Tag Archives: back to school

Still Holding Out for Normal

It’s called tempting fate. Opening my big fat mouth (or laptop) and waxing eloquent about how FABULOUS something is going to be (The Most Wonderful Time of the Year).

Maybe it’s a case of unrealistic expectations. Maybe it’s God keeping me humble, “Oh so now you think you’ve got it all figured out and don’t need me anymore?” …smite. Maybe it’s just life. Which is rarely as perfect as my daydreams.

As I prepared to embrace my first blissful full day of school, I made a crucial error. I set myself up for disappointment. I didn’t allow for that all-important adjustment period. You know, the weeks where I have to re-train the entire household to get off their butts and get their act together.

“What do you mean I have to take a drink to school? I’ve never taken a drink before.” Only every single day, always.

“My lips are really dry. I thought it was chapstick.” Bright red lipstick actually. Are we seriously dealing with this already, in Grade 5? I let her put blue streaks in her hair last week. Is this the slippery slope those pastors have been warning me about all these years?

“Everyone mismatches their socks Mom. It’s better that way.” I didn’t realize I was so out of touch. Thank you for informing me so graciously.

“Honey, your shoes are on the wrong feet, again.” Sheesh. Calm down. I love you just the way you are. You still look VERY pretty. Just leave them that way. We’re already running late.

2 head injuries, 3 wardrobe debates, 362 fishy crackers bagged, 1 leaking water bottle replaced, 4 minor sibling skirmishes and 5 really grumpy people piling into the van.

yay. school.

Let the bliss begin. Except little brother isn’t feeling it. At all. He keeps looking for his favourite entertainers/helpers/victims. What’s a boy to do with only boring old mom? Sure, we enjoyed more cuddles and book reading than usual. We played at the park and walked around the zoo and tried desperately to distract him from the fact that he really, really misses HIS normal.

So, I anticipated pick-up time. I counted down. I thought THIS would fix our day.

But B was at the end of her rope. She’s not used to such a long day away anymore. While she was enjoying her New Class, she isn’t quite as happy with her perfectly good New Teacher. She wants “Smelling!” (her grade 2 teacher). She wants a snack. She wants her blankie. She wants to watch a show. She wants to do anything but sit quietly while I make that all important First Contact with New Teacher. Who seems great, so that’s something.

Meanwhile, the boy is happily mauling his sisters. I think this means: “Hello. I missed you. Don’t ever leave me again.” But it feels a lot more like grabby, grabby hands, head butting and the occasional bite (ouch).

They are patient. But they are tired, too. And have a million things to tell me. Which I’m DYING to hear. Except there is only one of me. And the littles are melting down. And the garbagemen made a mess on our curb. And snack is REQUIRED IMMEDIATELY. And I wonder WHY I was looking forward to this…

We spend the evening corralling the boy, calming the weeping B, wiping up blood (when she picked open a bug bite on her face, and once again as she scraped her entire face on the side of the trampoline), encouraging our neighbour-friend who had a day of miserable-girl-drama for HER first day, assuring C that strict does not mean unkind (while secretly being pleased that she’ll be whipped into shape this year), discussing grade 7 grad plans with L (because it’s never to early to rub those fun plans in your sister’s face), and finally, shopping for some last-minute school supplies.

I was sure we had it all sorted out last week, but that’s just crazy-people thinking. There’s always something missing. I was so tired I went to the expensive dollar store. That’s right, there’s a MORE expensive one. A crazy splurge for me, but it is slightly closer and takes credit card. But even with two stops, I didn’t find everything. So we scrounged and rummaged and wondered where on earth all the stuff from last year went. I suspect the same place that our Wii remote, iPhone charging cord and DS player went (B likes to hide things put things away for me).

C will have to make do with my dictionary until I can find the “right” edition, which I’m pretty sure we’ve bought several times over at this point. I may have donated this last one to charity. Oops.

I try not to take it personally when she laughs and laughs at it being called the “New” Websters Expanded Dictionary. “It was made in, like, the 1900s Mom!”

AND I stubbed my toe.

So here’s me, and tomorrow I’m spending the day at Children’s Hospital with the boy. I’m pretty sure that’ll give me a boatload of perspective when it comes to all these petty irritations.


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Never has a hand-me-down been so happily recieved by a little sister.
B wore the sparkly backpack all day and screamed for joy when we wrote her name inside it!

The commercials show jubilant parents skipping down the aisle caressing the Back-to-School supplies as they go. Petulant children trudge behind looking depressed. It’s an office supply store’s dream come true.

Mine too.

I often feel a bit guilty to number myself among those excited parents, thrilled to see September on the top of the calander. I have friends who lament the end of summer days with their beloved children. And I wonder, do I enjoy my children less?

But, I felt this way back in the days of homeschooling, when the end of summer “holiday” meant not less, but more time and interaction with my offspring.

It’s NOT that I don’t like spending time with my kids. Though, in all honesty, every moment of hands on parenting is not blissfull and life affirming. Admittedly, I relish the idea of a quieter house and days where I don’t have to extend my bathroom breaks to protect my solitude-craving soul. But, I miss them too. And I hate not having the inside track on all the goings on. Despite my daily bribes, “you must tell me 3 things about your day before you get an after school snack”, I don’t hear about everything they are doing (or not doing… yes, I’m talking about that spelling homework, C).

I felt this way as a school kid myself. I loved the crisp white pages of an untouched notebook. I loved neatly lining up all of my supplies. I even loved packing that very first bag lunch of the year. What can I say, I’m a total nerd.

It’s NOT that I don’t enjoy the freedom of summer. Lazy mornings, trips to the beach, family holidays, letting Glen cook dinner for a change (sorry honey, I don’t know which button to push on this thing and you are SO good at barbecuing)… Every week brings some new adventures and the kids have time for uninterrupted play (the thing I miss most about homeschooling). This used to be elaborate forts and pretend games, but lately it’s been building sets and designing costumes for their latest movie.

The truth is, I miss normal. I miss routine. I miss predictable. I miss knowing what each day is going to hold. And I know my kids do too, though they claim loudly that the only good thing about it is seeing all their friends. They thrive when things go according to plan. Even my free spirit sleeps better and gets her chores done with minimal drama when things are back to normal.

We line up the pictures on B’s weekly calander and she can see which days are school and when she gets to go horseback riding or have speech therapy or swimming. She knows what happens next and she is so much better behaved. Just like her mom.

So, today as I snap the requisite “first-day-of-school” photo at the front door, it’s not the new backpacks and carefully considered outfits that put that hopeful smile on their faces (and mine). It is a giant sigh of Back-to-Normal relief!

So here’s me, definitely in need of a brand new notebook. It’s unnatural to be this jealous of a 7th grader.


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