School Daze

August 17, 2013

IMG_5654School started this week and we are slowly adapting back into the routine of going to bed earlier, getting up earlier and having to do things like check homework and pack lunches. Wednesday night we ran out of lunchmeat and bread and so I decided I’d just run to the Dollar Store since we live in a remote location and the nearest grocery store is 20 minutes away.

Ethan joined me on my shopping trip with the secret hopes of getting a toy. I am a softy and so I conceded and let him have one dollar to spend. He ended up buying fake lottery tickets and playing a joke on Emma making her believe that she had won $5,000 – she was not amused when she found out it wasn’t a real lottery ticket.

When we got back from the store I was putting things away and found that the lunchmeat I had bought was “bacon lovers” honey ham. I had never heard of such of thing.

“Hey Emma” I called (since Emma is a big fan of bacon), “Look at this. I accidentally bought bacon lovers honey ham – it’s ham with bacon in it. What do you think of that?”

“Well, I love bacon, but I am not sure I would like it in my ham. Besides, I don’t even like ham.” she informed me.

“Wait a minute. What do you mean you don’t like ham? Last night you and Ethan made ham sandwiches to pack in your lunch and you even ate some of the ham as you were making them. And then tonight you had a ham sandwich for dinner.”

“No, I didn’t.” she objected. “That was turkey.”

“No, sweetie – that was ham. We just finished off a package of ham.”

“Really? It was ham? Huh, I guess I do like ham then. But I still don’t think I want to chance mixing ham and bacon.”

“Well, OK. Then you guys can just have peanut butter sandwiches in your lunch.”
They packed their lunches and got their backpacks and shoes and socks laid out and then started getting ready for bed.

Two hours and several requests for drinks of waters and hugs & kisses later, all was quiet in the house as the kids finally drifted off to sleep.

For those who are not aware I am currently taking classes and working on getting my MBA so after the kids are in bed it’s my time to study, do homework and write papers. I finished up my schoolwork, threw a load of towels in the washer, brushed my teeth and my weary body fell into bed around 1:30 am.

At 3:30 am I woke up briefly when I heard Caleb get up and go to the bathroom. I assumed he would go right back to bed so I didn’t get up. I fell back to sleep and was awoken again by Caleb standing over me and watching me sleep. I glanced at Caleb who was fully dressed for school with clothes, shoes and backpack on. I then looked over at the clock, blinked several times as I realized that it was 4:30 am. “Caleb, its way too early for school! Please go back to bed!” He took off his backpack and shoes and got back into bed. I went back to bed to try and get another hour or two of sleep.

“Mom, mom, mom!” I hear a little voice say in a whisper. I look up and see Emma standing at my bedside. It was 5:55 am.

“What are you doing up?” I asked her.

“Caleb woke me up at 4:00 and I have just been watching TV in my bedroom with the volume down really low.” Well, at least someone is trying to be quiet.

In the other room I could hear Caleb’s bouncing on his bed and laughing. Where does he get all that energy? I closed my eyes thinking I just needed five more minutes of sleep.

Emma came back in at 6:10 and said, “I’m hungry mom. Can you fix me some breakfast?”

I decided that sleep was not an option at this point so I might as well just get up and join the party. “OK Emma. What would you like for breakfast? Maybe an Eggo waffle?”

“Umm… I think I’d like bacon.” She said with a smile.

“Honey, I don’t have bacon. Unless you count that ham with bacon I bought by mistake. We have waffles, fruit loops, poptarts or fish crackers.” I replied.

“Oh, OK … I guess I’ll have waffles. I’m gonna go see what Ethan wants.”

“Wait, is Ethan up too?” I said as I followed her into Ethan and Caleb’s room. Ethan was stirring a bit since Emma was talking him, but he was still half asleep.

“I asked him what he wanted for breakfast and he said cinnamon rolls.” Emma reported.

“Cinnamon rolls? I don’t have cinnamon rolls. Remember, we only have waffles, fruit loops, poptarts or goldfish crackers.”

“Oh, that’s right. Sorry Ethan – you’re out of luck. Mom said we don’t have cinnamon rolls. Don’t feel bad though, I’m not getting the bacon I asked for either.”

Ethan just rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. I walked over and sat down on his bed and started rubbing his back. “Did Caleb wake you up too? He’s been up for hours and he woke Emma up at 4:00.”

Ethan yawned and said, “Well, Caleb woke me up but I just went back to sleep. But now that you and Emma are in here too and so I guess I’m not going to have any chance for sleep now.” Ethan, like me, had decided he might as well get up.

By this time it was 6:45 and probably time for everyone to start getting ready for school anyways. Ethan and Emma got dressed and Caleb started getting excited that everyone else was up and that it was getting closer to time for the bus to arrive.

We all ventured downstairs to Drew’s room and woke him up. Beware the sleeping teenager…..he was not happy to be awakened by his cheery siblings. He pulled the covers back over his head and mumbled, “Just five more minutes….” I know how you feel Drew!

By 7:15 the kids were dressed and happily eating their breakfast of waffles and poptarts. The bus came right on time at 7:25. I waved goodbye as they took off on their adventure for another day of school.

I would loved to have crawled back into bed since I didn’t have to be to work until 11:00, but I was scheduled to speak to Caleb’s class at 8:45. Caleb has autism and is mainstreamed into a general ed classroom. Every year my husband, Dwight, and I go and talk to Caleb’s classroom in the first week of school. We talk to them about autism and about ways they can interact, communicate and include Caleb. Since I needed to hop in the shower, get dressed and make my way over to the school sleep would just have to wait.

ImageAs I got ready for the day I thought about when the kids were infants and how every night was a series of feedings, diaper changes, etc. Especially that first six months of the twins lives. I don’t remember much from that period of my life and I blame that on the sleep deprivation.

I guess I should just be thankful that these short nights are much less frequent now and that, for the most part, the kids sleep all night. I am also thankful that on Saturdays I can sleep in since the kids are old enough to entertain themselves for a few hours.

This morning Caleb crawled in bed with me around 8:00 am but then after a few minutes of cuddling he went back to his room to play and I had the luxury of sleeping for another hour or so. I finally got up when I heard the kids talking about what they wanted for breakfast. Guess it would have been a good morning for cinnamon rolls and bacon… If only I had remembered to go to the store and buy some. Oh well, maybe next Saturday!

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I rolled over, opened my eyes and looked at the clock.   I blinked several times and bolted upright.  Can that time be right? Is it really 7:20? This is not the way to start the school year off.

“Wake up! Wake up!  We have 5 minutes until the bus is here!” I shout as I run into the kids’ room turning on lights and throwing clothes at them.  “Get up! Put your clothes on!  We don’t want to miss the bus on the first day of school!”

Emma was first up, dressed and downstairs. She had her socks, shoes and backpack on and was waiting on her brothers in under two minutes.  Caleb and Ethan both came barreling down the stairs together, racing to see who would be first. 

We had one minute left and I was getting worried, “Drew! Are you coming? The bus will be here any minute!”

“I’m coming, I’m coming!” he said with that wonderful teenage attitude.  “Man, this is too early to be up.” He complained as he started getting on his shoes and socks.  Yes, this was a stark contrast to his sleeping-in-until-noon days of summer and he was not adjusting well.

I glanced out the window and saw the school bus at the neighbor’s house. “OK – it’s go time! The bus is here!” I announce as I try to brush each child’s hair a couple more times on their way out the door.

Caleb, Ethan and Emma marched out of the house and onto the bus but not before I snapped this quick picture of Emma and Ethan.  We usually take first day of school pictures of all four kids but this year I accepted the fact that I would have to settle for second-day-of-school pictures.

Drew was still getting his shoes on so I held up one finger to the bus driver signaling her to wait just a minute.  “Drew, she’s waiting on you!  Hurry up!!”  It’s a good thing we have a patient bus driver!

He grabbed his book bag and iPod and put his head phones in. “See ya mom!” he called as he walked out the door.  A couple strides with his long legs and he was on the bus.

As the bus drove away I sighed with relief amazed that they all actually made it. I looked around the living room to make sure there weren’t any missing items (or kids) left behind but luckily it was just the normal clutter and mess.

My husband and I were talking the morning’s excitement when he noticed I looked a little worried. “What’s wrong?” He asked.

“I feel bad that the kids didn’t get any breakfast.”  I confessed.

“Do you normally feed them breakfast?” he teased with a grin.

I laughed and replied, “Well, I at least try to give them an Oreo or a couple fish crackers on their way out the door!”

“They’ll be fine!” He assured me.  “Maybe we should eat some Oreos in their honor. Would that help?”

“Well, maybe. Chocolate does always make me feel better.” I admitted. “But tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow we are not going to oversleep and I will be a better mother and make sure the kids get something to eat.”

A new school year always brings challenges for kids, but the parents often have an even harder time adjusting. Of course, it’s great to have the kids back in school and not complaining “I’m bored” five hundred times a day but it can be stressful.

So, if you’re stressed out with the kids going back to school … have an Oreo or two. Or maybe you are celebrating the kids being back in school … have an Oreo or two.  Or maybe you are congratulating yourself for getting up, fixing a homemade breakfast and giving your kids the proper send off … have an Oreo or two (but don’t tell me about how perfect your morning went because that’s just mean).  Or maybe you are exhausted like my friend, Tiffany, who was woken up by her kids standing by her bedside at 4:45am : They were dressed, had fixed themselves breakfast, and had their shoes, socks and backpacks on all ready for school over 2 ½ hours before the bus was to arrive … if so, have an Oreo or two.  See the common theme here?

Here is my favorite first-day-of-school picture.  This was from 2009 and I love the look of mischief on Ethan’s face! I originally planned to blog about the first day of school 2012 and have a nice picture of all four kids to compare with this picture from 2009. Oh, well! Maybe next year!

This year our Vacation Bible School theme was “Pandamania” and so the kids spent a week learning a lot about God and quite a bit about Panda’s too.  I was in charge of crafts and so we made Panda Masks, Panda Sand Art, Floating Panda’s on a raft and Panda Prayer Boxes.  VBS was the week right before our family vacation which was awesome because after it was all over I was REALLY ready for a vacation.  

We were sitting around talking with our four kids about things they learned at VBS when Ethan asked, “What does ‘Pandamania’ mean?”  I explained to Ethan that they were using a play on words and instead of “Pandemonium” they named the VBS “Pandamania”.  “Oh, I get it”, Emma said with a smile. “It’s ‘cuz of all the Panda’s, right?”  Ethan thought for a second and then asked, “Well, then what does ‘Pandemonium’ mean?” 

Since I am not a walking dictionary I did what most mothers do when their kids ask a question we don’t know the answer to : I Goggled it.

According to Google, “pandemonium” is defined as “a wild uproar or unrestrained disorder; tumult or chaos”.  Hmmm ….. that pretty much sums up our summer.  

Those of you who were loyal followers of my blog hopefully have noticed that I haven’t posted for almost 3 months now.  Well, that’s because this summer has been so hectic and crazy and through all the chaos and “pandemonium” of summer camps, vacations, softball, baseball, swimming, etc.  I have hardly had time to shower, let alone write.  (those of you who aren’t mothers find that gross … those of you who are mothers know exactly what I am talking about!)

So I basically wanted to check in and let everyone know that “yes” the Parsonage is still standing and “yes” there is still playdough (and kids) in it.  We’ve had a lot of fun this summer, but now it is back to the real world. School started today most of the kids were happy to go back to school.

As you can tell from the picture, the degree of happiness is inversely related to the age of the child.  Notice that our oldest son, Drew, looks less-than-thrilled to be up before 10 am and is definitely not happy that he has to go and sit through an entire day of school with no video games, TV or iPod. On the other hand, our youngest child, Emma, was up, dressed and had her shoes, socks and backpack on at 6:30 this morning … a full hour before the bus arrived!