Back To School

Back-to-school season has arrived, which explains both my decreased posts and increased moodiness.  Target’s back-to-school ads in July make me plain irritable, but by August I am ecstatic to purchase supplies for my own children.  What gives?  The same goes for clothing:  buying new pants in a bigger size on an annual basis is exciting for the kids, but not so much for me.  And then there are lunchboxes, which are so fun to purchase but miserable to pack.  The list goes on and on.

After all these years in education, I should be used to this by now.  The end of summer is this odd tapestry of dread and anticipation, but once I’m two feet back into school the pendulum always shifts and the excitement outweighs everything else.  August brings about a bonus round of New Year’s resolutions for educators, when we can reflect on our ideals and renew our commitment to children.  It’s amazing how much positive energy comes with a charged battery.

For the kids, it’s much more straightforward.  There is none of the dread.  Their batteries are always charged.  And the first day of school is a big deal.

Take Maggie, for example.  First Grade Eve was clearly one of the most important days of her life, if judged by the planning she put into her wardrobe.  Imagine my surprise when I checked on her at bedtime, only to find she had laid out every item from socks to a headband!  She said it “matched” because zebras and cheetahs are both animals.  Who was I to argue?

I guess this is how a 6 year old show excitement?

First outfit of first grade.

After a good night’s sleep, the kids were both very anxious to start the new year.

On the deck, ready to go!
Surprise! Dad decides to take them in the Camaro for the first day!
I doubt the high school version of my husband ever envisioned booster seats in the back seat of his Camaro!

I admit these pictures are pretty cool… since you can’t smell them.  I was worried the kids would waltz into their classes and immediately be branded as the “stinky kids” who smell like a gas station.  Clark felt the coolness factor of being dropped off in a Camaro outweighed any such concern.  Time will tell.

For the first time, they are in the same school.  What a blessing and relief!

Made it to school well before the NINE o’clock bell!
Sam – Grade 3
Maggie – Grade 1

What a difference a year makes.  Last year was often rush and fuss, strategically timing Maggie’s pick up with Sam’s bus stop.  Not any more.  They are in one spot, so we are free to hit the playground after school with other classroom families, volunteer to help teachers after school, or head back to our hill for bus stop play dates with old friends.  For once, we have options!

As we drove home, I didn’t have to ask many questions about their day.  I quickly realized that I could learn more by silently listening to Sam and Maggie in the back seat.

“Did the principal come to your room?” Maggie asked.
“Yes,” Sam responded.  “What did he say to your class?”

And they were off.  Comparing notes.  Sharing a playground.  Eating in the same cafeteria, giggling about their electives, and meeting a common peer group.

They must be worn out.  Not even Greg Heffley could keep Sam awake tonight:

As far as I could tell, he has no wardrobe plan for tomorrow.  (There were clothes scattered on his floor, but upon a quick inspection they all appear to be dirty.)

Maggie fell asleep immediately as well, precariously dangling from her top bunk:

Once again, she had a rockin’ outfit laid out on the floor.  Apparently a headband is once again part of the ensemble.

I wish we could harness some of this first-day excitement, and store it for the days down the road when we need a little motivation!

Cheers to a great 2012-2013!

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