Thursday, August 1, 2013

First Day!

Unbelievably, the first day of school in our district is August 1st, which makes us the only people in the country who don't feel like the back-to-school advertisements are obnoxiously early. This year we have new schools for the Girl and the Baby and same-old, same-old for the Boy, who is just happy to finally put first grade behind him. If you think that I took the fact that my children have to go to three different schools in stride, you'd be one of the people I've conned into thinking I'm laid back and relaxed. In fact, I have been in a dead panic for several weeks and have succeeded in alienating the K and a number of friends and acquaintances with my complaints and concerns. Basically, I have felt much like this poor bird who got trapped in our screened porch:

This happened yesterday, and if such a thing happened in a novel, I would think it was heavy-handed symbolism. The good news is that he either found his way out or died and his body is in an inconspicuous location.  
Alternatively, the children found the dead carcass and are observing it because yesterday they were all watching a BrainPOP video on death. (In case you're not familiar with BrainPOP, a guy named Tim and a robot named Moby discuss various educational topics. In the BrainPOP Jr. version Tim is a girl named Annie.) I was in the other room, but my ears perked up when I heard, "...blood starts to collect in the part of the body that is closest to the ground. This is called, 'livor mortis.'" "What are you watching??!" I asked. "Nothing!" they all sang in unison. There is nothing like conspiring against me to bring them together. 

I decided to watch the death video this morning, out of my own curiosity and so I'd be prepared to answer any questions about the mortises. Within the first five seconds I saw this:

I'm embarrassed to say that I laughed at that picture for a good
five minutes. And I love cats, really.

The dialogue between Tim and Moby (the robot) is worth sharing:

Tim: Oh man, that stray cat from the park died.
Moby: Beeep!
Tim: Well, I just, I just know it's's not moving and it's got...flies.

No worries, in the end Kitty receives a proper burial:

I know you were concerned.
The video did not show how Tim transported the cat's decaying carcass to bury it, but perhaps that is for the best. Frankly, I am happy to let them watch a video on death as I'm sure that Tim and Moby explained it with more sensitivity and accuracy than I would have. I had no idea there were so many different mortises. Clearly, I need to watch more CSI.  

But again, I digress. This year, along with the two new schools, the Baby has a new name. Since she was born, we've always called her by a nickname for her given name. Say her name is Hephzabab and we've always called her Babby. Well, now she wants to be known by her full formal name, Hephzabab. We filled out all her papers with Hephzabab, but as soon as she walked into the classroom, a little girl from her old preschool spied her and ran over, shouting, "Babby, Babby!" I give Hephzabab a week. Plus, as soon as she realizes that she has to write Haphzabab instead of Babby? Forget it. Meanwhile, her friend's name is Saoirse, and I had to consult this video to learn how to pronounce it:

I have come to believe that the biggest contribution that the Irish have made to the world is 21st century first names. You can't swing a dead cat (sorry, Kitty) in a preschool class without hitting a Liam, a Brennan, and a couple of Mackenzies. If Ireland could find some way to monetize names, it would be set.

Back to school, the real problem is that all three of the kids' schools start between 7:45 and 8:10 and they are spread out across our town. To make matters more complicated, our town is bisected by a train track and no one seems to be able to predict when a freight train will rumble through, delaying you for precious minutes. I begged the Girl to take the bus. Yes, it leaves at 6:41. Yes, none of the other 4th grade girls in the neighborhood are riding it. But it would make my life so much easier to only deal with transporting two in the morning. I've negotiated a deal with her that we will drive her or carpool for the first six weeks while she gets used to the school and then reevaluate the situation. When you're a kid, six weeks seems like a really long time, so she happily agreed. This morning we farmed her out to a friend whose daughter is a good friend of the Girl's and is also in her class. They left our house at 7:15. Blah. 

This is what 6:50 looks like. 
The Baby's school starts at 8:00, but it's the farthest from our house, or at least the most difficult to get to. When we went over yesterday to meet her teacher, I thought I might have a panic attack. Parking was a total free-for-all. People were pulling up on curbs, minivan doors were randomly flying open, and parents who looked really, really young and had lots of tattoos were milling about calling out vaguely Irish-sounding names as they looked for their children. Meanwhile, I was so freaked out by the whole scene that I was literally pulling out my eyebrow hairs. Don't worry, though. If you've seen my picture, you'll know that my eyebrows are clearly not going down without a fight. I swear, sometimes I look at my picture and wonder how people can pay attention to what I'm saying, my eyebrows are so hirsute. Perhaps they're not! This morning the K took Hephzabab to school. They left at 7:30. Apparently she arrived and promptly started playing with another friend from her old school, Grace (which was the 4th most popular girl's name in Ireland in 2012). 

Poor Hephzabab is not quite awake.

I took the easy job, which was getting the Boy to school. He has been at the same school since Kindergarten, so I wasn't expecting much of a fuss and he obliged. His school doesn't start until 8:10, but because the girls had already left, he wanted to leave, too. Also, he'd finished all of the items on his school checklist:

I don't believe for a minute that he brushed his teeth.
Why yes, I use my White House notepad for noting
important things like "anti-lice spray." 
We got to school 30 minutes early. Write down the date. This has never happened in the history of our family. He found his seat in the auditorium and pulled out a book.

Me: Bye, Buddy. I hope you have a great day at school. 
Boy: Okay.
Me: Do you want me to sit here with you? Maybe rub your back.
Boy: No! You can leave. 
Me: Are you sure, because I could just...
Boy: GO!

Well! I like that! Actually, I really do. Let's just hope they'll be as ready for day number two tomorrow!

Happy First Day of School 2013!

1 comment:

  1. The first day of school is always a good day. It's very strange having child-free house at 6:35 am.