Saturday, August 25, 2007

School Daze

It's almost that mystical, magical time of year- The start of the school year!

Most parents of school-age children approach this time with a mixture of apprehension...and sheer joy. Apprehension over the new teacher, the new materials, the new kids in their class, etc. Sheer joy over the banishment of summer camp fees, and early mornings trying to throw together an impressive bag lunch for the latest summer field trip.

For our family, this school year represents two, very profound milestones. The first, is that K, my baby will be going to kindergarten. This officially makes both of my children school-aged, in school, full-time, big school, school attendees. It makes me feel both old and sad. How on earth did I get to be old enough to have two kinds IN SCHOOL? Oh yeah gods, I'm a mom, a truly, true to life mom.

It's always a little disorientating when these "mega-mom" moments hit. I mean, of course I realize I'm a mom every day. I'm a mom when I carefully apply After Bite to each and every one of my children's bug bites. I'm definitely a mom when I find myself patiently instructing my son on the proper to technique to wipe his backside (something he still hasn't quite mastered at 7 *sigh*). I'm a mom when I do laundry and make dinner after a full day of work. I'm a mom when I softly kiss smooth foreheads at bedtime and feel my heart swell each and every time. However, there are always events and occurrences that hit you harder, make you pause and take a moment to fully feel the magnitude of your mom-ness.

I admit, having K enter kindergarten this year has caused me a surprising amount of anxiety. This will be G's third school year in this particular school, and has escaped each year whole and happy. K even has the same kindergarten teacher G did, and we loved her. Why is then that I find myself hyperventilating when I think of K getting onto the bus herself (kindergarten has it's own bus, so she won't be able to ride with G)? Why is it that I worry that K, my little warrior princess, my stupendous social butterfly, will have a hard time going to a new school and making new friends? I try to tell myself I'm being completely irrational, but these nagging doubts remain, lurking just under the surface as I shop for a new pink backpack, glue sticks and pencils.

The second milestone may not seem as momentous in comparison, but it will represent some huge changes around out house all the same- We've officially left our daycare, and will have a neighbor girl watching K and G after school. This girl is the daughter of a close neighbor of ours, and since she will already be watching her younger brother, a close friend and classmate of G, our families agreed that it would be a perfect arrangement for her to watch G and K after school until I get home from work. Since I have Mondays off, and Generous Husband has Tuesdays off, and possibly Thursdays soon, neighbor girl A will only have to watch the kids two or three days a week. This arrangement equals a few important changes:

1. The kids will be able to be home after school and relax, rather than transitioning to the hectic scene of after-school care after a long day of school.

2. My commute home will shorter minus the stop at the daycare, which equals more quality time with the kids.

3. We will be saving TONS of money. This means less stress and more opportunities to do all of the fun stuff we've been putting off for so long.

All of these things combined equals a healthier, happier home life for all of us.

All of these new changes all at once may be a bit hard to digest. They may require a cocktail to chase away the anxiety, and the purchase of a trashy tabloid (which I may now be able to afford :) ) to distract from panic attacks, as K's first day of kindergarten approaches. It may require a tight leash on the credit card and Amazon account when I'm caught up in the fever of extra spending money, and my long wish list of new books.

All that aside, things will work themselves out, as they always seem to have a way of doing in the most unexpected ways. I'll just keep my seat belt on, and try to remember to enjoy the ride.

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