This week Mike and I went back to school.

Delaney and Hayden went with us, marking the start of their 18-plus-year routine at the ripe old age of 18 months. We never imagined we'd initiate them into the world of recess, snack time, and "what do I wear?" while they were still babies. We never imagined we'd be sitting next to them at Circle Time singing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" -- in Spanish.

But all four of us have been going to Discovery Bay every morning. I suppose this makes Delaney and Hayden (and their parents) newcomers to the preschool Class of 2011.

I think we have each learned something new this week.

Hayden is learning that he can't necessarily drive the Yellow Truck when he wants to. Often (really often) Paia has gotten there first.

Delaney is learning how to rock a babydoll with one arm while holding tightly to Mommy's neck with the other arm. She's clingy. Really clingy.

Mike is learning how to be the Only Guy in the Room, amidst four female teachers and 20 under-five-year-olds. Today he found the little boys following him around like little boy ducks.

I am learning that keeping two children entertained is not that much different than keeping six children entertained. In other words, if you have two, you might as well have six. I think that's what Miss Lily, Miss Ellie, Miss Tatiana and Miss Juri figured when they looked at their own babies and realized they could leverage all this enormous Mommy energy by opening a school.

Delaney and Hayden are the youngest in the bunch, a fact which is most noticeable around 10am. All summer long this has been the start of snoozy-time, which when we're lucky has lasted three blissfully quiet hours. But this week our snoozies have been turned upside down by escuela. And never have Mommy and Daddy, at least, needed their own snoozies than this first week of school.

My own Mom, a preschool expert and veteran with many playdough stripes, advised us to leave early and let the babies have their naps. Turns out that was good advice, and yesterday and today we enjoyed both the stimulation of Miss Tati's class and the predictability of happy babies throughout the afternoon.

Today, Friday, offered another milestone in this week of milestones. Mike accompanied the babies to school alone, leaving me to kiss them goodbye as they drove away but leaving him to be the one-that-she-clings-to. And leaving me with three blissful hours to myself. Perhaps this is the payoff for the midnight wake ups. A few hours to myself while they get muddy in someone else's yard.

And when they returned home, I was hopelessly glad to see them. Mud and all.