Friday, September 14, 2012

How the First Day of School Changed My Life

 Guess who was beside herself excited to go to school this year? 
Dear Helen Avery, proud first grader!  She could hardly stand it this summer, she was jonesing for the whole school experience.  She was doing her best to figure out classroom rules before she got there, ever so determinedly careful to never disobey them and to always have the right answer.  Yes, always the right answer.  She was concerned about NOT doing something wrong, and having perfect work.  And checking and double-checking for confirmation over her perfect work.  Arrgghhh!  It's like me all over again, in miniature form.  On one hand, I kind of like this insight into my true mini-me.  But on the other hand, it helps me see the negative side of my personality.  The bottom line about Helen is that she just wants to be noticed and affirmed. 

And then there is Owen, headed into the second grade, school pro by now.  He didn't seem to be too bothered that he and his sister were going to be in the same classroom.  They attend a small private school, where two grades are grouped together in each classroom, very similar to the school I attended. 
 Owen and Helen have a sweet relationship, but they sure know how to disagree too.  Lately on school mornings, Owen has been repeating, "Remember, Helen!  DON'T talk too much!"  From what I gather, I suspect that Helen hasn't been over-talking in the classroom to the annoyance of everyone, but that Owen is personally bothered, as a brother.  I told him that while they were at school, he was going to have to ignore the fact that she was his sister, and treat her like a friend instead.  It seemed to resonate.  Snort.
 Here is Helen on her first day of school.
Please get me out of here, Mom!
 Doesn't that look make you want to scoop her up and murmur sweet things in her ear? "Sweet-Baby, I'm so sorry I brought you here. It's OK.  There, there.  Let's go home and make pie.  You can stay with Mommy"?  Nah.  Me neither.

Owen Darrell, seasoned student.
Please get out of here, Mom.
 Jack Herman, poor, mistaken little brother who thought he was going to spend all the rest of his days with Daddy at work, now that those older kids are gone.
 On the first day of school, Jack pulled on his favorite work outfit, fully convinced he was going to work with Jason.  While we had been prepping him for life without Owen and Helen, we gave him Owen's hand-me-down lunch box, and told him that some days he might be able to go with Daddy in the tractor.  Poor kid only got the good part of that message. It took a few tears and a few days of bad attitude, but we've achieved a good feel around the house while Owen and Helen are away.

I am still in disbelief over how much more work I can get done without all my kids here during the day.  Jack plays really well by himself, and Henry is generally sweet and content.  And let's not forget how easy the grocery store has now become!  In fact, it's almost a treat to go there.  The little boys are so cute in their steering wheel cart.  I get nice comments now instead of odd looks.  It's funny how tasks have a perceived level of difficulty that flexes with the number of kids you have.  
And by, the way, this is Helen after pick up on the first day of school.  She loved it, and was ready to go back again.  Just like her mama.

No comments: