Friday, August 23, 2013

First Week of School

It would have been cute if this post were simply the first day of school and I had pics of all four kids on the front porch in super cute outfits with brand new shiny shoes, but it's taken me the entire week just to feel human again. We did not have a first day of school like that, and even if we had, my kids rarely get excited about getting all gussied up on the first day. I felt a little envious of all the Instagram pics that fit that description, but with our schedule this year that just wasn't going to happen: 4 kids, 4 schools, and 3 different "first" days? No.

Will had a special 8am-12pm "first" day for seventh graders only at the middle school on Monday. (To let them figure out how to get to their classes without all the older kids in the way--it's nice.) He was cracking me up as I drove him to the school sniffing his underarms and licking his Listerine strips:

He's a funny kid (obviously), so his personality will get him through, but I felt a little sad dropping him off while he was still hyperventilating. He'll be fine. I hope:

That night we had two Open Houses for both Kate the high schooler, and Rachael the kindergartner. Following are two simple visuals to illustrate the difference between these two worlds:

I couldn't believe how familiar the whole high school scene was. I was DYING at the sophomore orientation, from the class president giving everyone a little pep speech to the cheerleaders teaching everyone the fight song. I know it's really fun and exciting for certain personalities (and I was a cheerleader and the Homecoming princess, so I was that personality), but Kate can't graduate fast enough. The whole experience was cracking me up. We even asked for directions from a boy in a Letterman jacket who looked exactly like a dark-haired version of my high school boyfriend. (Though when I mentioned this to Kate, she forbade me from ever saying such things again . . . ) I seriously can't believe I have a child in high school who is almost old enough to drive! Here's my one day of being a fly on the wall (unless I decide to join the PTA and show up on campus occasionally):
On Tuesday, everyone but Rachael--who starts half day kindergarten next week--went to school (first days for both Kate and Elizabeth), but it took until today to get all the bus routes and times figured out for both Kate and Will. (Bless the public bus system. Paying taxes is worth some things.) So with all of this in mind, this is what our Tuesday (the sort of, kind of first day) looked like:

6:50am--After about the 12th night in a row of terrible sleep broken up by insomnia, I jolted out of bed realizing Kate was about to leave and I needed to make her a quick lunch. (I would have her make her own lunch, but I don't trust her to feed herself well yet. What did you eat in high school when you had the freedom to choose? My wheat germ and carob-loving mom would be horrified to know that all my freshmen year hot lunch money was spent exclusively on Bugles, Bear Claws, and Diet Pepsi. Disgusting, but true.)
7:00am--Brandon left for work with Kate riding along to go to her first day of high school. (10th grade here in Happy Valley.) Thankfully, the hospital is just down the street from the high school, but whenever Brandon can't take her (which is usually), she can always catch the bus around the same time. (7am is pretty early at our house!) I got one quick pic of Kate before she left. Cute as she is, this girl was not trying to impress anyone. She sort of has a "just educate me" attitude about high school. All the fluff is totally lost on her. (Wonder where she got that attitude?)
7:30am--Will left to catch the bus for middle school. There was no stopping him for a picture:

It was a beautiful morning for the "kind of" first day of school. Good heavens, I feel so lucky to live next to this view:
9:00am--Woke up Rachael so I could take Elizabeth (who had been awake from excitement since 5:30am) to the same school she attended last year for the A.L.L. program (Advanced Learner Lab). I tried to talk her out of it this year since Will would be at the middle school and Rachael would be at the neighborhood school, but she begged me until I relented. (What mother tries to talk her child out of attending a special program for accelerated learners? The one who is writing weekly articles for mothers, that's who!) It's just that it's one more school, A LOT of homework, and these smart and sweet girls in her class that she likes so well won't even be going to the same middle school that she will when the time comes. It was a tough decision, but we made it together and now we will have to live it--for better or for worse! One thing is for sure, Elizabeth's sunny disposition can make any situation seem positively perfect. It's one of her best characteristics in my opinion:

Back inside, I found this girl in her own little world of imagination (one of her best characteristics):
When she starts next week, kindergarten will begin at 12:30 and then the older kids will start coming home around 2:45. Yep, after almost 16 years of motherhood, I still will only get less than 3 hours a day to myself! (I know, first world problems.) I'm sure when everyone is gone "all" day next year I won't think it's so great. (I feel like I'm just supposed to say that, but in truth, the day goes by so quickly and there is always so much to get done that I think I'm going to LOVE IT!) Irregardless, I will enjoy this time alone with Rachael every day. Especially after such a busy and chaotic summer.

The empty spaces of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were filled with last minute school supply shopping (because you never know what the older kids need until after they go to their classes . . .), play dates for Rachael, lessons and activities which have started back up again, and forgetting Rachael's kindergarten assessment meeting with her teacher (argh!) among other things.

But today is quiet. I finally got a good (enough) night of sleep, we've all adjusted to the morning schedule (and the bus schedule . . . bless the buses), and Rachael was invited to go to the dinosaur museum with a friend. I feel almost back to normal; that place where I can start moving forward again instead of just treading water.

It's nice.

 Here's to a new school year!

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