I stepped outside around 8:30 this evening. It’s uncharacteristically chilly for late August, so I’m wearing jeans and a cardigan with my sandals and my t-shirt, but the kids are still mostly running around in shorts and short sleeves.
Someone had an amazing new electric toy car, big enough to sit in, with all sorts of bells and whisltes that basically make it better equipped than our Corolla was (bless its dear departed soul), and the children were all taking turns in it and wandering along behind as it bumbled along. The current occupants were two and four years old, and the two-year-old would prove tricky to dislodge. The novelty gradually dimmed for the others and they turned to other pursuits.
To wit: my 11 year old pulling our 12-year-old neighbour along on roller blades, using two hockey sticks as reins. My 8 year old on a tricycle that fits a two year old, knees popping up above her shoulders at every turn of the pedals, undaunted, three mothers chatting, a three year old jealously guarding a bag of popcorn, a small dog, a small boy with a new tennis ball, glowing lumniously in a way that made me realise that it’s getting dark.
They came in without much complaint, enticed by the prospect of a movie, tired after a long day with friends and a late night last night. The summer is all but ended, the grand flourish and spectacle of the Labor Day Festival all that stands between us and school – new starts, new teachers, old friends, new notebooks and pencils and scissors and glue sticks.
The Labor Day festival is done. Mabel won two blue ribbons in the art show and one in the photo show, in contrast to my none at all. Dash had more goes on the bumper cars than you might have thought possible. Their father spent 40 minutes queueing up to go on one of the fast and scary rides, which wasn’t all that fast or scary. I spent 5 hours working the book stall in the rain, so it wasn’t very busy at all. Mabel met all the dogs at the festival, of which there were many.
On Tuesday and Wednesday night Mabel put herself to bed, early, in anticipation of school the next day. This was an instant turnaround from the whole weekend that had gone before, which was full of nights so late you would not believe (even though we were not out), and associated sundry “I’m not tired, I don’t know why you always think I’m tired” meltdowns. On Wednesday and Thursday she got up and ready for school like an angel child, and brushed her hair both at night and in the morning, and was a model pupil, at least from where I was standing. (Nowhere near her, not allowed wield a camera or phone in her direction for a first day of third grade photo.)
This morning the novelty had worn off and I had to coax/reason/yell at her to go to school. Maybe by next week we’ll have reached a happy medium.
Dash also started school, with less drama of extremes. He’s a middle schooler now, because in America most middle schools start at 6th grade, but since his wonderful, fabulous (expensive) school goes all the way from 4th to 12th grade, even though they try to make a big deal of it, it’s not the big adjustment that it is for most kids. It’s the same place, the same kids, many of the same teachers. He does have to change classrooms and teachers more often, and remember to be in the right place because he’s not just following his friends to wherever they’re going too, and he seems to have a lot more homework, but apart from that it all seems to have been a pretty smooth transition.
And I’ve managed to get a lot done in three days. None of that has involved tidying up the mess in the family room, but maybe I’ll get around to that next week.