School started Monday.
By all rights, I should have been thrilled, but I've not actually been looking forward to school again this year. There are several reasons for this:
We lucked into an amazing summer camp this year (hence the reason you have seen no Camp Sweatshop posts here). It was not inexpensive but we had a decent-sized tax return this year which helped pay for it and their summer "camp" last year turned out to be more like a summer "sit in the corner of the room and play video games all day" so there was no way I was sending them back there again - it didn't matter how much. This camp turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences and after the first day any reservations I had about the cost completely disappeared. They had a great time, learned a ton, got an amazing amount of exercise, the counselors were incredible and because the activities were so varied and well-structured they had no time to complain about being bored because I wouldn't buy them an iPhone. Such a difference from last year. Now our only dilemma is how to save up enough money for next summer because I want to go too.
I don't want to start doing my homework again. Really. I had homework when I was a kid, but it was a couple of times a week or if I didn't finish what I was supposed to do in class. These kids have homework every night and while I don't actually do their homework for them, I mostly think it would be easier if I did. I hate, loathe and despise playing prison guard and making my kids sit at the table while they do their homework. That's my homework. I can't do anything myself while homework is going on, because if I want to sit down and relax a bit after a rough day, maybe turn on the television, one or both of them get out of their chairs to see what I'm watching. If I talk to someone on the phone, one or both of them get out of their chairs to insert themselves in my conversation. If I do the dishes, one or both of them get out of their chairs to run around the kitchen like cockroaches. If I try to read a book, I get interrupted with "Moooooom, what do I do noooowww?" every five minutes until I have read the same paragraph over so many times, I think I have it memorized. My homework is sitting in a chair at the table watching them do their homework. My homework is spending most of every evening redirecting one or both to JUST FINISH YOUR HOMEWORK ALREADY THEN YOU CAN DO WHATEVER IT IS YOU WANT TO DO AND NOT LISTEN TO ME TELLING YOU TO FINISH YOUR HOMEWORK. I hate my homework.
I am not looking forward to teacher drama. Already in the first week of school, I have had two phonecalls from two different teachers. They were not bad calls, both were actually looking out for my kids. But man, oh man, could you at least give me a week to settle in? At least one of the calls stemmed from a situation the teacher whom we all didn't get along with last year created for my kid by making her feel like she couldn't be successful in fifth grade. I love teachers. I empathize with teachers. They do amazing work. But they are individuals and not all of them are the best. And we have seen both sides in our short time in school. I hope this year will be better than last, but that remains to be seen.
I am not looking forward to friend drama. I don't know if it was just happenstance at camp, or if the kids were so well-programmed every day that there wasn't time to get in arguments, but between the two Shortlings there was not one incident of little girl meanies the entire summer. They both made friends. Those friends seem awesome. No one got in any fights. No one came home crying. I didn't know it was possible to live in such peace and harmony. It was glorious.
I lose an hour each day. When they were in camp, they had similar hours compared to the school year, but just because of the timing and lack of a bus, I actually got to leave the house a little bit earlier and leave work a little bit later to drop them off and pick them up. It was nice for awhile to not feel like the flake at the office who skips out before everyone else.
All the extra curriculars start up again. I realize this is my own doing. I encourage them to do dance, karate, piano.... I just wish there was a way to get them there and back with me still sitting on the couch with my feet up.
School fundraisers. If I write a check now for a hundred bucks for each kid now, will you just leave me alone for the rest of the year? Maybe I'll propose that to the PTA; I might be hoisted up on people's shoulders and given a parade.
The backpacks. They are so heavy. This year The Dormouse doesn't have a locker, so she must carry all her books all the time. I feel like hiring her a sherpa.
Soon it will get cold and I'll spend much of each arguing with them about how flip flops and booty shorts are not appropriate wear for the weather, just like I spent then better part of the month of June arguing about how your ski pants and that wool sweater would not make a good wardrobe choice for being outside in ninety degree days. When do children learn to adapt?
Give me another week or two to get used to it and I'll be okay. The Shortlings are already more optimistic than I.
I, however, had a déjà vu fear response when I got out of the shower and saw their message of optimism in the bathroom mirror.