If I were to be totally honest it’s the other two who are significantly more self motivated who would truly be top of our distance learning class but these two do an admirable job with everything that’s been thrown at them as well.
Why do I have grey hairs?
It could be my age.
It could be my genetics.
Or it could be that some certain little girl, after being dragged to school every morning for nine months, on the second day of summer break, which mind you was a Sunday so it’s basically still just like a weekend, said to me, “Some days it would be nice if it was a school day.”
Perhaps the real question is, why don’t I have more grey hairs?
It was passed the time the kids should have been off the bus and in the door.
I quick stepped out to the top of the driveway – still no sign of them.
Crouching to peer under the hanging apple tree branches I double checked- nope, no kids.
Jumping up I ran back into the house pulled out my hidden cookie and sat down.
And as I enjoyed my last five minutes of quiet I thought to myself, “Yup. This is it. I’ve pretty much hit the pinnacle of motherhood and the stereotype of a stay at home mom all in one fell swoop. Good job mama, good job.”
“Mr. Smithback is taking tardies really seriously,” Ivy tells me.
I try not to roll my eyes. Mr. Smithback should try waking up the morning Clara monster. Or finding Jane pants that are pants that she will wear, not the pants she chose the night before to wear because those ones, in the morning light, will clearly not do. And he should do this all while listening to Ivy yell at everyone that we are going to be late to school.
Instead I tell Ivy what I’ve been telling her every morning that she complains about the timeliness of her sisters. “If you want to be on time you are going to have to be helpful in the morning.”
In my mind this would constitute things like not sitting in the seat that Jane always sits in knowing that it will cause her to freak out and refuse to get in the truck. That girl should learn to be flexible but we should not have flexibility lessons before 8am. Perhaps being extra nice to Clara. Clara needs to learn that when things don’t go her way it’s not, as she says, because “Everyone is being mean to mee!!!” That girl needs to learn how to handle bumps in her road but we should not attempt to teach this lesson before 8 am either. And not demanding ridiculous things of her mother. Her mother hates the morning and always has. Talking is barely acceptable, don’t make ridiculous demands that will get you yelled at by a cranky mother and cause you to stomp, pout and sit on your sisters’ jackets that they are trying to put on. I, said cranky mother, probably need anti-morning cranky lessons but, let’s be honest here, that’s not happening at any time of day.
But, “Mr. Smithback is taking tardies really seriously.” So Ivy, bless her early morning heart, made a plan.
She and her sisters packed their bags and lunches the night before and asked me to put them in the truck. Ivy lined up shoes (with socks!) and jackets before she went to bed. She woke up earlier than the rest of us to dress herself make her mother a cup of hot tea (bless her early morning heart again), start breakfast for her sisters and wake them up.
The last two mornings I’ve woken up, sat and drank my tea in relative peace while Ivy fed her sisters and then I drove them to school.
Mr. Smithback is taking tardies really seriously and I love him, and Ivy, for that.
Can you tell?
Does Ivy look like the one who was up and dressed and ready? Excitedly talking to Jane all morning about how fabulous school is. Impatient for us to hurry up and get there already. Last week she told us, “The first day of school, to me, is like a holiday.” (I’m not actually sure she’s not some sort of alien robot because none of this behavior sounds like something a daughter of mine would do.)
Does Clara look like she spent the morning in virtual silence? She spent all evening crying at the thought of another school year and left this morning as if I was marching her off to a firing squad rather than a new school year. (This one is for sure my kid.)
Does Jane look like the bundle of nervous energy she was? Torn between her older sisters’ enthusiasm and dread, she didn’t know what to think. (I sympathize with Clara too much, I tried not to chime in.)
Can you tell that I’m holding the camera looking forward to seven hours of being able to pee without anyone asking me a question?
Can you tell?
Does it look like Ivy was just as enthusiastic about school as when she left in the morning?
Does it look like Clara is dreading tomorrow just as much as she dreaded today?
Does it look like Jane’s answer to, Did you like school? was “Not very much.”
Does it look like Jane and Clara were about to release their pent up energy, tiredness and frustration by picking on each other until they both cried, making up and then repeating until bedtime?
Can you tell that between the preparation, the drama, the fighting and the essay homework that I was assigned, that I felt like I paid for every solo bathroom trip?
Can you tell that it was still worth it?
Here they are headed to their first day of first and fourth grade.
I bet you can guess who came home bubbling with excitement who came home and pronounced the day “boring” and “horrible.”
Maybe if we could introduce bee keeping into the first grade curriculum she’d enjoy school a little more…
Our school sends home worksheets for parents to do with their children to help teach social skills. The exercises cover things like respectfulness, bullying, how to deal with high emotions as well a variety of safety concerns.
Clara, my tree climbing, bruise sporting, “Watch this mom!” yelling, master of exciting games like slingshot-ing yourself down a staircase with an old therapy band, brought me her homework.
I read aloud the first question.
“What do you need to do to stay safe?”
And Clara, in a voice that heard far too many rules at school in the first day alone, answered,
I’m not worried.
School rules or not, this girl doesn’t do boring!