Well…summer raced by as I played cook, nursemaid, parole officer (same difference) and supreme ruler of my universe to the multitudes in the absence of my husband (gone for about 12 weeks of medical care in another city following serious surgery to his ankle). There are certainly many freedoms in being the only one looking after the entire tribe. Basically it looked like this…my way…or else. (!!) On the flip side…12 weeks of being the only parent 24/7 to a tribe of 9 (8 months and up) is completely…exhausting! Oh..and yes the husband was doing helpful “things” all along that I took for granted and discovered this truth in his absence.
Sadly it is now time for school and the summer has come to a close. The majority of my offspring are NOT looking forward to joining the ranks of their peers on the yellow buses headed for “higher learning.” With one exception, a little boy who starts Grade One this year can’t wait to start school and be “gone” for the whole day. Wait until he finds out the truth about school. Yep…I can see me in about a month dragging the same child out from under the covers and trying to regale him with “fun” things about school. The sad reality is more often than not Grade One heralds the end of a carefree imagination and is replaced by doing things “the right way.” It will be a year where his imaginary friends will die mercilessly …slaughtered by the cold words of “cooler” kids on the playground. I won’t hear about how he has packed all his toys and together he and the toys have had adventures all over the world in one day. Some other realist out there will be sure to let my son know this is also IMPOSSIBLE to do. I hope that after a year of Grade One he still believes in the IMPOSSIBLE. As belief in the impossible is the only way I can get through a moment (never mind one FULL day).
“Back to school” would not be complete without back to school shopping (very last-minute over here). This is truly very overrated. A national school supply chain heralds this season as “The most wonderful time of the year.” (See you tube ad at bottom of post.) Nothing could be further from the truth!
The younger crowd does not care about any school supplies other than having a “cool” back pack/lunch kit. The older kids would prefer NO lunch kit…as this is so “lame.” (??) Apparently to show up in school with a plastic bag in a world conscious of green decisions to protect the environment is somehow NOT lame (?). This is because “everyone else is doing it.” If I hear the rationale just one more time that “everyone else does this…” I will have a bird (Not to worry my kids and their friends really want to see this). This is just the shopping for the mundane luggage to cart one’s lunch and paraphernalia around in. It gets better!
Then we get to school supplies. When I went to school mostly everything was provided and it was a public school system (although throughout life I have been a connoisseur of private, and public and homeschooling). I used to be so excited for the new coloured pencils and crayons. Well that has all changed. Some schools want everything provided from the paper and pens, through glue sticks, rulers and scissors and on to calculators, tennis balls (for the feet on your kid’s chair) and then (let us not ever forget) huge amounts of KLEENEX. With the numbers I deal with… to be providing 6 boxes of tissues per child is way more than this crowd will ever use (or want to use…sadly) in a year. I got to wonder if the excess supplies are to stock the yearly school garage sale for future fundraising. No, perhaps the secret behind the copious amount of tissues required is the teachers are in dire need of Kleenex themselves as they have to deal with a cross-section of humanity in dwarf sizes and varying degrees of maturity.
The older crowd are busy regaling me with the need that not only do they need calculators but now most of their buddies have their own laptops. So what? Then it is time for the (newly) teenager-daughter to pipe up that she CAN’T go to school without a cell phone in her possession. When I point out the fact that this child rides the bus to and fro school and is supposed to be in school learning … so “like” what would you need a cell for (?). The answer slays me. It is so that she can “text” her buddies…the ones sitting in class with her (you know the ones less than an arm’s length distance away)…oh and also to be sure she not ostracized for being not “cool” as she MUST be (at least) “seen” with a cell phone. “Mom a cell phone is a basic necessity!“ The phone is mostly for show, taking pictures, texting and in short a distraction to any school work that actually might occasionally occur. So, nah… a BIG NO when it comes to a cell phone for this kid. I am real popular at this point.
One a side note I love the “MUST-HAVES” list no one seems to care how all of this will be funded or afforded. I have learned in the eons of years I have been at this game that most of the requested school supplies are “nice to haves.” If I miss something critical you may be sure the teacher will let me know (in addition to many reminders from the child in question).
Moving on to the clothing (or lack thereof)…the little kids are fairly easy to please. A pair or two of shoes, some shirts and jeans (hand-me-downs) and everything is fine. The older kids…not so much. “Oh I can’t wear that”, “too lame”, “I look too fat” (child who is less than average weight), “I am too old for Disney” (did not think ANYONE was ever TOO old for Disney). The comments continue “I am not a nun…I am not wearing that!” The latest, “I need clothes that cover my hairy legs mom because you won’t let me shave!” (This kid is barely ten and I cannot locate “peach fuzz” on her…even with a magnifying glass!). Course then “the-who-is-allowed-to-shave” becomes the topic of conversation as we move on to the next store. Finally I offer to supply the new teenager with a disposable razor. Well the lip is curled up (Duh…Mom goofed again) “when I said shave I was sure you would take me to a spa and have my legs waxed like so-and-so’s mom does!” Again…a definite “NO” at my end. Disposable razor…take it or leave it. I know people older than I who t have worked all their lives and never been to a spa. Since when did “waxing” at a “spa” become the norm for a kid still in grade school?
Morale of the story …more is less. My kids have rulers, some paper, new shoes all bundled into existing backpacks (ones that weren`t overgrown with too much lunch mould from last year) and a few lunch kits and are now ready for school. Decided to keep the bulk of the tissues here to mop up the tears from those disappointed from not getting “the basics” on this shopping trip.
No longer need to threaten to have a hairy bird…apparently one lives with me already!
The Garden Goat
(Have yet to find a SPA that accepts goats!)