Posted on | August 19, 2011 | No Comments
The schools are back. Can you hear the cheering of parents relieved of that 10-week-long slog that is summer in Tucson? Honestly, it amounts to purgatory, putting kids out to pasture like that when the mercury’s hitting triple digits. Yeh, purgatory for the kids too. I used to think keeping yourself entertained during rainy or snowy days in my native Scotland was a drag. Try explaining to my four-year-old Munchkin that although the sun is brightly shining and the sky is blue, no, we cannot go to the park because if we did we would surely melt into the pavement as fast as an ice cream.
Stressful, though, this back-to-school thing. You know you’re not cut out for parenting when you feel like you’re starting school with them. Sweetpea is now at middle school, and keeping up with her necessary school supplies, nightly homework, school meetings, after-school fencing (yes, really – I wondered why until I saw the episode of iCarly dedicated to fencing) is like a second job.
And so many forms to fill in: friends to contact in case of emergency; preferred hospital your child should go to in case of horrible accident; a sheet saying “Yes, a doctor said my child is fit and able to simply run around a playground and have fun”. I mean, good grief. Talk about making a parent paranoid before they’ve even begun.
And of course the million and one rules:
1. Do not enter this gate unless you are in Grade 5 and above.
2. Do not enter this gate until after 3pm.
3. Please have your child carry their backpack on their knees and do NOT put it in the boot of the car, so as to enable a swift exit from the car during the morning rush when a zillion other cars are stopping by as well.
4. Sign in here. Get your kid to sign in there. Deposit love letters over there.
Yeh, that’s the latest at Munchkin’s preschool. They encourage parents to mail kids letters. Fair enough, I thought at the orientation meeting. Even I can manage to remember that a few times a year. But the teacher seems to think a note every day is a good idea. Which just adds to my long to-do list each evening and morning and therefore kind of negates the object if I’m hastily, moodily penning “Have a cool game of light sabers today in the playground. Mummy loves you!”
I have already been sneakily writing a note behind his back as we drop off in the morning, or ripping off a piece of an old envelope in the car. And you can be assured I will be the first one to forget one day to write one. Because I am the one who turns up without the vital nap blanket on Day One of school, and without the asked-for change of clothing in case Munchkin wees himself (God forbid, because at four and a half that would be kind of embarrassing for him) or in case one of his friends decides to throw paint on him or puke over him.
His new teacher sent him a little welcome note last week by snail mail, with a blank piece of jigsaw puzzle inside the envelope with instructions to draw something on it. The idea was that the class would put them all together on Day One. We managed to keep the puzzle piece in our sight for a whole, ooh, 24 hours. And then it got lost. Not before he’d drawn on it, but still, it wasn’t much use if we couldn’t find it. I apologised at the parent orientation and was assured I could bring it in late. By the next day I still couldn’t find it. I even rifled through our big recycling bin looking for it. Poor Munchkin.
And then new teacher found it on Day One - in his backpack. I had been so organized I’d put it there and totally forgotten. I need to give myself a little more credit as a parent, I really do. That and write large sticky notes reminding me of where I have put things.