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A learning experience

Here's the Thing

Posted: September 9, 2012 - 8:00am

Let me introduce to you the past couple weeks of my life. Packing lunches, getting a kid to school on time, picking up a kid from school on time, and trying to do it with a 2 1/2-year old little boy (convinced that he’s a puppy or monster most of the time) is just an every day challenge. There are experienced people with older school-aged kids to juggle that seem to move fluently in this routine, and you should know that you’re admired by us beginners.

My friend abnormally loves school supplies; secretly, I think she sticks crayons up her nose. I should have had her buy ours this year. Eesh. Is there a how-to on making your own pencils on Pinterest? Instead of buying a Kleenex box, a small part of me wanted to glue an old shoe box together, stuff toilet paper in it, and declare it hipster. Don’t judge me. This is only our second year with school so the supply list can come as a shock, especially when you have to buy a whole new wardrobe every full moon.

Making cold lunch is incredible too — sandwiches don’t exactly grow in my back yard. I make them late in the evening or early that next morning (early enough to put my glasses on upside down). I’m thinking dried out sloppy joe on a whole wheat bun is worth the school lunch fee. Just remind your kid they get chocolate milk. That only works if you don’t normally drink chocolate milk in your household, but we don’t so it works. Also, it makes me sad, because now I want chocolate milk. The world is unfair.

My daughter likes to learn in school. That right there sends red flags. I thought school was about friends, bologna sandwiches, and recess? About wearing the cool shoes? Sorry, my mom sent me to school with a fanny pack and a neon orange and blue coat, so I think wanting my kid to feel comfortable sticks out in my mind. It’s the perm I wanted and got around the fourth grade that really sticks out in my mind. I might not have been eye candy, but I was special. Which is all that matters. (Hugging myself.)

It’s great that my daughter loves to learn. Admittedly, I was a little nervous about her starting a new school this year. I tried not to get swayed into the hype of all the excited parents that already had kiddos in there, I’d like to keep an open mind and instead, let my own hype form. My husband and I like to try all options before judging, so we went ahead and checked it out. Their open house event started right before school and instantly won me over. 

My husband looks like an Alaskan man, with a little mix of struggling musician. He mildly (menacingly) asked the teacher a lot of questions, while his Bert and Ernie eyebrows danced around with each expression. The teacher was so polite, it didn’t bother her at all. Everyone seemed really sweet and happy to talk to us. The various teachers would focus on my daughter to introduce themselves, while I would take my hip to bop her to the side like, “Ignore her. Let’s talk ...” and the people would smile and answer my questions. OK, good. The faculty can handle crazy parents really well. That’s good news.

School starting is a great transition for this stay-at-home mom. I get Kindle time by the bathtub, while my son has bath time. I miss my daughter, but I get a little more breathing room to spend quality time with him. Maybe quality time means he watches some “Sesame Street” while I can play catch-up over the phone with my friends. If that sounds sad, you’re on the wrong side of this story.

Here’s the thing: When school starts, it starts for us parents just as much as the kiddos. The whole household is involved one way or another. Dads have an opportunity to be involved via homework, activities, or just asking how their kid’s day was. Moms have an opportunity to learn how to park better when picking up their kids from school (haha). You may homeschool and enjoy finding autumn treasures in the back yard or enjoy baking up a science experiment in your kitchen. Or maybe you have a kiddo that rides the bus and also has the opportunity to be kind to their classmates and teachers. You might have a brave, new kindergartener or are hugging a pillow while crying softly that your “baby” is now a senior in high school. Whether you’re a strong family of two or a crazy family of eight (my in-laws) enjoy this school year! We all have something to learn!

 

Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at columnkasi@gmail.com.

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