Friday, September 7, 2012

The Last Days of Summer/The First Day of Kindergarten

So... I was in a wedding last weekend and I have no pictures whatsoever to document this important event because I decided that for once I would just be there to be there and not to stick a camera in everyone's face. Which was probably a good call since I barely knew most of these people anyway. I am pretty sure I was the lamest bridesmaid ever since I was completely exhausted the entire time, I had bad hair, and my feet would only fit into flip flops. But I am also sure Emily did not mind.

Brent and the kids had to stay home because the logistics of all four of us staying in Bend for a long weekend just got way too complicated and we finally just threw in the towel and off I went. At first I felt pretty bad about leaving the fam behind, but I got over that one pretty quickly once I realized that I was responsible for NO ONE for the entire weekend. And that I could drop everything and nap in peace and quiet for a change. Also, pedicure!!

I wanted to be more helpful and more fun and certainly more glamorous than I actually was, but instead I sat around for most of the weekend and ate a bunch of food. My moment of glory did finally arrive on the day of the wedding when the clasp on Emily's dress came off and I sewed it back into place. But then the other side of the clasp seemed flimsy and it was starting to gap and so I sewed her into her wedding dress. You might go so far as to say that I saved the day. Maybe.

Another highlight: I made a new friend! (Hi Shannon!) You know when you just click right away with somebody? I love that.  And the best part is, she only got to know the miserably pregnant me and we still hit it off. Just wait until she meets the REAL me! I am way more fun when I am not housing small children in my body.

And speaking of children, then it was The First Day of School on Thursday.

Holy shit! Kindergarten! Jack was his usual aloof self, but I got pretty excited. I had this great plan that the kids and I would make chocolate chip cookies on Wednesday night so that I could pack a special treat in Jack's first ever kindergarten lunch (!!) and that everything would be PERFECT and SPECIAL and all that. But then the kids were total jerks and I never made cookies and Jack freaked out when he realized that his PERFECT and SPECIAL first day of school outfit included his Batman socks and he wanted his Nike socks. And then there was some yelling and a few time outs and some threats that I am not proud of (at least I did not throw any cheese this time...) and by the time I wrangled the kids into bed I was an exhausted and emotional wreck. So I did not make cookies. But I did wash the Nike socks, so even though Jack's first ever kindergarten lunch (!!) was neither PERFECT nor SPECIAL, at least he would have the right socks on.

I tossed and turned that night. I was nervous for Jack and I was also nervous for me, since Thursday was my first real day with students. I felt bad about the time outs and the yelling and the fact that I had not made those damn cookies. Kindergarten is a big fucking deal, people, and I worried that I had already somehow screwed it up. I was also worried that I might not have the energy or enthusiasm to pull off being Mrs. Ross the next day. But then sometime in the middle of the night, these two thoughts sort of collided in my brain and I realized that it's not me who makes kindergarten special, it's the teacher. And cookies and socks don't really mean that much when all I really want is for my kid to like school. And that I should get over it already and get some sleep so that I could pull off my first day dog and pony show in which my goal is to make students laugh while simultaneously intimidating them. It's a lot of work.

Jack is a glass half empty kind of guy. I knew that he would not come home from the first day of kindergarten with anything more than a list of complaints. I was ready for his pessimism before he even walked through the door.

Nevertheless, I pounced on him with the obligatory "How was school today?" question.

"Mom, it was so boring. All they did was talk about the rules. And they didn't even give us any homework!"

"Only mean teachers give homework on the first day of school, Jack. Everybody knows that," I assured him and I smiled as I thought of the TWO items of homework I had assigned to my 8th graders that day.

And then he asked if I thought he could get moved up to first grade. Why? I wondered.

"Because when you are in first grade you get to run in the hallway."

"That's not true," I replied with authority. "Nobody gets to run in the hallway. It's unsafe and is against the rules."

But the problem with Jack is that he will never entertain the possibility that I might know something he doesn't. He has absolutely no faith in my intelligence or life experience. "Mom, you just don't understand. The first graders were running in the hallway! I'm serious." He sighed, rolled his eyes, and stomped off, completely disgusted with me.

I cornered him later after he'd had a chance to unwind with his Legos. "How was lunch? How was your snack?"

"Lunch was fine. But I need a new snack. Don't pack me craisins and round crackers ever again, okay? The other kids had goldfish crackers. I need goldfish crackers."

"Goldfish crackers? Really? Dude, this is kindergarten. I thought you would like something more.. uh.. well, sophisticated."

"No, I want goldfish crackers and maybe some fruit snacks. Can you remember that?"

Okay. Well, I can tell you who's NOT getting chocolate chip cookies in his lunch next week.

 And that, my friends, was the first day of school. It might be a long year.

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