It was strange, this first week back to school. Rather than a welcome reprieve, it felt a lot like being dunked in an ice cold tub of water, repeatedly.
Having to drag myself out of bed (progressively later) before 8 each morning. Having to endure ‘suddenly brotherless’ Percy. By day 2 he had taken to his bed, crying, telling me every time he heard the bell (starting at 10:05am), that it was time to pick up his brothers. Realizing that the one and a half hours, thrice weekly, when I won’t have any kids in the house isn’t really going to change my life. Realizing that my grand plan to organize all the paperwork and the basement and the thousands of photos on my hard drive will not happen until Percy settles into his brotherless days. (Unless I subject him to Netflix for six hours every day…….documentaries are educational, right?)
But mostly it was the rude awakening to the scheduled life. Having to be places at certain times, and the juggling that ensues when school and work and meetings and unexpected extras intersect. And spending an hour at the grocery store and coming home to find out there is a quarter cup of milk in the fridge and one egg.
At 5:30 this afternoon, I looked at the boys and said ‘how about we just go to bed right now?’ Why postpone sleep another two or five hours, or address the disaster that is the house. Let’s just go to bed and not wake up tired tomorrow! Sadly they did not agree.
I took Percy to his first day of preschool on Wednesday. An hour before we had to leave he suddenly decided he wanted ‘stickers’ (iron-on decals) on his shirt. So I ironed on the letters of his name (except I had to use a 1 instead of an I) and a wine glass with a bird sticking out of it with the word ‘fragile’ underneath it? He felt strongly about that one. And I thought it was kind of appropriate, the word ‘fragile’ but I wondered about the wine glass and if it was weird sending your kid to preschool with a wine glass on his shirt.
Just before we left, I led him outside so I could snap the obligatory ‘first day of ____’ picture. Apparently I’m the most clueless mom on the planet, having failed to realize that Percy hates having his picture taken. Naturally, he doesn’t object when he’s playing the ipad or otherwise occupied, (which is, in hindsight when I take 99% of his pictures) but ask him to stand still and let you take a picture? Mais non! I just wanted one non-blurry image of his decal-ed shirt and his newly four year old little face and it was quite an ordeal.
Another downside to this school business: for the next 200 weekdays or so, my boy-quote-quotient will be severely limited since my access to them and their fantastic boy-isms will be severely limited.
Like the other day, when Percy raced past me, announcing: ’I have to go pee…… like a beaver!’
Or the Hen’s less-than-altruistic inquiry about our finances:
‘How much money do we have? Do we have $20,000?’ ‘Why do you want to know?’ the professor asked. ‘Because I want to buy an xbox when you’re dead.’ ‘Do you want me to be dead?’ ‘No, but if you’re going to be dead, I want to get an xbox.’
Or listening to their conversations each morning outside my room:
‘I need to go poop,’ Percy tells his middle brother. ‘Good, then you can yell ‘wipe my butt’ and she’ll (that would be me!) have to get up, and then she’ll stay up and we can watch our movie!’
Or waiting for Percy – ever the brother-elected-messenger – to approach my semi-comatose side each morning, to beg for privileges of the technological kind. ‘Can we set the timer and play video games, just for a little bit?’ he’ll ask for the second or third time in a twenty minute span. ‘Fine, you can each have ten minutes,’ I eventually relent. Partly tired of the constant interruption to my non-slumber and partly impressed by his perseverance. ’Guys,’ he runs away bearing good news, ‘we can play for ten minutes!!’
And then I listen to the sound of the oven timer being set for the allotted amount of time, as each boy takes his turn on the ipad.
Or the (incredibly random – hello diabetes and divorce!) car conversations I can ‘spy’ on when we all ride around together.
‘Teenagers laugh at you when you trip or something,’ the now six year old tells his older brother. ‘It’s rare to find a teenager who’s a gentleman. When you’re a teenager, you get kind of mean,’ the nine year old agrees. ‘I tell you what,’ the 9 year old advises his younger brother, ‘if you see a teenager, just think they’re a baboon. Don’t say it out loud, just think it.’
‘I can greet in three languages,’ the 9 year old boasts to his middle brother. ‘Three languages?! You only know English and Spanish,’ the six year old protests. ‘And French,’ the oldest corrects. ‘I can say bonjoumessamys’ he rattles off the pronunciation he’s heard without any understanding of the actual words. ‘I don’t know what ‘mes amis’ means, but I know bonjour means hello. Maybe it means hello everyone.’
‘Divorce…you take your share of the money and then you start a new life and you don’t see each other too often.’