Backpacks and Lunchboxes and Markers, Oh My!

Last Thursday my boys started back to school as a fifth grader and a first grader. Yes, LAST Thursday. August 14. Not even halfway through the month of August—what’s up with that?!

Nevertheless, despite the fact that it seemed waaaay too early, we started the back-to-school routine. Of course, we had already purchased MOST of our school supplies. Mom forgot to buy a couple of things—whoops! I don’t really think they needed MY boxes of gallon-sized and sandwich-sized Ziploc bags on the first day of school, did they? And while we’re on the subject, I’m just curious. Do you have items for the classroom on your child’s school supply list? Things like two jumbo boxes of Kleenex, dry erase markers and a dry erase eraser, Ziploc bags, etc.? It’s not that I am opposed to helping out the schools (My husband is a teacher and I also taught for 2 1/2 years), but I’m not sure it’s really fair to put these items on the “mandatory” school supply list for each kid. Knowing how much it cost us to buy all of the supplies for our two school-aged children, I can’t imagine how lower-income families do it! Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now…

My FAVORITE part of the back-to-school routine has to be the mornings! (Did you detect the note of sarcasm there?) Now, if it were just Boy #1 that I had to get out the door, it would be fine. No problems. He can get up early and get himself ready with minimal complaining. Then there’s Boy #2. Oh, that middle child…Getting him out of bed is the first battle. I usually spend about five minutes pulling the covers off him, to which he replies, “I’m not ready to get up!” and pulls them back over his head. Most days, I start out with a generous supply of patience. I try to rub his back and speak softly and calmly, “Honey, you have to get up. I know you’re tired, but you need to get ready for school.” More often than not, my patience quickly evaporates and I resort to my militant voice, “Get up NOW! Did you hear me?” This is followed up by threats of “You don’t want me to call your dad and let HIM talk to you, do you?!” I know this is not the way I’m “supposed” to parent, but seriously, what other leverage do I have? He is way more stubborn than I am, and if it weren’t illegal to just leave him home alone all day instead of sending him to school, I’m afraid I’d just give up, throw him the TV remote and a box of cereal and say, “Have a good day! Try to watch something educational!”

Once I get him to come downstairs (usually stomping and saying, “Hmmmph!”) our battle is not over. It’s breakfast in his pajamas (which most of the time is his underwear) and then time to put on his clothes. Sounds easy enough, right? Notsomuch. Boy #2 “doesn’t want to put his clothes on yet” and finds he’d rather argue with me and hide under a blanket. It used to be worse because Boy #1 would get angry because he didn’t want to be late and would then proceed to scream at Boy #2 to “Hurry up!” which, surprisingly, didn’t make him move any faster. But now I let Boy #1 ride his bike to school with a friend, so at least ONE of my children will get to school before the tardy bell rings!

So if you’ve got any great words of wisdom about how to make the stubbornest boy in the Midwest, who’s also the Midwest’s WORST morning person, get up CHEERILY and get ready for school, I’d love to hear it! Not to be cynical because if it works for you–great!– but some of the advice I’ve read before like “Put on some music and dance as you get ready” makes me laugh out loud. I guarantee putting in a High School Musical CD and dancing into his room while singing “Get Your Head in the Game…” would NOT result in my child getting up with a smile on his face and a spring in his step. Most likely, it would result in me ducking as a Lego whizzes by my head. Music does not tame THIS savage beast!

Here are the boys all ready for doin’ some learnin’! Note Boy #1’s backpack, which is a wonderful Lands’ End backpack that I WON from The Life of a Home Mom at the Bloggy Carnival! Whoo-hoo! Boy #2’s backpack, you’ll notice, is of Shane from Camp Rock. I’m pretty sure this is SUPPOSED to be a girls’ backpack but didn’t want to discourage Boy #2 from getting what he wanted. Although he DID say everyone stared at him when he walked into the room carrying it…I like the way it matches his Kung Fu Panda lunchbox that he picked out too! It was between Kung Fu Panda and a horrible-looking Hulk one. Is it just me, or is the Incredible Hulk incredibly ugly? Yeesh. I don’t remember him/it looking quite so grotesque in the TV version…

On a good note, the boys came home after the first day LOVING their new teachers. We are incredibly fortunate that we have had fantastic teachers every year **knock on wood**. So here’s to a great school year!


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