Thinking Caps Back On
Five observations from our first few days
School started Wednesday for all three of our kids – we have one each in high school, middle school, and grade school – and overall, it went well, although Ruby had a meltdown over a timed multiplication drill and Georgia is mad that she can’t sit next to her best friend (because her teacher had the good sense to seat them away from each other). Here are my observations from the first week.
- I already miss summer mornings. I think of myself as a morning person, honestly – I am definitely more productive in the mornings, and I love coffee and breakfast foods – but my husband points out that morning people typically like to get up before 9 a.m., which I manage to do five days a week but never like doing. In the summer, with later camp start times and no threat of tardies, I’ve been enjoying sleeping in until a blissfully indulgent 7:30; with school back in session, that’s been rolled back more than an hour.
- I already miss summer nights. Late bedtimes, Netflix marathons, snowball runs at 9:30 p.m., porch drinks, playdates that can just spontaneously turn into sleepovers: All of these things are possible in the summertime and all are decidedly more fun than practicing spelling words, doing math drills, and taking history notes.
- It’s just as stressful for the parents. Before I had kids, I had extreme disdain for parents who said stuff like, “We have a math test tomorrow,” but now? Even though I fully agree with the hands-off philosophy of parenting in theory, I can helicopter with the best of ’em in practice. Besides, if you saw how much hot tea and soothing back rubs and lavender oil Ruby requires before a math test, I think you would agree that we all have a math test.
- I already miss school uniforms. I knew this would be a problem. Back in July, I ordered a clothing organizer, with the idea of having Ruby plan her outfits for the week in advance. This … has not really worked so far. Ruby has not yet made us late to school, but she also has not kept to her planned outfits, and she’s already started a semantic debate with the school administration about just exactly whose fist is being stipulated to when referring to a “fist-sized logo” and a second debate, in conjunction with her BFF and fellow feminist, about parts of the dress code that she feels are sexist. Meanwhile, Georgia pulls on a polo dress and is good to go.
- We’re obsessed with water now. I’m never a fan of the overly nostalgic thinking about back when we didn’t have car seats or bike helmets or seatbelts or sunscreen and we all turned out great – because that’s not true. Kids died because they didn’t have car seats or bike helmets or seatbelts, and skin cancer is a real thing. If we can keep our kids safer, we should. When you know better, you do better. That said, my God, our kids seem to need constant hydration now. We have no fewer than seven water bottles in rotation, and every single supply list I’ve seen in my parenting career – from day care to camp to school to drama class – requests that kids bring a water bottle. I get it. I really do. Water is essential; water is healthy. But even though I have no fond memories of drinking out of the hose – that sounds disgusting and unsanitary – I also have no memories of toting a BPA-free bottle of water with me to all corners of the earth. I guess what I’m saying is we never had water bottles, and we turned out great.
How is back to school treating the rest of y’all?