Wednesday, August 25, 2010

No Thought Control

Ahh, the backpacks, the lunch sacks, the tears, the hurt feelings, the biting, the using one’s head as a battering ram in one’s sister’s stomach--it must be the first week of school.

I’m ambivalent about school. I love the teachers we’ve got this year. I love the field trips, the math, the science, the history, the reading. I love PE, music and art. I love Field Day. I love the responsibilities the school gives my children, such as Conflict Mediator and student leadership. I do not love how tired my daughters are at the end of the day or the enormous amount of scheduling it requires.

Excited About Kindergarten becomes Out of Her Head Tired almost as soon as she walks in the door. No amount of bananas, hugs or “here, let me do that with you,” has helped. She bit a hole in our leather chair. She bit her sister’s shirt and almost tore it. She shoved the same sister in the stomach because she walked into a room at the wrong time. She punched me. That’s just the physical stuff. It would take hours to relate all the drop-on-the-floor hysterical crying she’s done. Usually because I made something green for dinner, but sometimes because we smiled in her direction, the phone rang, or the wrong word was used when speaking to her.

And of course her older sisters are not much help. Oh, they’re nice up until about 45 minutes after the bell rings for dismissal. And then they, too, realize that they’re exhausted, cranky and really just want to watch Zach and Cody for the next 20 years. But even that isn’t exactly right. Monday, I let them watch an hour of TV. Usually, school days are TV free zones, but the first day of school, no homework, worn out kids... Know what I heard that night? “We didn’t even have time to play!” So yesterday, there was no TV and I repeatedly told them to play. Know what I heard? “You never let us watch TV!” Oh, how fickle are the minds of my masters.

There are good memories of these first days, too. Summer Birthday Girl got to pass out party invitations on the first day of school. How cool is that? And Last Year in Elementary is renewing a friendship I feared had died. It will be a good friendship to take into that most dismal abyss--Junior High. Just get us through the next few days without knife throwing and I think we’ll come out in the “pro” column of it all. At least until next year. I reserve the right to homeschool through Junior High.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

On The Fairway

The sign said that it was the exact one seen in State Fair featuring Anne Bancroft and Pat Boone. “Ah,” I thought. “A piece of history. Such a good mom, to bring my children here to experience this.”

But then, I’m not sure that the original Tilt-a-Whirl is really where you want to go with the whole history thing. How long can metal grind against metal and not leave some horrendous, news making event in its wake?

The last week before school starts, and with such a cold start to the summer, we’ve been packing it all in. We brought my sister home with us from our last vacation, and she’s loving it here. She asked me yesterday, “Next time I come to visit, can I just visit?” Apparently, she does not like my free labor method of entertaining guests. She helped move all the heavy furniture from the upstairs to the basement. I tried to make her do it on her own, but she whined when she saw the armoire that had to go down 3 flights of stairs. Whimp.

So, to make up for the turn her “vacation” had taken, I packed everyone in the minivan and we trundled off to a small amusement park. I was amused. I think everyone was amused. I hate amusement parks, but as soon as the Maze Owners handed us each a water gun and told us to have fun, I changed my mind. We snuck around corners, climbed under partitions (turns out, that’s a no-no) and walked out soaked. Being Carried In My Arms Infant wasn’t so thrilled, but I think that’s because he didn’t get his own gun.

I also had a harness tied around my waist, bungee cords attached to my sides, and I jumped. High. Really, really high. And I flipped, on purpose. I put my derrière in the air and did a somersault. Just one, because two would have been more than my old-lady stomach could have borne. I’m also not sure the growing crowd was entirely on my side. I think at least a few of them walked away disappointed when I did not, in fact, throw up.

So, come visit us. We may force you to help us paint, but we’ll end the day with ice-cold water guns and puke.