Successful reentry

By Mir
August 30, 2006

It could’ve rained today; heck, it could’ve hailed. We could’ve missed the bus. Both children could’ve come home in tears and despair. It wouldn’t have mattered. My day was perfect by 6:30 this morning.

Perfection crept into my room at 6:15 and slipped under the covers beside me, all knees and elbows and flyaway hair. While Monkey has only recently stopped greeting me this way every single morning, I couldn’t tell you the last time Chickadee did so. She is rarely up first, for one thing. For another, she’s a little too old and cool to be seeking out a morning snuggle… usually.

Utter perfection by 6:30. I wrapped my arms around her and we whispered and giggled together in the early morning light. I finally chased her into the shower with a combination of empty threats and tickling, and then missed her immediately.

Everything went off without a hitch, except that I realized about an hour after they left that I somehow managed to leave the juice boxes out of their lunches. Oops! (I’d tossed them into the freezer for extra coldness, then forgot they were in there. Smooth.) First I reasoned that they’d be fine, then guilt got the better of me and I drove across town to school. With two juice boxes. And a big sign that says “My children are spoiled and I clearly have nothing better to do with my time.”

And in light of how both of them had been running away from me all morning, it was either a REALLY nice or REALLY stupid thing for me to do, too. When the bus pulled up, Chickadee darted onto it before I could even say goodbye. I managed to catch her and wish her a good day and tell her I loved her (“Mama,” she communicated to me telepathically, while rolling her eyes, “You are SO EMBARRASSING”). Monkey was, at this point, looking as though he’d maybe changed his mind about the bus and the big school and all of that. But a quick kiss and a squeeze from me was enough to perk him up. He replied that he loved me—he is still young enough and enough of a Mama’s boy not to know that was supposed to be mortifying—and hopped onto the bus.

After they left, I went and had a meeting with the PTA president. We had important PTA business to attend to. It involved mochas and toasting our survival of the summer. What? You don’t do that, at your school? Pity.

Then I ran the juice boxes over to school, and got my car inspected (hello, end of the month! may I have a sticker, pretty please?) and returned home.

And lo, it was quiet at home. It was peaceful at home! I worked for hours without interruption. I ate chips directly from the bag and did not have to share. My chair did not do a mysterious boogie across the room each time I got up and left my desk for a minute. It was quite wonderful.

And the VERY MOST AMAZING PART is that with that time to sit down and focus—and not have to break up squabbling or ask why we’re playing in the sink or where are you going with THAT—by the time they got off the bus this afternoon, I was able to turn off the computer and not return to work (sans guilt) until after they went to bed. All summer I feel like I’ve been surgically attached to the computer, because it turns out that it takes a LOT LONGER to get anything done when you’re interrupted every 15 seconds. Who knew?

So the kids came inside and ate snacks and told me the highlights of their day (Chickadee: We are learning CURSIVE!) (Monkey: I didn’t have time to finish my lunch. Can I eat it now?) and I was the picture of loving attention. If Norman Rockwell were alive, he totally would’ve come into my kitchen and painted me and the kids this afternoon. It was everything I have always wanted for our little family, really.

Then, just before soccer practice, I thought I should probably check the weather. So I turned on the computer and did that, and discovered I had email from Monkey’s teacher. Just a quick note to let me know that at one point he had become frustrated and opted to hide under the table. And scream.


“Hey, buddy, funny thing. I got some email from your teacher. Any idea what that might be about?”

Monkey took a break from his demanding schedule of shoving food around on his plate (Chickadee and I were long since finished) and gave me the uh-oh look. “I… uhhhh… I cried,” he admitted.

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. But I don’t think she would mail me just because you CRIED, do you? Wanna tell me the rest?”

He did, eventually. And he felt he was completely blameless, natch. We did have a talk about it. I can’t decide whether to chalk it up to the stress of the day or if a meltdown of that proportion before he’s even comfortable means that we’re in for a landmark year (and not in a good way). Time will tell, I suppose.

But as we laid out their clothes for tomorrow, when I asked if they thought they really wanted to go back—maybe it was no fun, and they’d rather just stay home?—they both vehemently insisted that they wanted to return.

Which is a good thing, because my nice, quiet, productive day followed by the ability to really attend to and enjoy them could prove addictive.

Also, I don’t want to share the chips.


  1. Susan

    “My children are spoiled and I clearly have nothing better to do with my time.” That’s my motto. I can’t tell you all the ridiculous things I’ve run to the kids’ schools. I have even run home (20 miles) to fetch something, run around town dropping off the various (sometimes requested by them via a phone call) items, and returned to work. Yes, I work full-time outside the home. Well, I get PAID full-time.

    I’m glad your kiddos had nice days. Even with the hiding under the table incident. Sometimes I want to hide under things, too. Understandable.

  2. Gwen

    I just had a kindergarten flashback.

  3. shannon

    success! glad they both want to go back tomorrow…

  4. Vanda

    Hiding under the table means I can’t see you, you can’t see me therefore what ever stressed me out isn’t there anymore. Makes sense to me. Maybe I’ll try it out sometime LOL.

  5. barbex

    You get emails from their teacher? I want that!

  6. angelfeet

    “And lo, it was quiet at home. It was peaceful at home! I worked for hours without interruption. I ate chips directly from the bag and did not have to share. My chair did not do a mysterious boogie across the room each time I got up and left my desk for a minute. It was quite wonderful.”

    My little one has just demanded to know why I am laughing and I couldn’t really explain to her just how much this resonated with me. In fact, whilst writing this comment I have been interrupted three times by her and once by her big sister – aaargh!

    By the way, what has Chickadee got in her bag? – it looks big enough to house a small kitchen.

  7. Bob

    Kinda wierd – sounds like you had a “regular” work day like the rest of us maze-runners. (except for the mocha meeting. I don’t get mocha meetings. I get “just a pinch between the cheek and gums” meetings. Complete with spit cups/cans. woo hoo.)

    Sounds like a wonderful day.

  8. tori

    I didn’t realize the not having time to finish lunch was a universal first grade thing! My twins have come home every day STARVING and sit at the table and eat the rest of their lunch the minute they get home. I thought it was something specific to our school, but I guess not. My daughter was super excited about learning cursive this year too. Sometimes I wish I were 8 again to have that kind of stuff mean the world to me!

  9. Kathy

    I regularly hide under my desk at work. It works like a charm. Seriously, don’t you just LOVE back to school time? It’s feels like such a fresh start.

  10. Amy-Go

    Dude, I want to hide under the table and scream all the time. Poor little Monkey. ;)

  11. Catherine

    Tell Monkey the secret is to sit under the desk and be quiet…that way nobody can find you. I have found this technique quite successful in my office. :)

  12. ishouldbeworking

    I crawl under my desk and assume the fetal position whenever things get too scary here. Sometimes it works, sometimes I am found and dragged back out to face the big scary thing that drove me under there in the first place. Tell Monkey to buck up – it usually doesn’t last too long and things will definitely be better tomorrow! :D

  13. Alexa

    You know, that all sounds just lovely. It made me nostalgic for my own back to school days and excited about having those days with my children in a few years (hopefully). I think I’m going to go buy a notebook and a sweater.

  14. Aimee

    You know, it almost sounds like you’re implying there’s something *wrong* with hiding under your desk and screaming. But that can’t be so. Can it?!

  15. WendyC

    Yay! So glad they both enjoy their new classes!

    Here’s a trick for the inspection sticker thing…heh heh… here in Texas we get 5 “grace days” the month following the expiration, I imagine most states do. I go during those 5 days, so that I essentially have 13 months before I have to go again.

    And, thinking ahead, every 12 years, you get a free year.

  16. lynn

    Wendy – I’ve tried that, but here in Massachusetts even if you do renew your sticker late (up to – ahem – two months once) they still renew it to the month you were supposed to renew it for. So, no free months here :-(

  17. InterstellarLass

    Sounds like it was a great first day! Well, except for the Monkey getting upset. But that will pass! Here’s to silent, chip-full days!

  18. Kathryn, DYM

    That truly is the beginning of a perfect day. I just asked Laylee for a good morning snuggle and she said she “wasn’t reday.” If she’s three and she’s “not ready” how ready is she gonna be when she gets to gradeschool? Sweet Monkey will settle into things. Here’s to wishing the Norman-Rockwellesqueness of your life continues.

  19. Gillian

    I had a friend who would drive to two different fast food places because each of her sons was very particular about their food preferences. That is spoiled. Gaach.

  20. Cele

    Ah jeez. I miss those days.

  21. Jenny

    Don’t we all want to hide under a table and scream sometimes?

  22. The Other Leanne

    I’m hiding under my desk right now! Can you hear me screaming?

  23. the womom

    “my nice, quiet, productive day followed by the ability to really attend to and enjoy them”
    that? That is wonderful. That’s what I signed up for!

  24. cagey

    Thank you. I needed to see the light at the end of my own personal Tunnel. My 10 month old isn’t NEAR going to school and often, I wonder why I get little done during the day. It IS hard to concentrate while someone is perched at your knees.

  25. Daisy

    Only worry if you find out the TEACHER was hiding under the table crying!

  26. Ei

    I think I love you.

    I have a under-the-table-hiding-and-screaming kid. It comes and goes. This summer he took summer school classes for his talented and gifted program. The teacher told me she has one every summer. Probably just a sign of genius Monkey old boy.

  27. Tessa

    Ahhh yes. The inabiblity to eat lunch on THEIR (the schools) schedule rather than their (the kids) own. Last year, when my son started Kindergarten, I decided I was going to let him buy lunch. I NEVER got to buy lunch as a kid and I really burned my bootay. I wasn’t gonna have MY kid go through that… 2 weeks later he was begging for me to pack him a lunch. I was thinking to myself, what the… ?!?!?!? I got indignant and told him he would continue to BUY his lunch. After another 2 weeks we had the SAME conversation… I finally asked why. His reply “I don’t have time to eat when I buy lunch, Mommah. By the time I get through the line its time to clean up and go to class again.” I felt lower than spit on the belly of a slug oozing down the street. He now takes his lunch.

  28. Shiz

    There’s an ad here for Staples — do you have it? The dad is pulling the shopping cart around the store, dancing to “It’s the MOST WONDERFUL TIIIME of the year!” and the kids are sulking.

    I love it. You deserve chips. Awes.

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