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Friday, 17 August 2012

August WHAT?!?

I've been absent...for a long time...for a very good reason.

It's summer. Well, it was summer. I squeezed in a play date today that will likely be my children's last at our house before school starts. Boo-hoo.

I don't understand all the fuss about back-to-school, that commercial where parents are so excited. Maybe I'll feel that way in a few years. But this year is the year my oldest goes to kindergarten. And I hate it.

I hate that, while her little brother and sister and I are at the science museum or the playground or a play date, Z will be at school. Sure, she'll be painting and reading and running around the gym, playing musical instruments and swinging from the monkey bars (we opted for public school over Montessori, but more on that later...), but she won't be with me. She'll be spending more waking hours with a teacher and a group of neighbourhood kids than she will with her own family. Does anyone else find that bizarre??? Perhaps an argument for homeschooling. I'm not there yet, but I'm seriously considering petitioning the government for half-day elementary school.

After school wrapped up, we had some summer guests, we WERE summer guests when we travelled to my mom's for a week, and then...sweet nothing. We played outside from morning to dusk. We visited our island's four farms two or three times a week. We picked blueberries, strawberries. We husked corn. We pet goats and sheep, watched a pig nursing her piglets. We visited a local market at least once a week, bringing home buckets of fresh produce to can, dehydrate, freeze and, most importantly, EAT. Tomatoes, bread, cheese and beans constituted almost every one of our summer dinners, eaten on the grass in our front yard, between mad cycling races in the driveway.

We planted our own garden and took meticulous care of it. We wore out bicycle tires on the bike path. We became friends with the owner of our local nursery.

We rolled around in bed as long as we could stand it. We ate two or three breakfasts before noon, munching whenever we were hungry. We had lots of days where pyjamas were our clothes.

We scraped our knees. We ran around naked (ok, only the kids, at least in the front yard...). We forgot about shoes. Before coming in for the night, we hosed ourselves off amidst shrieks of laughter.

When it rained, we put on our raincoats and galoshes. We took long afternoon walks through the arboretum. We made homes for fairies and crickets (they're friends, don't you know?) in the backyard.

Perfection.

But this past week, fall has been creeping up on us and threatening to throw us into school mode. I loathe school mode.

School mode this year, I'm imagining, will go something like this: Wake up my daughter and force her to eat breakfast. My son will have been up for a little while, during which I'll have fed him breakfast and ordered him upstairs to get his clothes on, quick, quick. Kids dressing while I pack snack bags, and this year, a lunch. The baby crying in the background, needing her diaper changed and clothes on. Getting one of those things before I have to strap her to the car seat (a foreign object this summer) and drop her sister off at school. School. Big-kid school. I have to drop her off and I don't get to see her until the afternoon.

Meanwhile, my husband will be whisking our son off to preschool. The poor boy will cry about not getting to play with his trucks or trains, or run around outside, before he has to quick, quick, get in the car.

The baby will nap (if I'm lucky) while I clean the house, plan snacks and dinner; maybe she'll sleep in the dreaded car seat while I go grocery shopping. Then, pick up the boy, quick, quick, home for lunch and nap. Lucky him, when he wakes up, he'll have the rest of the day, whatever daylight hours remain, to play. My Z will come home and have just a couple hours to tell me about school, a bit of downtime, before dinner, quick, quick, bath, story, bed.

Who voted for this system???

My daughter has not caught on to my pessimism. Her school supplies are lined up neatly in her backpack. Her clothes, still with tags on, hung up in her closet. She's wildly excited. Excited about the "big school" where she will get to do art, gym, music, make new friends, eat lunch, etc. She has a desk, and a library, and a cubby. Bliss.

Since my last post, we ran up against some logistical problems between getting Z to Montessori for kindergarten and then her in-demand public school for Grade 1. We decided to start her off at the public school. She will miss her Montessori friends and teachers, but she's excited about all the new opportunities that the public school has to offer. Upward and onward, we will begin this new adventure en français. Lots of firsts for our family!

We will be visiting friends this week, and when we get back, school will be mere days away. Wish us luck, and look for more posts as I—theoretically—have more time on my hands.