Last night Thing 1 had "Meet the Teacher Night" at school. We go, meet his new teacher, and get ready for school to start tomorrow... Part of our back to school routine is something I like to call Back to School Boot Camp. It's not something that makes the kids happy but I've found from my many years of transitioning them from fun summer routines back into boring school routines, we all get through it much smoother if I start getting them ready a few weeks before school starts.
1. School bed time is back.
One of the first items in back to school boot camp is bed time adjustments. Not only are the children required to be in bed no later than 9 p.m. but they are also required to sleep in their beds. No couches or floors for my boys. The lazy days of summer are at an end and they start to realize this when I require a real bedtime, instead of the sometimes bedtime we use during the summer, and a real bed for said bedtime. I start a few weeks before school starts so there is no whining about it later.
2. Getting up like we're leaving for school.
Though I don't make the boys put on school clothes I do make them get up at their normal wake up time for school. In the summer they get to sleep in a lot when Nana comes over and even when I have to take them to the spoiler herself, they don't have to be up before 8. During school the bus leaves by 8 so if they want to squeeze in video games and breakfast first they have to get their butts out of bed early. Life is so hard.
3. Respectable school hair.
During the summer the boys are allowed to do whatever they want to their hair. This year Thing 1 bleached his, his first foray into the world of different. He loved his "golden hair" and was very sad when I announced that his golden locks would soon be on the barber's floor. When the whining began I was forced to remind him that our summer hair is not something that is appropriate for school. Discussion was over. Thing 2 had a green Mohawk. Yep, I even dyed it for him. Did he look like a punk? Maybe a little sometimes, but he only acted like a punk to me so I don't care if you judge. He loved it and was very sad to see it go, but since he heard the discussion I JUST HAD with his brother he decided there was no way out and took it without much protest.
4. Supplies, backpacks, shoes, clothes
I was so happily surprised this year. Both of my children still fit into their school pants from last year. They may look frumpy one year because I get a size they can grow into but since my children aren't that hard on their clothes it saves me some serious money to let them look a little disheveled sometimes. Anyway I offered to take them shopping for back packs, shirts, pants or shoes and they declined.... The heavens opened and there was signing. So this year I didn't have to buy anything. Thing 1 has a dress code he has to follow so shopping for him is no fun anyway, and Thing 2 just wasn't in the mood. Might still have time to add to their wardrobes but if not, they will be ready regardless.
5. Actually start school.
Because Thing 2 primarily lives with his mom, he goes to a different school, in a different district than Thing 1. He has another week to hold on to the last glows of summer. But tomorrow Thing 1 will officially be a 4th grader. This is very hard for me because I still see him as he was when he was The Baby's age. His teacher seems to be wonderful and I am hoping and praying for a teacher who is willing to put in just a little bit of extra effort to help him succeed!
6. Prepare myself for the feelings..
Thing 1 thinks he's going to get to ride the bus tomorrow but I am that mom. I will drive him to school and then cry as I drive away because tomorrow he will be a little older and need me a little less and I hate having to watch him walk away. I get a little sentimental when school starts because I know that he is growing all too fast. During the summer I can forget that he is getting older and wiser and just be with him. But when school starts so do school sports and with that, school activities and with that, more maturity. I will hold on as long as I can to my picture of the golden haired boy laughing as he jumps in the pool and soaks up the suns rays. I will be happy when he learns a new skill but I will never again get to see the almost 4th grader. Because now he is a 4th grader and each year he grows I will remember who he was and try to help him to become who he wants to be.