Monday, December 6, 2010

Thanks for Reminding Me to Avoid Tripping Over Shoes Tomorrow Morning

School has been pretty intense this year for my sons compared to the previous years. They are assigned homework far more consistently and have a lot of side projects and school related events that they need to participate in. They have some after school activities and are even beginning some sports. On top of it, their teachers are expecting them to be more responsible for being organized and prepared for class.

I have to say, although I was worried about the stress they might suffer from this new level of challenges, they have responded pretty well. They slight amount of pressure they felt at the beginning of the year has past and they have fallen into a routine through which they stay on top of their studies and perform well. I can see their confidence growing and I’m proud of them for it.

The transition hasn’t been so easy for me.

I feel like there is constantly something I’m forgetting to take care of for them for school. And I’m usually right.

One week I’m packing art projects into book bags and making sure their book report isn’t due until next Monday while I make lunches and send in the canned food donation. But sure enough, I completely for got to send the tuition in. The school gets upset when you do that. But at least I remember it the next day. And the following month I’m sure to get it in a few days early. But then I forget to make them lunches and I have the image of them sitting in a lunch room full of children who are eating particularly delicious looking food. The look of dismay on their lost little faces in my imagination is enough to make me want to cry.

I would normally try and overcompensate in such an instance. This is when I would come barging into the school cafeteria after having hired a quartet of trumpeters to announce my arrival with a great deal of to do and hub-bub and fanfare. I would have a McDonald’s Happy meal in each hand (with a shake substituted for the usual boring old drink, no less) and shout, “Taa-daa! You thought I forgot, didn’t you?” Then I would make sure I waved the aromatic fries beneath as many jealous little noses as possible on my victory walk through the school ranks.

Alas, their school does not allow you to deliver lunches in the middle of the day for some unknown reason. I know this because I was sternly warned after the first time I pulled this stunt that it would not be accepted from this point on. Apparently the “man” is trying to get the poor kids whose parents forget lunches to fork money over to the cafeteria. But when your kids are 6 and 7, they generally don’t carry wallets or any money for fear of it becoming lost, so I’m not sure what the angle is here.

Anyway, it’s tough to keep up with all the stuff coming home in their folders. When all the homework gets done, I consider it a successful day. Especially because on top of all the official school documents and notices included, my kids’ school decides to include an oddly large number of advertisements for local businesses. I get enough junk mail as it is without having to sort through my sons’ book bags to rid myself of even more. Yet there it always is. Catering menus form the pizza place that opened up. Flyers for the arts and crafts bonanza at the local mall. Coloring contests from a nearby bar of all places. It’s amazing that my sons can attend field trips because as soon as I see a location other than their school written on a sheet of paper, my first instinct is to throw it away.

But for all the unnecessary paperwork and reminders that get sent home, every now and then a live saver makes its way through. For instance, today, my sons’ teachers reminded them that it is the feast of St. Nicholas. They are supposed to leave their shoes on the steps overnight and small toys or treats are to be placed in them. They were very excited to leave their shoes where St. Nick is sure to see them and I’m probably sure to break my neck tripping over them in the morning.

But, again, the teachers saved me on this one and I ought to offer my thanks. I had forgotten all about it. To think, I nearly forgot put my shoes out and then I wouldn’t have gotten anything. That would have sucked.

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