In the season of pumpkin flavored everything, and the transition from summer freedom to school routine, Brian Gawlak discusses the things his kids say.
It is that time of year again: everything is about to be flavored pumpkin, a chill (even in Florida) is in the early morning air, and regardless of how structured the summer was, new times and routines will thoroughly throw my entire family off for at least one month.
I’ve been paying special attention to my girls’ experiences of back to school, especially this year as our twins enter 2nd grade and our 11-year-old ventures off to junior high. I’ve chuckled, in my highly caffeinated misery/glory at what each morning has brought.
#5: Why are you waking me up so early? It is still night time.
I have heard this one every day since school resumed. I have reminded my kids each night half an hour before bedtime, and yet still: their inner night owls and summer ‘free spirits’ refuse to believe it is bedtime when it is “still so light out.” We suffer each morning. If I weren’t feeling their pain so much, I may be more empathetic and less inclined to rip the covers off the bed, turn the light on and bark: “WAKE UP” as I swig my second cup of coffee.
#4: What do you MEAN I can’t have hot lunch? EVERYONE is having hot lunch!
Hot lunch is a hot mess. I can either provide three kids with hot lunch that is so unhealthy they could conceivably grow scales, or feed them correctly and buy a new sports car with the same amount of money. This is a real dilemma, kids.
So, dear daughters, you’ve forced me to turn into my mother as I cringe and utter the words, “Well, if your friends jump off a bridge are you going to jump off a bridge with them? Don’t you know about type II diabetes? WHAT? Yes, I know you are seven and it is seven – A.M.! Where’s my coffee?”
#3: I can’t wear this! You bought it for me in May! They’ve seen me in this outfit before!
Yes, you actually have an article of clothing that still fits after three months. Hallelujah! This article of clothing is going to be a regular part of your “fall” wardrobe (here in Florida, they start school early and the stores carry fall fashions –which will look great on them and are appropriate in January when the weather calls for long sleeves, pants, sweaters and so on). Sorry, dear daughter, you are wearing that brand-spanking-new-but-already-seen-had-to-have-it-in-May shirt until it no longer fits next month!
*** PAUSE: “Dad! I can’t wear this! It doesn’t meet dress code!
“Yes, you are in second grade, yes there is a dress code, but it is 600 degrees out. A sundress with spaghetti straps IS appropriate! What do you mean it has to be three fingers wide on your shoulder? What do you MEAN it has to come up no further than an inch from your knee? You are in second grade and are seven! What? Why are we not teaching boys to not inappropriately ogle girls instead of making this a nunnery in the inferno-incinerator that is northern Florida in August? Yes, I know you are seven! Where is my coffee?”
#2: I DO have a favorite subject! Lunch and recess rock!
OK, I’ve learned not to have the audacity to ask about your day – ever, as I know I will get “fine,” or, “good,” or, “same old, same old.” I’ve asked creatively: What was the best part of today? What happened at recess today? What did you read today? What did you learn in math? Can you teach me something about history (since I retained nothing and learn along with you – especially geography). Anything new? Yet, I am always met with the same “Meh” don’t bother me. Where do you get this from? Do you need coffee?
#1: Is it Friday yet?
I don’t mind the ha-ha joke of social media when it is posed on a Monday – yes, yes, we all have a week ahead of us! Two days to hump day, three days to the thirsty day, and then the ultimate FRIDAY! Three seconds later, there will be memes and updates reminding us how awful Monday will be when it gets here and then suddenly, it is Monday again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I get it.
When my girls ask if it is Friday on Tuesday and they are NOT kidding, there is not enough coffee in the world to tolerate the nails-on-blackboard sound of the mere question. Am I tempted to jump back in bed, throw on a movie and have a protest of school week schedules until next June? Yep – and that is a reasonable response! There truly isn’t enough coffee in the world that can make any of this back to school blah remotely tolerable much before noon on any given day.
The inner “perfect dad” in me kicks in and I smile and almost sing: “it is Tuesday and a new day is upon us!” My little munchkins raise their heads from their pillows and crack their eyes to see me standing there with a smile illuminated by the sunrise cracking through the blinds. I then turn on the light, rip the covers off them, and bark at them to wake up as I swig my coffee.
I am sure week two will have much happier and more positive assertions and utterings (sh*t) as we get another step closer – to our countdown to Christmas break!
Photo: Flickr/Ian Burt