TOP 5 Questions at Back to School Time

I think it happened around the fourth grade for each of our children. When they lost that sweet voice that called out in a sing-song “I can’t wait to go back to school to see all my friends and meet my new teacher and learn how to write in cursive – yippie”. Now all I hear from behind their closed bedroom door is “huh – summer is over?”

And every year since, the indignation escalates…

5.) “Why is summer so short?”

Well, let’s see. You just had an 11 week break from homework, hot then cold then hot again bus rides, stinking PE clothes that you forget to bring home after weeks of continued use, and food that you claim is only fit to give the worst criminals kept at Guantanamo…

Your definition of short will change when you hit the job market. 11 weeks of vacation too short for you? You better start working on that British accent so you can get a job in the U.K. if you desire more time off.

4.) “Why do Elementary kids get a later start than us? We need more sleep… it’s a fact.”

This has the potential to be a very valid argument. I have never researched how the school board determines start times or if the logic that guides their final time stamps is based on solid information supplied from the most credible sources. As a naturally trusting person, I suspect it is but if for some reason the entire board has been snowed over by a radical band of Elementary school kid parents that just selfishly want a few extra minutes of shuteye, I doubt I will stage a protest march or a public sit-in or even send a stern email. Why? “Because school starts at 7:40am – now get out of bed!”

3.) “Will you wake me up in case my alarm fails?”

For decades I imagine parents have spent the first month of school poking and prodding kids out of bed. Sleepy, groggy voices that beg ‘for more time, turn the clock back, why is it so early, why is summer so short?’…

Of course, I will wake you up – over and over and over again because you are like a stubborn bear that refuses to recognize hibernation is over. You must be lured from the den with whiffs of bacon and waffles.

2.) “Can I have $ for XYZ?”

I don’t recall asking my parents for their life savings every August but I guess times have changed. And like that selective memory thing that happens after giving birth, each year I am amazed as the forms roll in with the duplication of questions that I have answered on the other 14 forms – oh and the section at the bottom that requests a check for ‘just a small activity fee’. All those activities fees appear to add up to a 7-day cruise to the islands – drinks included.

1.) “Where did you put my backpack?”

Ahh, my personal favorite – the accusation. Of course at night while you are sleeping, I move through the house hiding things from you so during our peaceful, plenty-of-time-to-spare mornings you will ask me where your shoes went, do I have any idea if your favorite shorts are still in the dryer, and did I buy you the binder you need for science (hint: it’s in your backpack). Yep, I hide your things just for my own sick kicks – you caught me.

The backpacks are on the hooks by the garage door just like last year.

Getting back into a routine is tough. It’s like recommitting to that exercise class after a break – so easy to abandon in the pursuit of lazing by the pool snacking on potato chips but painful (for the abs and the alarm clock) the first few times back. Your brain says it is good for you but you longingly look over your shoulder missing your pool days and those delicious, salty crumbs that decorated your towel as you head out the door for the 7am Sweating to the Oldies class at the Y.

Maybe tonight after I have filled out the newest pile of forms, I will throw a stack of Pringles into three baggies and stash them in the kids backpacks to ease the transition because I get it. It’s hard for me too.  Summer does feel too short and I wish the mornings started later.  I wish their grade number was ticking backward or at least moving slower but time marches on and the routine will not delayed. It’s school days not pool days these days.

Now off to hide everything all over again for tomorrow morning’s routine…

  • Doug MacCallum
    Posted at 20:16h, 10 August Reply

    Best blog on FB, and my favorite too!

  • Heather Kilpatrick
    Posted at 04:01h, 11 August Reply

    In Summerville, SC, elementary school starts at 7:15, middle school at 8:10 and high school at 8:55.. I was surprised when I walked early in the morning that the buses pick up the elementary kid at 6:30.
    p’s. Love your blog.

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