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!

8 thoughts on “Backpacks and Lunchboxes and Markers, Oh My!”

  1. Maybe we could have a contest and see who has the worst middle child. Maybe we could video tape them and put them on our blog and have people vote? Or maybe we could just threaten to do that because my middle is exactly the same way.

    Getting him up to go to school and get ready on time is like pulling teeth.

    My kids go back tomorrow so I am so looking forward to the morning routine. (not)

    Well, I truly am looking forward to a little peace and quiet around here.

  2. They look adorable (& awake) in their 1st day of school pictures. My oldest started school last Thursday, as well. We never started school before Labor Day, when I was in school. But that was a LONG time ago, lol. Don't get me started on the school supplies. I think we have to supply the TEACHER w/the supplies she wants, not the class. All of our stuff is community stuff, which drives me nuts. If I have to spend that much money on supplies, then MY child should be the only one using them. *sigh* And we are one of the low income families, so it's not easy.

    I hope your boys have a great year!

  3. As a teacher, I understand what it’s like to not have the supplies I need. I’d never make it mandatory for the kids to get them, though. Sometimes I’ll often little incentives for helping me out. At my old district, we’d just put on the board what we needed, and within two days we’d have an ample amount. The parents were awesome about that. They need to work out a donation system instead of putting those things on mandatory lists.

  4. We finally had to put two alarm clocks in Hunters room. One would wake him, and the other…placed far far away would make him get out of bed.

    Good luck!!!

  5. I have to remove my 5 year old from bed and ‘snuggle’ with him on the couch for 20 minutes before he will wake up. This is really nice now, once I built in ‘snuggle time’ into my morning schedule, but I shudder to think of how hard it will be to wake him once he is not willing to cuddle with mom anymore.

  6. That will be me in 2 weeks! All THREE of mine will be in school–Eldest will be in 1st grade, and the other 2 will be in morning preschool!
    (Too bad I now work full-time and won’t be home in the Trenches to enjoy the peace and quiet though.)

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