Tuesday, August 23, 2011

School Days or is it School Daze

By Robin 'Red Hot' Kaye

I don’t know about you, but for me, the best day of the year is always the first day of school even though each child comes home with an inch-thick stack of forms to fill out. By the time I finish filling out the forms, I’ve got a major case of writer’s cramp but even that doesn’t diminish my happiness.

After enduring a full summer of kids whining about being bored, fighting about one or another of them hogging the TV, or standing in front of the refrigerator complaining that there’s nothing to eat but ingredients, I’m subjected to my definition of hell. School shopping.

There’s nothing worse than walking through Walmart with three lists of school supplies among one-hundred other frazzled parents, each with their 1.5 children begging for a Dora the Explorer backpack and having temper tantrums when the kids hear the word no. Hell is trying to find two-pocket folders with the metal fasteners in six different colors, and six packs of three different size post it notes while pushing a cart full of $150 of other supplies while not taking your hand off said cart because, lets face it, everyone else’s cart looks exactly the same and you don’t want to start the process over again. I hang onto my cart like my life depends upon it, and the way I feel when I’m finished, it probably does.

At 7:05 in the morning, after giving my youngest a hug and a kiss goodbye, and saying the words I say every school day “Make it a good day, Sweetie. The decision is yours.” I watch her climb the steps of her beautiful yellow school bus and I feel a sense of freedom. I want to do my own version of the Snoopy Happy Dance, but not only is it 7:05 in the morning, I haven’t had time to finish my first cup of coffee, and there’s a line of cars waiting behind the school bus who witness the show and probably call 911 thinking I was having some sort of seizure. So every year I walk sedately back up the slowly deteriorating concrete steps that make the steep hill from my front door to the street somewhat manageable with my coffee in hand. I step through the front door and am greeted by my very happy dog who is free to do the Snoopy Happy Dance, since, like Snoopy, she’s a dog and cares nothing about humans thinking they’re insane or epileptic. She’s just thrilled to be rid of her competition for Mom’s attention. I finish my coffee, clean up what’s left of the disaster of the kitchen, and participate in a ritual I’ve had since the first day my youngest child started first grade and all three kids were going to full-day school.

A very good friend of mine sent me a one-pound box of Sea’s Chocolate and a bottle of wine with instructions to open both, run a nice bubble bath, and indulge. After the bath, most of the chocolate (if you haven’t eaten Sea’s Chocolate you haven’t lived) and about a half-bottle of wine, we had an on-line party, which is a necessity since Kay lives in Seattle and I’m in Maryland. We Skype and celebrate our newfound freedom while ingesting a week’s worth of calories and catching a nice buzz. I’ve done this for seven years. The first day of school, I’ll fill out all those forms under-the-influence of my lovely Shiraz, which makes the writers cramp tolerable.

Next Tuesday is my first day of freedom. So think of me taking a lovely bubble bath, stuffing my face with chocolate, and washing it down with a fabulous Shiraz and then having an on-line party. Let me know if you want to join me, and tell me what you do to celebrate freedom, or what you would do, if you have a day all to yourself with out kids. Curious minds want to know.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on the freedom!

My daughter isn't even 2 yet, but she does to school year-round (preschool-based daycare). But the elementary/middle/high school kids here don't go back until Sept 6, day after Labor Day.

krisgils33 said...

school starts the day after Labor Day for us. I'm all in on the party!!!

Anonymous said...

I'd be doing the Snoopy Dance myself but a) school here doesn't start for 2 more weeks, and b) when it does, my schedule goes back to normal hell. I have to get up at 5:30, I spend 6+ hours in the office (instead of 4) being irritated by my co-workers, and I get to add Back to School Night, parent/teacher conferences, and PFC meetings to my life. We won't even talk about chasing down homework or reports, making sure assignments are handed in on time. I'm not sure who gets more school work, them or me. Can we stay in summer just one more month, please?

Not to mention, I'm not ready to send the youngest off to high school; he's not ready! In the words of Kurt's father in "Glee", "He's so little." Sniff.

Diana Quincy said...

School starts next Monday (Aug. 29) for us. On my first kidless day, I just savor the quiet stillness of the house, make a cup of coffee and head to my laptop for several uninterrupted hours of writing.

Robin Kaye said...

@ Amanda- Thanks, I'm so looking forward to it.

@Krisgils33-And that's what it is exactly, A Party! Enjoy!

@ Carla - I'm sending my baby to High School too. She said she's ready for high school, she's just not sure if high school is ready for her. LOL I doubt it will ever be.

@ Diana - I'm with you there! Uninterrupted writing time, a thing of beauty!

Carol Ericson said...

I'm right with Carla on this one! Or at least I was until I lost my day job... I HATE the first day of school and LOVE the last day of school. With school, in addition to working the day job and writing at night, I have to ride the kids to do their homework, study for tests and quizzes, start their projects, go to soccer and water polo games (the fun part), volunteer for various things at school and sports. However, now that I no longer have a day job, I may be joining the moms who relish the start of school...of course, there's still homework. (And as a Californian, I have to point out that it's See's Candy not Sea's - even though you may feel like you're floating on a sea of loveliness when you eat it - especially the peanut brittle.)

Elizabeth said...

Robin, I always love your blog. Hope your days get less stressful.

Eliza Knight said...

OMG Robin!!! Were we at Walmart the same day???? WTF?! I hate school shopping! Ugh...

Tuesday sees my oldest going back to school #2 going to kindergarten, and the toddler still home with me... but she's a good baby, do you think she'll mind if I indulge in shiraz instead of morning coffee? I like your ritual! I am definitely joining you on snoopy dancing, chocolate, and possibly the wine! I may have to wait to have the wine until my hubs comes home and can watch the kids, and I fill out the stack of forms... Do you think the school will mind if the emergency cards come back with wine stains? lol

I MISS YOU! We should get together for coffee, lunch or dinner! Or something!

Brandy said...

I'm starting to think I'm really missing out on something good with the back to school ritual's. But, I homeschool......

Robin Kaye said...

@ Carol - My dyslexia strikes again. Don't you just hate the homework thing? Two of my three are great at getting it done, the one makes up for it though!

@ Elizabeth - Thanks! We just had an earthquake, I was sitting outside the Safeway working while my son is at school doing his JROTC thing and I grabbed my computer, left my purse and ran into the parking lot. What's that say about me?

@ Eliza - the school never complained about the wine stains before, but then you probably shouldn't tell them you know me. I have quite the reputation. LOL and it's all me, not my kids that started it. Let's do coffee soon. I miss you too!

@ Brandy - I home schooled Twinkle Toes, my ballerina for two years. She's dyslexic and dysgraphic, it was so not fun. We did great though and it was so worth it. When I got her into home schooling, she was so far behind grade level it was scary, now she's back in school and is an A student.

Debra Key Newhouse said...

I'm past sending my own off to school, but my daughter sent the best video of her middle daughter, 3 yo Yasmine, heading off to Pre-K. After doing the usual "Where are you going today Yasmine?" questions, Yasmine was then asked if she would have a good time at school. Yasmine's little lips quivered and she said "No" and buried her head in her mommy's shoulders.

Sniff. Where are my tissues.

Kima said...

I have no kids, but work in a library, so I am VERY happy when the midgets go back to school. At least it's quiet during the day!

Hmmmm - chocolate, wine & bubble bath. Sounds good to me!

Janette Harjo said...

Hi Robin! Just stopping by to join your party! You sound like you've got it all under control here, but being a self-confessed chocoholic I wish you could share your chocolate and Shiraz online!!

No childen here so I don't experience the "Snoopy Happy Dance" syndrom every September. I used to work at a local grade school so the time for my Happy Dance came in June when school let out! LOL!

Keep On Keepin' On!


Robin Kaye said...

@ Debra - Oh, I remember when I put my youngest on the bus the first time. She has disabilities, and wasn't even walking yet (she'd just turned 3). I carried her onto the bus, they put her in a car seat and this man I'd never met before took my baby away. I was a wreck. Luckily, I got over it quickly.

@ Kima - Oh, I love librarians! Thanks for all you do for us writers and readers. And thanks for putting up with kids all summer long. I send mine to the library regularly . You definitely deserve to join the party on the first day of school!

@ Janet - thanks for stopping by. I'll gladly share the wine and chocolate...It just means I have to buy more!

Kathy said...

Oh wow Robin for Texas school started this past Monday. Lucky for the kids they have air conditioned schools. The wweather ahs been over 100 dgrees for around the past 40 plus days. Forecast for tomorrow is 107. I mentioned that when I accompanied two great nieces age 7 and 9 to meet the teacher night with them and their parents. I am impressed with their school and teachers. I never had children so I live it vicariously through others. My sister, daddy's mom, bought the girls school clothes, their other grandmother, mommy's mother, bought their school supplies. When we were wandering the PX buying clothes for the little one I ran across a spiral notebook like one I have that the older one had wanted. I picked it up and put it in the cart. I received a phone call informing me I was the worlds best great aunt ever. That makes it special. Forms were filled out on meet the teacher night. Not a whole bunch since the girls have been attending the same school since 2006 for the oldest who is in TAG (Talented and Gifted)Classes. She was goign to reading classes in Pre-K lol. Our younger one is struggling but she's a a social child knows everybody in the school by name and they know her.