Thursday, September 11, 2008

Past Deadline: A joyful season...sort of

Here is the latest column offering, published in The Perth Courier, Wednesday, Sept. 10. Oh, and to answer the question posed partway through the column, Boychild was home sick for two days. Sigh....

A joyful season…sort of

It was hard to tell when the “unofficial” end of summer arrived if you weren’t looking at a calendar because that’s when the rain finally stopped. We rubbed our eyes in the bright sunshine, went outside to play and basked in the warmth like turtles on logs. Then we went to the Perth Fair, another great traditional signpost marking the end of summer holidays and the start of school.

The Tuesday after Labour Day means different things to different people. For some it’s just another workday. For retired folks it may be another day to reflect upon the joy of not having to rush out the door in the morning.

For school-aged kids, that Tuesday is frequently greeted with reluctant enthusiasm – or something. For their parents, well, there is usually lots of skipping and singing and frolicking in dew with lambs and such.

This seems like a good time to share the top five things I like about this time of year.

1. The return to routine. Gone are those lazy days of summer when the work-at-home-mom could roll out of bed when sleepyhead Girlchild decided to awaken. I mean, who needs that? I’d much rather give up those extra few minutes of sleep and wake up earlier to the robotic sound of my alarm clock beeping in my ear. Indeed.

2. Character building. Although sending one’s eldest child to school every day this year would seemingly open up huge tracts of time in a work-from-home-mom’s day, don’t be fooled. With an I-hardly-ever-nap-anymore almost-three-year-old still at home, it’s important to remember there will be no extra time during the day to get things done. Nope, the night shift continues its wearying reign. Coping with this truth is character building in a sleep-is-for-the-weak kind of way.

3. Land of the midnight lunches. With the big kid now going to school every day, this year brings with it the exciting new prospect of daily creativity in terms of developing and packing nutritious and delicious lunches for a picky eater. Exciting times, I tell you! Since this mom is not even remotely a morning person, this means dragging myself into the kitchen every night while Lloyd Robertson drones on in the background to assemble something edible for the boy.

4. Exposing character in the community. Going back to school gives this family an opportunity to shine. We live close enough to walk, which means Boychild is escorted daily by Girlchild and me. This gives all of us a chance to mingle with lots of folks before the bell rings and the prisoners – I mean students – joyfully commence their day of studies. The first day was particularly fun. What seemed like thousands, but was probably merely hundreds, of children, teachers and parents were treated to the sight of Boychild sadly expressing his displeasure about the idea of staying at school while Girlchild threw a magnitude 9.5 screaming fit because she couldn’t stay to see her brother’s classroom. Before you assume she is sad because she’ll miss Boychild, let me assure you the frenzy had more to do with the possibility of missing out on a dollhouse with which to play. What a good morning that was.

5. Strengthening immune systems. In junior and senior Kindergarten Boychild managed to resist bringing home any seriously nasty ickies until after Christmas. Except for a couple of colds, he emerged from autumn mostly unscathed those first two years. Consequently, the thought of an early sick day wasn’t even on the radar in my world, which is just silly. The first week went too well, after the first drop off, that is. The blip came along as a fever on the weekend, as I write this. Will he go to school on Monday? Only time will tell….

Yes, there are definitely pros and cons to the back-to-school thing. With the excitement about returning to routines and hearing the phrase “Mom, I’m bored” a little less often comes, well, a string of nutty stuff.

At least so far the homework has been light. I live in fear, by the way, of the impending doom known as math homework. I practically have artsy fartsy emblazoned upon my forehead, after all.


Sparky said...

nice column as usual :)

momma's heart said...

Oh, you are funny! The sicko season sends me into deep, deep dread. Emily Rose caught a cold from the church nursery and the first night of feeling ill, she woke up every half hour. After that, she was fine, expect for the coughing and runny nose. Nice preview that was.

Betsy said...

What a positive attitude you have about the back to school season. I could use an attitude adjustment in that regard.

Steph said...

Oh, Betsy, I hope you could hear the sarcasm in my post! That said, he seems to be liking it and that sends me over the moon! (I liked school as a kid and I hope the same for mine.)