Today was Open House at school, because someone decided that it would be a really splendiferous idea, this year, on account of so many people usually missing Open House because of summer travel and all, to have Open House the day before school starts.
That’s terribly helpful. An entire summer of “but where will I go?” and “what will my desk be like?” and a whole 22 hours of foreknowledge to soothe any wayward concerns. I’d like to meet the person who planned it this way, because I would like to thank them personally.
And the bus schedule was never sent out. Also useful. What HAS the administration been doing all summer? I may be in the wrong line of work.
So we did the Open House thing; met both teachers, scoped out the classrooms, ran into a gazillion people and tried to chat amidst the din. When we finally left, I decided we’d swing by Monkey’s old school on our way home to visit the teachers there. Both kids had them for kindergarten and it was a lovely reunion all around. I don’t know if it helped, transition-wise, but it just seemed like the thing to do.
The afternoon flew by with appointments and errands, and I tried to get a few things done while the kids went off to Tae Kwon Do and dinner with their dad. When they came home, I started to realize the enormity of the preparation ahead of me.
Rereading the “welcome” letters that had been sent home, we remembered that Monkey needed a stuffed animal in a bag (I don’t ask questions, I just do what they tell me) and Chickadee needed either a postcard from somewhere she went this summer (oops) or a picture of her doing something she enjoys (that was easier). Check.
Both kids needed water bottles to keep at school, but had to deliberate amongst their choices. Check.
Loaded pencil boxes and other gear had already been placed into their pristine backpacks, but now I removed the class donation items and bundled them into a separate bag, first, before putting them back into their packs. I am not confident that Monkey wouldn’t come right back home with 2 boxes of tissues, a canister of antibacterial wipes, and some dry erase markers, if left to his own devices. This way I could say: THIS HERE BAG OF STUFF goes to the teacher. Check.
I sent Monkey up to take a shower while Chickadee and I checked the weather forecast. Then we went upstairs and set the alarm on her clock. Now that she’s in third grade, she seems to feel she should shower in the morning. I have tried to talk her out of this, but she won’t budge. I have agreed to try it on a trial basis; the first time she pulls her typical early morning sloth routine and can’t get out of bed and into the shower (or, say, makes it into the shower but spends an hour in there), she’s back to nightly showers. Early alarm set? Check.
We laid out her clothes for tomorrow: the skirt she picked out because it is sufficiently twirly, a multicolored t-shirt, and her new shoes (Skechers’ version of Crocs) which I have cruelly not allowed her to wear yet. It will be cold in the morning, so she wanted a cardigan to wear over the top. Her only cardigan is an off-white pretty little thing, bought to wear over her Easter dress this past year. She begged with earnest promises to keep it clean to please please PLEASE be allowed to wear it tomorrow. I remembered how the outfit she wore on the first day of school two years ago came home saturated in paint that never washed out, and how the outfit she wore on the first day of school last year came home crusted in mud and ripped. She makes puppy eyes. I agree to let her wear the sweater. Check.
Monkey got out of the shower and I pulled two shirts from his closet for him to choose between. He cannot decide; in fact, he is moved to tears. Over shirts. I helpfully pointed out that whichever one he doesn’t wear tomorrow, he can wear another time! Perhaps the very next day, even! He made his selection and I folded it into a neat pile with his shorts and his new shoes (also Skechers’ Crocs). Check.
While the kids brushed their teeth, I changed the sheets on their beds. One more check of the alarm clocks and a chapter of our book later, I am giving hugs and kisses and reminding them that yes, it will be hard to fall asleep tonight, but they should do their best to just settle down and rest. There is no need (Monkey) to come out of your room and announce that you are still awake. (Chickadee: I never do that.) (Monkey discovered something shiny in the corner, right around this point.) More hugs and kisses are given and they are tucked in for the night. Check.
At this point I thought I could sit down and do some work. Or maybe relax. HAHAHAHA. Back downstairs, I double-checked their backpacks. I put a snack in the front pocket of each one, and got out their lunchbags. I put some juice boxes in the fridge and sliced the pan of rice krispie treats.
(Then I may have stopped and sampled the rice krispie treats, just because I’m a concerned parent, like that.)
Each lunchbag got a generous krispie square in a baggie in the bottom. I then set about actually making their lunches—I feel the need to note this, because it’s probably the only time all year when I’ll remember to do it the night before instead of 5 minutes before the bus comes. Sandwiches are assembled and in the fridge, as are baggies of raw veggie assortments. Green beans and celery for both. Carrots for Monkey, grape tomatoes and a little container of ranch dressing for Chickadee. Check.
I grabbed two napkins, wrote each child a note, and put the napkins in their lunchbags. (I wanted to write “I’m sorry the summer ended up being sort of boring and I hope today is incredibly exciting and you make lots of new friends and no one is mean to you and you’re not scared and you remember who you are and that I love you more than anything on this planet absolutely no matter what,” but I restrained myself.) I kept Monkey’s simple enough for him to read without help and made a stupid joke on Chickadee’s. Check.
After puttering around downstairs for a bit, I came up and checked on the kids. Chickadee is sleeping sprawled to the corners of her bed, magically taking up twice as much space as when awake, arms flung wide to accept whatever’s coming her way. She sighs a lot while she’s asleep. Monkey is curled up with his head halfway under the pillow, blankets twisted around his legs, muttering a bit in a language all his own.
So it’s up to me to tend their butterflies, which are now my butterflies, until morning. And at breakfast I will assure them that I haven’t a worry about everything going just fine, and I will smile and they will believe me.
And that’s really kind of awesome.