Yes, officially it may be Labor Day. A day intended to celebrate work and also the symbolic end of summer. However, for me today is a day to recover from the first week of school, and to mourn the end of summer.
The first week of school is really tough. Adjusting to rising early, making a good impression on the new teachers, getting all the homework done. No, not the kids. ME!
The horrid beeping of the dreaded alarm aside, the first week is full of assignments for the parents. This early in the year, I’m still trying to give the illusion that I have it all together. By the end of the year, it is unquestionably apparent that I do not, but I start out each year using slight of hand tricks to cover the truth.
Monday started out well. I got all 4 of the dreaded “first day packets” filled out. It even seemed less time consuming this year. Maybe after 12 years, I’m finally getting it. I even filled out the “describe your child” sheet for Eric, which I find extremely difficult. “Five adjectives that best describe your child.” OK Miss Teacher, do you want me to describe my child or really describe my child?
Abrasive, Combative, Volatile, Obnoxious and Selfish. No, that’s is how his brothers would describe him.
Argumentative, Whiny, Defiant, Forgetful, Lazy. No, that’s only when asked to do chores.
Brilliant, Enchanting, Enthusiastic, Responsible, Dazzling. No, too kiss up.
Kind, Bright, Funny, Happy, Stubborn. Simple, with a negative thrown in for a reality check. Bingo.
Truthfully, I don’t remember which adjectives I ended up using. I know stubborn stayed. The rest were probably barely legible because I changed my mind so much I almost erased right through the paper. Immediately I put the paperwork in the kids’ backpacks to be returned the next day. Put one in the win column.
Eric came home Tuesday with all the papers still in his folder, exactly where I had proudly placed them. Are you kidding me?? “Teacher, teacher, I did my homework. I did it all. I did my best. But…my dog ate it? Well, my kid ate it. Or forgot to turn it in. Something like that.” Come on Eric. Let me look good past the SECOND day of school!
One of my other homework tasks for Eric’s class is to sign his agenda every day. Simple enough. Illegible initials in the signature box. Check. On Thursday I notice – in bid red letters – a note from the teacher. A note that was written on TUESDAY. In addition to not turning in my homework, he didn’t turn in his time capsule. Apparently I’m not JUST supposed to sign the agenda. I’m supposed to actually READ it first. Maybe the teacher needs to add flashing lights and sirens next time.
In the backpack the time capsule went, to be turned in first thing Friday.
Sigh. First homework assignment 3 days late.
Friday afternoon I notice an envelope on the couch. That looks similar to that troublesome time capsule envelope. No way. Are you kidding me?? No, really. Someone must be messing with me.
Sigh. First homework assignment 4 days late.
If it actually gets there tomorrow.
Trying to keep the illusion going this year is going to require some smoke and mirrors. And maybe a rabbit.