I think I speak for all of us when I say our kids have been driving us INSANE all summer! HALLELUJAH AND HEAVEN ON A POPSICLE STICK, school is FINALLY here again! I’ve been marking off the days on my calendar and jiggly-dancing with unbridled joy! YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!
Wait, wha??? No, I haven’t.
I’m not ready for school to start at all! I mean, I understand the theory in concept: the fewer kids there are in the house, the quieter the house, the less crap to clean up, the fewer disputes to mediate, etc… I get that. But there are worse things, comrades!
1. I have to start setting my alarm clock again. Oh, COME ON! I just settled into my stay-up-‘til-one-and-sleep-‘til-nine schedule. The kids know how to turn on the TV in the morning, pour themselves a bowl of cereal, and leave me the heck alone. And now I have to readjust to getting up at the butt-crack of dawn again? AND I have to give up my precious late-night alone time? Would someone please pass me a tissue? *sniff*
2. And don’t even get me started on the morning routine. Coaxing my son out of bed while it’s still dark is like trying to disarm a bomb; you just never know when he might go off. And once my grumpy little troll has at last been pried from his mattress with the Jaws of Life, he slumps listlessly in front of his oatmeal in a catatonic state, eyes glazed over and a string of drool dangling precariously from one corner of his mouth. I have to practically shove food down his throat so he doesn’t end up starving at eleven in the morning and having a meltdown in class. Getting dressed is so difficult that I had to make a chart for him. Underwear first, son, pants next. (Doesn’t it seem like that would be obvious?)
3. I have to make my kid’s lunch every morning, before I’ve even had my coffee. I mean, I don’t HAVE to… but the stuff they serve in the cafeteria… well I’m not sure it can really be classified as food. And the school lets the kids choose what they put on their tray, so many kids’ cafeteria lunches consist of a slice of pizza, a brownie, an ice-pop, and chocolate milk. My kid has ADHD; if he ate a lunch like that, he would probably explode. That would be a trifle traumatizing for his classmates, I think. And for all you organized super-moms who are about to suggest I make his lunch the evening before? Uh… well, I don’t have a snappy come-back for you. You’re absolutely right, I should totally do that. But I won’t, because I’m not that organized. So there.
4. School-year grooming is more demanding than summer-time grooming. We can get away with lackadaisical hygiene over the summer – but when school is in session, teachers, administrators, other moms, the janitor… they will all judge me if my kid’s hair is too long, he stinks, there’s dirt under his nails, or a little wax is showing in his ear canal. These are all things which, during summer, can be swept under the proverbial rug. After all, the pool is anti-microbial, right? (Until someone’s kid takes a shit in it, then not so much, I guess.)
5. My kid has to get used to wearing shoes other than flip-flops again. After a summer of nothing but Crocs and flip-flops, regular shoes (no open-toed or sling-backs, per the dress code!) suddenly feel like medieval-torture devices. “My shoes feel weird, Mommy.” “Something’s rubbing/pinching/squishing/scratching me, Mommy.” “There’s a wrinkle in my sock, Mommy.” I need another tissue, please. Or a Xanax.
6. Schedules get crazy during the school year. The mere act of programming all the obligatory meetings and appointments into my phone calendar exhausts me. And that’s before I actually DO any of the stuff. During the summer we lazily float through the days, and all the fun stuff we do is on impulse, just how we like it. But the school year is a highly-scheduled smorgasbord of after-school activities, teacher conferences, required volunteer hours, birthday parties, school recitals, project due-dates… just kill me now.
7. Homework once again becomes part of the daily routine. I’m sorry, weren’t you just in school for six hours, kid? They couldn’t squeeze enough learning into SIX HOURS? Ya gotta do an extra hour at home while I’m trying to fold laundry and cook dinner? I thought I was done with homework when I graduated college; this is a fresh new hell.
8. During the school year, the kids need to be on a consistent bed-time routine. No more “if you rub/walk on/scratch Mommy’s back, you get to stay up later” crap. They actually require a certain number of hours of sleep to function at optimal capacity, and it’s on me to make sure they get it.
9. Fundraisers. Here’s a hundred bucks, school. NOW LEAVE ME ALONE.
10. When big kids go back to school, little ones at home lose their playmates. This is probably a good thing if your kids can’t stand each other. And if you don’t have little ones at home, this obviously doesn’t apply to you. But my seven and three-year-olds are best friends and play together all day long with only infrequent altercations. (Knocking on wood right now; I’m not an idiot.) When my son goes into second grade, my daughter will inevitably force me to sludge through countless hours of My Little Pony, following her impromptu script for what each of the characters are supposed to say. The worst thing about this is that I actually know all the Pony’s personalities and dialects, and am incapable of performing my part without being fully in character. If you have any concept of how distinct each of the main characters of My Little Pony are, you know how much skill this requires. Go ahead, clap. I’ll wait.
And if you want to know the real truth… I’ll miss my son while he’s at school. There. I said it. So sue me. It’s true: in spite of my incessant whining about how my kids are always underfoot and driving me crazy with their noise, I do actually kind of like having them – both of them – around.
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