We have catapulted straight out of summer and headfirst into another school year. (This journey actually happened a few weeks ago, but I’m still trying to land on my feet and catch my breath!)
The transition for the kids was a simple one: same school, same friends, and even the same teachers as last year.
If the kids had their way, they would have returned in the same clothes as well. My children believe shopping for an appropriately sized wardrobe that is free of stains and holes is synonymous with torture, and will avoid it at all costs. The only clothing store they enjoy is a Build-a-Bear, and I am not even kidding.
Sam is an “I-wear-whatever-is-on-the-next-hanger” type of kid. As long as I don’t come home with sweaters or corduroy, he won’t complain. He trusts me enough (or hates shopping so intensely) that he’d prefer to skip back-to-school shopping entirely. Unfortunately for him, he’s at the age where – sorry dude – we have to try things on, and quite honestly I think he needs to be the one to make those fitting room selections. (He does make an exception for shoes. The kid loves picking out new gym shoes each year.)
Maggie, on the other hand, is a complete anomaly. She despises shopping as much as her brother, but she loves fashion. She thoroughly enjoys rocking a new outfit, but she’d rather play hide and seek in the clothing racks than enter a fitting room. She also has a knack for scrunching up her face and saying, “Uh… no Mommy!” to all of my suggestions.
I’ve learned my lesson. Next year: catalogs. I’ll pay the postage. Happily.
Thankfully, both kids love shopping for school supplies. Apparently picking out giant pink erasers and new Sharpies is more exciting than trying on jeans. Who knew?
Painful as it was, all our shopping was complete by First Day of School Eve. We dug out last year’s backpacks, and the kids stuffed them with shiny new school supplies, muddy old Xtratuf boots, and an uncontrollable dose of anticipation. The next morning Clark filled their lunchboxes and safely delivered them to school:
The kids are best little buddies right now, with fewer fights and more secrets. They used to battle for my attention on the drive home from school, scrambling to tell some amazing story about lunch or recess or book buddies before they even clicked into their seat belts. Now they slow down and share with each other, and a little piece of me smiles every time I look in my rear view mirror.
They are forever siblings, but still such individuals.
Sam is entering 4th grade. He most loves playing with our pack of neighbor kids. Their current favorite games include Capture the Flag, Kick the Can, and “Wall Ball” (don’t ask – just know it’s very bad for our garage door). When he’s indoors, he likes to design floor plans for airports, parking lots, stadiums, and mansions. If he can’t be a professional athlete, he just might be an architect. He is obsessed with playing Minecraft on his iPod, and he loves the Food Network television show Chopped. He is learning to cook and recently created his own rub recipe for ribs, which his dad was all too happy to test out one rainy afternoon. It was incredible, so maybe he will be a chef? Sam’s favorite authors are currently Tim Green and Mike Lupica (sports fiction, of course). Sam helps out around the house by washing all of our family’s bath and dish towels on a weekly basis. He’s a busy but well-rounded little dude this semester with piano lessons, flag football, gymnastics, cross-country running, and choir. But not to worry – some of those activities are held during the school day, so he has plenty of time for his beloved Husker football Saturdays!
Maggie is entering 2nd grade. She typically has the messiest room in the house, which is a bit disconcerting because the chaos always emerges when she is supposed to be sleeping. She likes to build forts with her blankets and surround herself with a menagerie of stuffed animals. (She knows all of their names, and her favorites are Seeta, Mommy Sophie, Muffin, Kihei, and Ella.) She is a social girl who loves to talk lots and play hard. She holds her own with all the neighbor boys, often refusing to play a sporty game with them because she would rather climb the alders and pretend to be a monkey. She also enjoys digging holes (a.k.a. mining for gold) in our front yard. When inside, she can be found setting up pretend restaurants, playing with Legos, or (like her brother) building elaborate structures in Minecraft. She opts to read non-fiction books about birds or dolphins, and is currently illustrating a book that she fully believes her school librarian will add to the collection. The family chore she selected for this school year is dusting, which I was more than happy to relinquish. She is also taking piano lessons, gymnastics, and choir.
So there they are, the little creatures we sent to school on Day 1.
Who knows what this year will bring? What stories will be toted home in those backpacks? What playground games will scuff those new boots? What tales will they write with their new pencils, and what adventures will the rear view mirror reveal on our daily drive home? I can hardly wait.