School starts tomorrow. So, this about sums it up…
Today, my boys — and countless other kids — headed back to school. While I’m sure the Xbox will miss them terribly, it’s definitely time for them to re-engage their brains with something more taxing than figuring out whose turn it is to “kick some butt” at Madden15.
Yep, definitely time to get back to language arts and improving vocabulary.
But if the photo of them I took getting ready to head to the school bus is any indication, vocabulary is the least of our worries:
Our real worry might be that we need to reinforce what it means to behave in such a way that they come home safely each day. And by safely, I mean 1) in one piece, 2) with no notices from teachers of inappropriate behavior, 3) with no “where is your child’s homework?” messages, 3) as germ-free as possible, and 4) having not generated a call to me or their dad from anyone with the word ‘principal’, ‘counselor’, ‘police’, or ‘officer’ as part of a job title.
My young teenage boys tend to block out my voice — especially when the words “clean up”, “pick up”, “stop that”, “knock it off”, and “I better not have to tell you again” are used. But, I decided to review some important safety messages with them for the start of the school year anyway.
When it comes to…
- Cell phone safety: You do not need your cell phone with you to function effectively as a 7th or 8th grader in middle school.
- Yes, I know that your friends Jacob, Owen, Jake, Brett A, Brett B, Ben, Nick, Ty, and every other kid in your class gets to bring their cell phone to school because their parents are cool and I suck. But I need you to focus on school work when you are at school — not Snapchatting, Instagramming, Facebooking, and/or Tweeting.
- Nice try, but you won’t need the calculator on your cell phone, because I forked out $25 for a scientific calculator for you to use in Algebra.
- And you won’t need your cell phone to reach me in case of emergency. There is a phone in the principal’s office and the school bus drivers all have a cell phone. Besides, if I get a call from the principal’s office, it better be because you’re sick, or you’ve broken your leg, or you’ve just won the Nobel prize. You feelin’ me?
- Food safety: You need energy, and food is your fuel. At lunch, food is for eating and will provide the fuel you need to be alert and stay focused in the afternoon. And just to be clear, food is not for:
- throwing: the last thing I need is for you to use your PB&J sandwich as a projectile that accidentally lands on the nut-free table, jeopardizing any classmate with an allergy.
- smashing: if you make a mess, you will be cleaning it, not the janitor. Same rules apply at home: substitute ‘your mom’ for ‘the janitor’.
- trading: eat what ya brung (or in my kids’ cases – what ya bought).
- taking pictures of and posting to social media: see cell phone safety above.
- experimenting with: gross. Just gross.
- teasing people with: see cell phone safety above with regard to phone calls from principals and/or counselors.
- Germ safety: You are no longer a toddler shoving everything not nailed down into your mouth (with the exception of cheeseburgers and fries). This means your (most likely dirty) hands should be not touching everything within your ever-widening wing span. Here are some good rules for keeping germs where they belong, which — to be clear — is Not. On/In. You.
- Those dispensers of soap in the bathroom: USE THEM.
- Those dispensers of hand sanitizer located throughout the school: USE THEM.
- Those boxes of tissues we send in at the request of your teachers: USE THEM.
- Wet willies and spit balls: No. JUST NO.
- Crayons, markers, and other writing instruments: OUT OF YOUR MOUTH. You never know who else has been gnawing on them, what’s at the bottom of the bookbag where they have been residing, or — heaven help us! — what they are made of.
- Handling someone else’s cell phone: No. JUST NO.
- Sharing drinks at lunch: No. JUST NO.
- Coughing into the sleeve of your shirt and not into the face of your friend(s): YES! ALWAYS YES!
Have a safe school year boys. This will be great practice, because wait until you see the safety rules I’m working on for your next Summer vacation.
This year, my oldest son began Middle School.
We already know the first day of school photo was an epic fail on my husband’s part. But it seems that Alex is adjusting well to Middle School in spite of such a traumatic start to his tween educational experience. In his assessment, “I really like Middle School. Classes are shorter so the day goes by faster. It’s like we aren’t in school as long as last year. That’s good because Mrs. Witt’s science classroom is hot as crap.” Then my youngest son Nick chimed in with “Don’t you mean ‘hot as balls’?”.
It’s obvious that the public education system has really honed my boys’ skills on the use of similes. Proudest. Parent. Ever.
Back-to-School night was last night. Because my husband, Alex, and Nick had football practice, I was flying solo for the Middle School orientation. I’m pretty sure we missed the Elementary School Back-to-School night,
so Nick is shit out of luck but Nick is going to have a great year in spite of that!
Back-to-School night taught me you’re never to old to learn. And here is some knowledge I gained:
- If I decide to wear shoes like this to work, I should definitely change into flip flops or flats before evening activities. My feet have about a 12 hour limit on the amount of torture they can suffer on a given day.
- Showing up 10 minutes early is still 20 minutes too late to get a decent parking spot.
- For the orientation presentation, getting there 20 minutes early secures a bunch of lucky
bastardsparents a seat in the uncomfortable folding chairs set out on the gymnasium floor.
- Getting there 10 minutes early secures me a seat on the splinter-prone and more uncomfortable (by infinity-to-the-10th-power) bleachers in the gymnasium.
- A gymnasium full of parents on a late August evening is hot.
- And not the “Channing Tatum” kind of hot.
- More like the “a few people in here could use another swipe of Right Guard” kind of hot.
- I need to update my things-to-buy-when-I-hit-PowerBall list to include air conditioning for the Middle School gym. And a big supply of Right Guard.
- People who bring their kids to Back-to-School night really should keep their kids with them. Especially the parents of the gaggle of middle school girls sitting behind me, who talked through the entire presentation the Principal gave.
- I am able to incite a humongous number of eyerolls when I turn to a gaggle of middle school girls and say: “Could you guys please stop talking? I would like to hear what the Principal is saying.”
- I feel completely old, entirely uncool and particularly grumpy when I am the recipient of tween eyerolls.
- I liked it better when my son had one teacher in elementary school. Visiting 7 classrooms and meeting 7 different teachers just makes my feet hurt even more.
- About mid-way through Back-to-School night, it dawned on me that my husband’s decision to coach youth football was just an elaborate ploy to avoid Back-to-School night.
- The parents who were in shorts and t-shirts seemed much more happy to be part of Back-to-School night than parents who were still in their work clothes and heels.
- I am never wearing heels again.
- Next year, I’m going to coach a football team and my husband can attend Back-to-School night. In heels.
This past Monday, there were tons of lovely photos of my local Facebook friends’ kids. It was the first day of school, and there were big smiles (the kids, not just the parents), a bunch of new outfits to pose in, fresh supplies in new backpacks, and plenty of waves as eager youngsters stepped up onto the bus.
I had asked my husband to be sure and get a photo of the boys – it was Alex’s first day in middle school and Nick’s first day of his last year in elementary school. Mini-milestone day, right?
And anything had to be better than the joy-fest I captured last year on the first day of school:
I had reminded my husband Sunday night about the picture, before I went to bed. I texted him again on my way to work the next morning. He didn’t respond.
Not a good sign…unless the sign I was looking for was “Oh shit! I forgot she asked me to do that.”
I didn’t hear from him all morning, so I took to social media to
shame him make light of the fact that I was the only parent on the planet who didn’t get a first day of school picture. So I posted this on Facebook:
My post received 29 likes, only 5 of which were from male friends. Dads. Dads who I am sure posted pictures of their own little cherubs on the first day of school. The other 24 likes from my female friends were truly a sign of solidarity. It’s as if they were clicking the like button, but knew that instead of “like”, it really meant “yes, your husband is a numbskull for not getting that picture.”
There were also 3 comments, with suggestions like writing it on his hand, or placing a post-it on his hand. Perhaps if I stapled it to his hand, he’d have a harder time forgetting.
And then, at 4:34pm, this comment popped up under the picture:
Here’s a close up of the picture:
So, I guess I can give my husband a thumbs up for sort of getting the photo.
The first week of school is such an exciting time for everyone. Children head back to the classroom to meet with friends, share stories of their Summer adventures and begin an exciting new year of learning. Parents marvel at the amount of homework that needs to be checked and the price of Lunchables. Teachers begin the countdown to Summer vacation for the school year that just started.
And I’m pretty sure the conversations I have with my boys are similar to what celebrities discuss with their kids. Right?
Overheard at the Rice House: “For the love of all that is holy, put the @#$%ing Xbox controller down, grab a donut from the box and just eat your damn breakfast already.”
Overheard at Beckham House: “Who ate mommy’s last 1/2 of a rice cake? It’s my BIG breakfast morning, damn it.”
Overheard at the Rice House: “What the hell made you think drawing skulls on your arm with a Sharpie was a good idea?”
Overheard at the Pitt-Jolie House: “If we get a good report from all your teachers this first week, we’re all getting ‘Team Pitt-Jolie’ tattoos!”
Overheard at the Rice House: “Mrs. X (last name changed to protect teacher’s identity) said she wishes she had me in her class again this year, instead of my brother Nick.”
Overheard at the Kardashian House: “My teacher (sob) keeps kalling me (sob) Kim and asking if Kayne is just a rebound booty kall.”
Overheard at the Rice House: “Mom, here’s your “Fifty Shades of Grey” book back. I took it to school today for show and tell. I think my teacher was really impressed. She wants you to come in for a meeting.”
Overheard at the
Cruise Holmes House: “Suri, give me that Dianetics book. You can not take it in for show and tell!”
Overheard at the Rice House: “Perhaps we should adopt a different tone when asking mom for an after school snack.”
Overheard at the Madonna House: “Perhaps we should adopt another child.”
Overheard at the Rice House: “Get your cup and jock strap off the kitchen table!”
Overheard at the Brady/Bundchen House: “Get daddy’s 3 Super Bowl rings off the kitchen table!”
Overheard at the Rice House: “Why can’t we just sleep later and then you drive us to school?”
Overheard at the (Michael) Jackson House: “Aunt Janet says we have to start our own carpool because Uncle Jermaine’s kids take up the entire limo.”
Overheard at the Rice House: “Why did you tell your teacher your favorite band was ‘Laugh My Fucking Ass Off’. You know they go by just the initials, right?”
Overheard at the Hudson House: “No, I do not want to hear Hard to Handle. Just play something from Muse.”
Overheard at the Rice House: “When is mom going to get a job again so we can buy lunch at school?”
Overheard at the Affleck/Gardner House: “When is mom going to get a job again so we can eat at Spago all the time?”
Overheard at the Rice House: “Pick up your @#$%-ing bookbag so I don’t trip over it again.”
Overheard at the Guidice House: “@#$%-ing pick up your @#$%-ing bookbag so I don’t @#$%-ing trip over it again.
Overheard at the Rice House: “There are three Alex’s in my class this year. How cool is that?”
Overheard at the Beyonce/Jay Z House: “I’m the only ®-kid, mom. How cool is that?”
Overheard at the Rice House: “Just smell the shirt and see if it’s clean or not.”
Overheard at the Stefani/Rossdale House: “How are you going to look like mommy’s little L.A.M.B. when you are wearing that crap from Old Navy?”
Overheard at the Rice House: “It’s not like the paparazzi are always chasing us, so would it @#$%-ing kill ya to smile just this once?”
Yesterday, I was panicking in Walmart. No, I hadn’t had my photo snapped by some freak-ass voyeur, who spotted me in my wrinkled tee shirt (plucked right from the clean [?] laundry basket), shorts with the hem coming undone and shower shoes.
Look, it was 8am and that was my Sunday best. Even if it did qualify me for the People of Walmart photo gallery.
The real reason I was in a stupor was because after careful forgetting and deliberate procrastination, I was faced with purchasing my boys’ school supplies with less than 24 hours until they had to report to
juvie Walkersville Elementary. And you know what that means.
- the only pencil cases left are glitter/pink/Hello Kitty
- there’s an entire palette of purple pocket folders left, since the teacher specifically noted pocket folders must be blue and green
- blue and green sold out weeks ago, when all the well-organized and hyper-prepared moms stocked up on this shit
- the erasable black pens are in a mislabeled box on the back of the shelf that you have to get down on your hands and knees to drag out over a spilled blue slushie
I’m sure the video of me on all fours with my ass in the air, cussing myself out and clawing for the box that was almost out of reach will be on YouTube in no time. Or it will be the feature presentation during the Funniest Security Camera Footage portion of the next Walmart shareholders meeting.
After I had gotten almost everything (I made a trip to Target and Office Max to get what Walmart had sold out of), I pushed my cart of supplies to the check out and eyeballed an item that wasn’t on the school’s list.
For the record, the liquor store had everything on my list.