Summer is officially over. Not because I developed my first case of popsicle toes while snuggled in bed last night (much to Big Friend’s chagrin). Not because maple whirli-gigs have taken up permanent residence on my porch steps. And not because the calendar has made up its mind to settle on September for awhile. No, I know summer has gone because the sound of children playing has left the neighborhood like bathwater disappearing down the drain. Going, going, gone.
All summer, kids bounce around our town like pin balls sprung loose in a machine. Then school shuttles them into orderly rows, leaving behind a silence that heralds the true start of autumn. For those of us moms who have under-school-age children, the abrupt shift is startling. We haven’t received school district newsletters in the mail, and aside from a bit of advantageous shopping at the back to school sales, September does not usher in a huge change in our lives.
My life is about to change.
Just shy of two years old, Little Friend will be joining the ranks of part-time students this fall as she enters a Mother’s Morning Out program for a few hours one morning a week. The heady educational goals of this two-year-old class fit the pint-sized classroom inmates. According to the teacher (and because I still enjoy dipping into my pedagogical past every so often, I’ll deliver these goals in teacher-speak), as a result of this year, my child will be able to:
1. Stand in a line with other kids.
2. Wash her own hands.
3. Share toys with other children.
4. Identify colors.
5. Identify numbers.
6. Use the big girl toilet with no additional training required at home.
(Okay, so that last one may be my hopeful imagination. It kind of slipped in there.) As part of this school transition, I was informed that I needed to provide a bag of personal items (lunch box, diapers, sippy cups, change of outfit, etc) clearly labeled with Little Friend’s name. You mean she’s outgrown a diaper bag? Yup. It’s her solo flight into toddler-hood, and she won’t have me standing right next to her to whip out the changing pad or a boogie wipe. So sooner than I anticipated, I slipped in line with other moms stocking up on school essentials, namely, the back pack.
Dabbawalla backpacks were the perfect fit. Adorable, sturdy, washable, and tot-sized, Dabbawalla backpacks are the fashion police’s solution to the back-to-school needs of toddlers and preschoolers. Little Friend would be swamped by a full-sized backpack assembled like a cargo plane with all the pockets, zippers, and handy compartments. Unless two-year-olds have homework to tote home (and I sincerely hope they don’t!) Little Friend needs a bag small, simple, and stylish. Can I say it again? Dabbawalla backpacks were the perfect fit.
Made of soft, neoprene-like fabric, Dabbawalla bags are lightweight, stretchy, and comfortable. With adjustable straps or a top handle, the backpack is portable on any adventure (school, sleep overs, or backyard camping trips). Two mesh pockets offer some organization options to the inner cavity. And the outside? The designs restore my hope that maybe kids can still be kids. The simple, whimsical, streamlined designs echo the simple, captivating words that define early childhood: strawberry, penguin, cars, dog, flowers.
The only thing better than getting a Dabbawalla backpack is getting a lunch tote to go along with it. Insulated, stain-resistant, and machine-washable, the lunch totes capture the same child-like creativity of the back packs. Who doesn’t want to pull a PB&J out of a chicken, or an apple, or a space ship, or a cow? Perhaps it will even help Little Friend with that whole sharing thing.
Thanks to Dabawalla, Little Friend will be strutting to school in style, but most importantly to me, it’s a style that keeps her little, young, and childish in my eyes, because I have to tell you folks, this is one mama not quite ready for Back-to-School just yet.
It’s not too late to get in on the end-of-summer sales at Dabbawalla. Just be sure to have a quarter handy, because when it comes time to decide on which adorable back pack and lunch tote needs to go into the shopping cart, the only way to narrow the choice will be a coin toss.