It’s that time of year. School is back on. Here are 5 ways you know the new term is about to start.
There is a heap of uniform stuffed at the bottom of the wardrobe from the end of last term. Did you actually even wash it? Each top is inspected for pen marks and suspicious stains. At least 4 of the 5 shirts have faded to grey. After a dash to the uniform shop, the limited stock means you end up with shirts that are 3 times too big. You tell yourself that they will grow into them. Do you need to iron them? I mean, they’ll be creased within two minutes of getting to school… Maybe for the first week. Show willing.
Bloody feet. They have a habit of growing at this age. We are greeted with a sea of bored, sweaty children and a stale smell of foot odour and sweets. After waiting 40 minutes, a frazzled teenager, barely out of school himself, squeezes my kids plump, summer feet into tight leather lace ups. Boy 1 is reminded again that he has exceptionally small feet and Boy 2 gloats that he has almost the same size as him now. The subsequent fight nearly topples over the welly stand. Time to leave.
Was there some? Can they actually still read? Shall we attempt a quick count to 20? In the last week, I crammed in 6 reading books each. Boy 1 has the attention span of a gnat and Boy 2 couldn’t even remember his letters, let alone any words. Yikes. They’ll soon pick it up again… I hope.
You try to get organised. You will be better this year. You will not forget things. You will not be late. You pull out the screwed up school letters at the bottom of their school bags and actually read them. Most are 4 months out of date but you’re trying. A list is created: pencil case – not tin (shame, I used to love poking holes in it with my protractor), a ruler – not bendy (no flicking your mates then), pencils – not scented (who knew there was such a thing – cool!)… Lord, kids don’t get to have any fun these days.
Time to reconnect. Between the holiday, camping trip and days out, school friends have taken a back seat. Not one for playdates (see earlier blog), the occasional park trips with friends has been about it.
I have not been a stranger to Facebook over the summer (needs must) and everyone seems to be having a much better time than us. Expensive holidays, nature trails, trips into the city for brilliant festivals, museums, splash parks… Where do people find the time, inclination and energy for such pursuits?! I feel like a failure. Some days we barely made it out the house!
I make a special effort to see some friends who I know will have been as lazy as I was over the holidays. We moan about the earth mothers and congratulate ourselves at merely surviving the holidays, over a glass of wine, as the kids kick each other in the garden.
It’s been a long summer. I’m not going to lie, there have been some amazing highs and some darker lows but, we all survived. No one got hurt, I didn’t lose them or break them and, this morning, both boys went back to school looking healthy and happy. Despite counting down the days, I actually shed a bona-fide tear as I saw them through the gates. I surprised even myself! Maybe it was relief… or maybe I was going to miss our lazy mornings and days out…? As soon as I got back home, my nostalgia had past and I fist punched the air with joy. Life is back on.