bites of her scrambled egg.
Watching me pack her lunch, she carefully selects a blueberry yogurt and puts it in the new Hello Kitty insulated lunch box, purchased during a special trip to Chinatown for this very occasion.
She poses for a picture in front of the school's yellow banner. She meets her teacher and plays with small cows, Play-doh, a spatula. She hands the only other girl in her class a Lego and calls it a "robot."
They will be friends.
Still, when I tell her I have to leave for work, she cries. Fat salty tears bump down her perfect pink cheeks. "I wanna go to work! I wanna go to work!" she says, as she clings to my neck like it's a buoy, like she will drown into a cold dark sea if she lets go.
I peel her off and hand her to a woman I have known exactly 35 minutes.
The girl wails as I walk past the sand pit and out the gate. I hide behind a wall. For what, 5? 10? minutes she uses a year's worth of breath to scream her displeasure.
When she finally stops, I peek in through the gate. She is sitting on a stoop, alone, sucking on the green and pink butterfly blanket her grandmother made her, watching the kids play in the sand.