School Daze

“Learning is not child’s play; we can not learn without pain.”

-Aristotle

It’s back in session.

We went back like normal people do, after Labor Day. The playground was swarming, and I was so happy we had made it a point to leave the house an extra half hour before the bell. Not only was it discovered this morning that the schools surrounding our house (and blocking our way to the freeways) were starting earlier this year, but also as a rule both the new parents and the seasoned parents accompany their little angels to the playground on the first day, making already difficult parking impossible. Both sets of parents are seeking reassurance: the new ones that their kids are going in the right direction, the established set reassuring themselves that their kids had a more educational summer than yours.

And so it begins:

“You got here early, too? Where did you end up?”

“The kids decided to run here today. Didn’t have to find parking.”

“Wow! You should sign them up for this 5K we’re doing in November . . .”

“Actually, they are all tri-athletes, it’s kind of their thing.”

Of course it is.

“Hey! I’ve been meaning to ask you what you thought about the dual language program this year.  . .Kind of crazy. Are you going to the meeting?”

“Oh, I know exactly the points I’m going to bring up. I’m on the board, and I don’t think  after my kid went to Spain this summer to study, that he should start another new language. He already knows three, and going into middle school, he needs to be focused on those, you know?”

Oh, I do.

Fortunately for me, I look at this as fodder for my writing and general amusement, and not as a threat. I don’t find a quiet corner to cry in. I’ve been here for a few years already, so I’ll leave the crying to the new parents overhearing this conversation.

My littlest one was starting on a different playground, so I walked her there. She scampered off to play without a care in the world, without a tearful goodbye. After all, one of her friends had the same backpack as she did. Life was good. And she made me look like a rock-star parent (I got to give pitying looks to all of those poor souls with their littles super-glued to their legs. They were going to be there a while).

This year, I have the amazing experience of a single drop off. Both kids in the same school. I had one mother tell me to imagine awesome. . . and that it was 10 times better.

She wasn’t joking.

All the time in the world to finish up all of the silly little errands that have been creating  POS’s (piles) in various nooks. I got around to cleaning out my house. A never-ending project to be sure, but still . . .I actually put a dent in it. I even got a facial. After working out (did I mention I love my husband? Please don’t hate on me. I’m damn lucky and I know it).

I was thrilled, elated even, to see the chickens at the end of the day. This break from them is going to really make me a better parent! A happier person!

Until my 2nd grader squinched up her face (to stop from laughing), and carefully asked me:

“Mommy? Cindy and Luke said that there was this word, ‘Shet,’ I think? (She’s watching my reaction). . .but they wouldn’t tell me what it means . . .”

What it means, baby? Is that I’m going to have to strangle a couple of little shits tomorrow.

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