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Shouting – but not with joy – at going back to school

Submitted by on Tuesday, 6 January 2009 No Comment

I panicked and nearly froze Sunday night.

Let’s see … how exactly do I do this?

I think we need a lunch box, on the off chance Big Guy decides to eat at some point Monday. His Thermos would come in handy, too. Oh, yes, I remember now! It all goes into a backpack.

And if Back To School Eve flummoxed me, imagine what it was like for a 5-year-old.

I didn’t have to imagine. I heard its raging gory all evening Monday.

Getting a kid back to school is hard after a week or so off at Christmas. It’s bloody when a kindergartener at a year-round school has been home since Thanksgiving.

I knew we were headed for trouble a month ago, when a mere two weeks after Big Guy’s vacation began the guys had managed to extend bedtime close to two hours. Yes, it’s my fault for being a wimp. I can’t even claim I didn’t know what would happen as the result. I caved knowing full well the implications come Jan. 5.

As a result, at 9:30 p.m. Jan. 4, Big Guy and I were sprawled on the carpet with the checker board. That’s 90 minutes past his usual school-night bedtime, but given how late he’d slept that morning, I decided to spend an hour and a half playing instead of ordering him back to bed.

Sometime in the wee hours, the guys crawled into our bed and begged Dad to turn on cartons. He caved, hoping it would quiet the riot. I was too sleepy to bludgeon him.

Waking them for school was not as bad as I’d feared given that Big Guy had been protesting going back for a week. He tricked me when we got home by turning off the TV without protest and volunteering to do his homework.

But, oh, the evening.

It started as a cousin came over to bake cookies and Big Guy hadn’t finished the homework he’d started a half hour earlier. He was supposed to write numbers through 100, something he zipped through a number of times on vacation just for fun. But that was different — he wanted to do it then. Someone was telling him to do it now.

“Gee, you have more homework than I do,” said the cousin, a sixth-grader. “I finished all mine in school.”

Thanks for the help. No cookies for you, girl.

She was right, though. Big Guy’s homework load has increased dramatically. Four worksheets this week instead of the usual three. Two new “sight” words instead of one, which means more writing and flash-carding. I want to know why they get to play with construction paper in class but I have to crack the whip at home.

On top of all that, he had a sleep-deprivation hangover and a case of the hunger grumps because his tendency to hunger strike escalates when he’s tired. And here he was stuck doing homework when everyone else had finished.

It was a relief when he finally blew, alternately yelling at his cousin and me to help or not help, depending on which recent command he wanted to contradict. He flung himself crying on a couch and then ran to his room — his room, not Boots’ — to finish his fit.

Tantrum complete, he came back to the kitchen to politely ask if we could have pancakes instead of pizza for dinner. A reasonable request, considering the day he’d been through.

And at bedtime, he kept nodding off as we read and was completely out before I left the room.

Whew! I’m glad that’s over.

When he’s off track again in April, I swear we’re going to stay on schedule.

Yeah, I know. I don’t believe me either.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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