The gathering up of backpacks has begun. I have been fishing summer toys out of the bottoms of said backpacks for the last week. We have newly packed backpacks, freshly scrubbed lunch boxes (What is that sticky mess?) and we are ready for the start of school.
The boy will be entering the first grade and my precious darling will be starting preschool two mornings a week. Tonight is the little one’s open house and she is so excited about meeting her new teacher. I hope she is this joyous on the first day. This morning the parents had a kid-free orientation to the inner workings of the preschool. Your child will not wear flip-flops, they will not wear hindering clothing when it’s time to go potty, they will not cry for more than thirty minutes at drop off or you (parent) will have to come and pick them up. Yikes! This is my fear, that my sugar and spice will wreck the first week of preschool by wailing as though the world were about to end and having to come fetch her early.
Years ago, when the boy was first starting preschool, I was a wreck. I was pregnant at the time and he was our one and only. I cried the first day we left him, his little backpack brimming with markers, crayons and the pride of a little boy growing up. He was a little shy, but did not cry and had a marvelous time there for the next two years. If you all remember, I did follow the bus on the first day of kindergarten last year like the good neurotic mother that I am.
This year is presenting a different situation. I am beyond ready for them to get back in school. I never understood when parents would say they were ready for school to start I totally get it now. I have never had the pleasure of being with my children as much as I am now. I am so grateful to have a part-time, flexible job. However, that being said I have come to realize why we parents are so ready for school to get back in session.
They are maddening. They need the structure of school so desperately and so do I. The signs of summer began about two weeks after school let out. The whining, complaining and overall grumpiness became the norm for myself and apparently many other families. I couldn’t figure out the problem, then it dawned on me. No structure to the day equals a severely bratty child and an irritated parent. So, I made a detailed list of activities for the day on my awesome chalk board kitchen cabinets. My poor sweet babysitter probably thought I had lost my mind.
Every hour was scheduled, so needless to say that went by the wayside. The first grader has been told to keep a journal all summer so that he doesn’t lose his writing skills. Yep, you guessed it, that’s a huge fight almost daily. Getting him to read has been easy, thank goodness. We have been a part of the Summer Reading Program at the library this summer and they have thoroughly enjoyed it, as have I. We go to the playground, the library, church, play in their inflatable pool and I try to arrange play days for them. They can only play with each other so much before they lose their minds.
Overall it’s been a pretty uneventful summer, besides the whining, complaining, constant snacking and me pulling my hair out. I am so ready for that yellow school bus to pick him up and carry him to first grade and for her to begin her journey in preschool. Last year I tearfully followed the bus, sad that my guy was turning into a big boy so quickly. This year I may shed a tear or two out of sheer joy. It’s amazing the difference a year makes.