The first day of school was—if not a success—acceptable. Our school has what is supposed to be an orderly procedure for distributing children at the end of the day; there’s a web of driveway and parking lot areas that IN THEORY make for an optimal traffic pattern. The buses go in HERE and the people who are parking (why are you parking, people??) go in HERE and if you’re picking up, you pull in over THERE and someone comes to ask you which child you’d like to kidnap and eat for dinner and then they radio back to the holding pen and someone brings your victim out. It’s a great system.
Or, it WOULD be, if anyone bothered to follow the rules. You know, I came over a thousand miles to this school, and I still managed to put on my big girl pants and ASK SOMEONE where I should go and what the procedure was for the end of the day. And yet I was able to sit there in my car (and sit there I did, for about 45 minutes) while people who’ve attended this school for years went IN the OUT drive, parked on the LAWN, and cut in front of other people. I wanted to put every one of those people into time-out.
When I failed to pull up and block the crosswalk, people just started pulling up in front of me. Of course, then I got to have the unparalleled joy of watching the crossing guard yell at them, but still.
Eventually—shortly before I died of old age, in fact—we made it to the front of the line and my children magically appeared. They flung their backpacks into the car and hopped in and buckled.
“Hi, guys!” I said.
“Hi!” they answered.
“How was your FIRST DAY of school?” I asked.
“Good!” they answered.
Aaaaaaand… then there was silence.
I managed to extract a few details from them over the course of the afternoon and evening: Seven kids in Monkey’s class got into trouble, but he wasn’t one of them (whether he actually behaved or whether the teacher is giving him some latitude, I’m not sure); it is cold in the classroom and he thinks he’d like to wear jeans from now on (today’s forcast: 100 degrees. I made him wear shorts, because I am a big meanie); Chickadee’s teacher told them that she’s 28 and has taught for four years, all of them at that school; Chickadee had to sit next to a boy but she was told that today she can switch seats to sit with a girl; they had three recesses and half an hour for lunch (that’s a nice change from the 15 minutes they had at their old school).
Everyone was in one piece and no one seemed too traumatized, so we’ll call it good.
I, on the other hand, was somewhat traumatized because the prolonged pick-up time meant that we skidded into piano lessons after school with about two seconds to spare. I don’t like to be rushed. And I suspected that the kids weren’t going to be able to focus very well, going straight in from school and barely having time for a snack. (I threw some cereal bars at them. “EAT THOSE!” I yelled.)
[Digression: If you’re wondering how my first kid-free day went, you can read about it over here. That isn’t terribly important, but what IS important is that I didn’t mention that one of the phone calls I had to make yesterday was to my soon-to-be best buddies over at American Pest Control, because this was sadly NOT the last time I found a palmetto bug in the house. So I called them up and said “I DO NOT LIKE BUGS, SAM I AM” and then agreed to put me on their special no-more-bugs plan, which as near as I can tell involves them taking all my money and me kissing their feet.]
So we got to the studio and Monkey immediately starts cooing, “Ooooh! Caterpillars!” Now, the boy loves him some caterpillars, but Chickadee and I looked around in confusion until the piano teacher pointed out (and we could see for ourselves) that the studio is currently experiencing an infestation of centipedes. As in, they were all. over. the. floor.
And then I threw up and then I died. The end!
Um, well, that’s what I WANTED to do, but instead I watched as Monkey alternately had his lesson and leapt off the bench to gather up more “caterpillars” off the carpet. Then it was Chickadee’s turn and Monkey retreated to the adjoining room, where he commenced making a PILE of CENTIPEDES with great glee.
“You know,” I announced to no one in particular, “I just called American Pest Control today. They have a guarantee! So, um, perhaps if you called them my children would be becoming virtuosos instead of bug collectors.”
Watching the kids take piano lessons is interesting for me, anyway, even without bugs involved. Chickadee is working in an advanced beginner book and doing quite well, when she actually puts her mind to it. She often masks her frustration with not being perfect by being silly and/or returning to an earlier piece when asked to play her current one, and the piano teacher has never once smacked her (gold star for him, methinks). Monkey is in a very basic beginner book, and as he has the attention span of a gnat that’s as it should be; but every now and then that savant memory of his makes an appearance and he rattles off a piece from memory. More often, however, he is embarrassed to be struggling and does his Don Music impression (head flung down on the keyboard) rather than continuing to try.
(The teacher assures me that they’re both doing great. I wonder if perhaps I’m the only person who pays him on time.)
“I wonder what would happen if we put the centipedes up on the piano!” Monkey said on our way home. “Maybe after being in the studio all day they’ve learned a lot!”
I went to bed last night with visions of creepy-crawlies stuck in my head.
And in case you’re wondering, here is NOT what you want to hear first thing in the morning before the sun has even come up:
“Mom! There’s a… big grasshopper? on the ceiling in my bedroom!”
The bug guys are coming tomorrow afternoon. Until then, I guess I just have the kids practice piano and hope the critters like music.