Friday, August 31, 2012

‘South to drop off, north to pick up moron!’ – Mr. Mom

Thursday, August 16th was the first day of school.  The first day of 2nd, 3rd, and 6th grade for ‘D’, ‘A’, and ‘M’.
Moose is still navigating life in the 1 & 2 year old room at his daycare.
I had been really looking forward to school starting again.  Really looking forward to it.
This past summer was rough.  The boys are a little too old to go to daycare in the summer; not to mention finding one that had available spots just for the summertime.  We enrolled them in some summer camps for some of the weeks, had my parents watch them a couple of days here and there and had my daughter keep an eye on them at the house when she was at home.  (I have joint custody with her dad and she does week on/week off.)  My husband is at home during the day, but he sleeps – so he is basically only useful if the house catches on fire. 
The boys weren’t home many days, but the days they were…..SUCKED!
I was almost guaranteed to receive a call from one of them by 9:00am and it usually went something like this:
ME: Hello.
SON:  Umm, mom – it’s [whichever son was calling].
ME: Yes, what’s going on?
SON:  Umm, I think I broke my head.
ME:  You broke your head?
SON:  Yeah. 
ME:  How did that happen?
SON:  Well, see I opened the cabinet door to get some instant oatmeal for breakfast and the cookie box fell down and hit me on the head and now I think I have a concussion.  I’m pretty sure I was dead for about 30 minutes.
ME:  Wow – really?
SON:  Yeah, and also mom, umm, when you get home, don’t get mad because I didn’t eat the cookies.  When the box hit the floor, it exploded and all the cookies busted up and I picked them all up, but that’s why there’s crumbs all over the floor.
Translation:  My son bi-passed the mythical instant oatmeal in the cabinet (we haven’t had any for a month) and was standing on the counter, trying to reach the cookie box on the top shelf.  On his way down, he accidentally knocked his head on the cabinet and dropped the box on the floor – which probably did result in some crumbs getting on the floor.  He then proceeded to eat most of the cookies and then as he was trying to put the box (the empty box) back in the cabinet, he was busted by the other brother.  Because there were no more cookies left in which to bribe the other brother with, my son had to think of a lie so he wouldn’t get in trouble after his brother told on him. 
The rest of the day, I was sure to get at least three or four more calls.  And if it wasn’t one son tattling on the other, then it was always a call about something random; like letting me know that ‘Harry and the Hendersons’ was on TV – or that a telemarketer called.
I felt even more sorry for my husband.  He had to listen to them wrestle and fight in the living room and hear one of them shout, “QUIT IT; YOU’RE GOING TO WAKE DAD UP!”
Or – my son ‘A’ who is a tad OCD would wake him up no less than three times and say, “Dad, it’s 3:00pm.  Do you think you should wake up and go get the baby from daycare?”
School could not come quick enough this year.
The Tuesday before school started was ‘Back To School Night’ at their schools.  Basically, we heaved all of their supplies up to their classrooms and met their teachers, filled out whatever information forms they had for us, etc.  Additionally, I had to reassure ‘D’s teacher that he is in fact taking his medication and has made great strides in his behavior over the summer.  (All the teachers at the boys’ school either know or have heard about my son, ‘D’.)  Actually, I’m not entirely sure he has made great strides in his behavior and it wouldn’t matter if he had, because his teacher probably didn’t believe me, but we all smiled and put on our happy faces and pretended that the public school system is just and kids are given the benefit of the doubt and a second chance.  (Can you tell I’m just a tad bitter?  Oh well, another soap box for another day.)
Going to my daughter’s school for her ‘Back To School Night’ was emotional for me this year.  Last year when I walked her down the 5th grade hall, we passed the 6th grade hall and she told me that she couldn’t wait to be in 6th grade because the 6th graders got lockers.  As we walked by, I saw the row of lockers and all the little 6th grade girls putting their things in them.  You could tell they really thought they were big time.  I wonder if I stick a set of lockers in the hallway at my house, will the kids finally pick up their crap?  I didn’t even get to walk her into her class on the first day of school last year.  She had me drop her off at the front of the school. 
And now she’s in 6th grade.  She has a locker.  She is big time. 
So, school has started and has been in session for about two weeks now.  And of course I already had a meeting with ‘D’s teacher, principal, speech therapist, and the special Ed teacher to discuss the ‘plan’ for ‘D’ this year.  His teacher gave me a detailed account of what their day consists of and I’m supposed to come up with ideas/tricks on how we can help ‘D’ learn what he needs to learn each day and disturb the classroom as little as possible.  As of right now, I’ve stalled out on what idea/trick to use to keep ‘D’ from saying the word, ‘buttocks’ out loud every five minutes.  Honestly, I have no idea why he loves that word so much.  I think maybe it’s because it’s one of the few words he can pronounce very crisp and fluently.  He says it very precisely and enunciates it very clearly.  Plus, I think he considers it a ‘grown up’ word and therefore he must be very smart to say it.  I suppose it is much better than ‘ass’ for instance.  Maybe I should teach him the word, ‘gluteus Maximus’ just so he can have some variety.
Last week kicked off ‘Howdy Week’ at the kids’ school.  Howdy Week is usually the first full week after school starts (heck, I had it when I was a kid) and basically everyday has a different theme and the kids dress accordingly. For instance the 1st day was Hawaiian Day at the boys’ school and they could dress Hawaiian. 
Now, I do realize when I chose to have 3 kids with 3 different dads and inherited a step-child that there would be times when the dads would be making the decisions regarding certain things and that sometimes they might even make decisions that were not only different from what I would choose, but of course different from what the other dads would choose.  As much as I would love to have a monthly ‘parent meeting’ where all the dads and new wives/new husbands and myself get together to agree on all the ways we wish to timeshare our children, I realize that is never going to happen.  And so I find myself with two boys going to one school and a daughter going to another.  The baby, of course, had to go to a daycare, so no one really had much choice in that.  My kids are spread out all over the city we live in.  (And I thank God every day we at least all live in the same area.)
So, back to Howdy Week.  You would think that the entire school district (luckily all the kids are also in the same school district) would get together and decide on the theme for the week and they would all have the same themes.  Nope.
So, the 1st day was Hawaiian Day for the boys and Hat day for my daughter.   And then Moose’s daycare – not wanting to miss out on all of that school fun – decided to do their own ‘Howdy Week’.  And of course, it was completely different than the other kids’.  So, the 1st day of ‘Howdy Week’ for Moose was favorite T-shirt day.
Then it was PJ day for the boy’s, Red, White, and Blue day for my daughter , and funky hat day for Moose.
And of course, ‘D’ sleeps practically naked so he wanted to strut off to school wearing his ‘Shrek’ boxer briefs and a wife beater.
‘A’ (who has this weird thing about climate changes) sleeps in old man PJs.  Seriously.  It’s the end of August and 100 degrees outside and he still sleeps in flannel PJs with a long-sleeved top.  I think he likes to maintain a constant 98 degrees on the inside and the outside of his body.   And they’re Christmas PJs at that.  That’s what he wanted to wear.
‘M’ looked cute – but she always does. 
Moose had no clothes that morning because all of his where dirty.  (I hate laundry.)  So, he wore only a onesie to daycare with long socks and his tennis shoes…….and a winter snow hat with a Mohawk on top -  that he hated and kept trying to throw out the car window on the way.
I swear I could not have a job and my kids could still be in school and daycare and it would still be a full-time job; managing their school careers.
Oh yes, let’s not forget what a typical morning for me is like when the kids are in school.
The baby wakes me up.  Sometimes, it’s at 4:30am, sometimes it’s at 6:00am.  Sometimes I have to wake him up; he likes to keep me on my toes.
I wake the boys up.
I tell the boys what they need to do.  It’s usually about 4 or 5 things.
I have to physically put my hands on ‘D’ shoulders and turn him towards me and re-tell him the 4 or 5 things a second time just to make sure he’s paying attention.
I have to physically walk with ‘A’ through the 4 or 5 things because he cannot remember more than 1 thing at a time.
I have to physically separate both boys because there will almost certainly be a fight over who stole the other one’s underwear.
I have to go find ‘M’ and apologize to her because she’s been trying to ask me ever since she got up if she can borrow my flat iron and I haven’t been paying attention; I’ve been investigating the case of the stolen underwear.
‘M’ grudgingly says, “That’s ok”, but I’m given the silent treatment for the remainder of the morning.
I’m ready to walk out the door….and realize I’ve almost forgotten about the baby, who either is still sleeping, or awake – but walking around the house in either a wet diaper, or naked.
Make it out the door with baby and daughter in tow.  ‘T’ takes the boys to school.
There are variations to that of course, but that is pretty much how my morning always goes.  The boys will have a fight, ‘M’ will get mad at me for some tween-hormone reason, and Moose will barely make it out the door dressed.
Oh yes – school is definitely in session!

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