The Back to School Blues

All good things must come to an end, including the winter holiday break, as the Facebook status updates of many a mom confirmed Sunday night.

After two weeks of reprieve, it was back to packing lunches, fretting over (not) doing home reading, trekking to school at 8am. And, of course, getting up early enough to get to school on time. As we wandered around the Superstore yesterday afternoon, I remembered about the lunch ‘thing’. And I couldn’t think of anything to pack for my boy. So I bought a bag of raisin bread.

Ta da.

Despite having his very own alarm clock, and despite having gotten up before 7.30 every day (except one) of the preceding fourteen, the Gort remained immobilized this morning. Even while the Hen and I stood by his bed and encouraged him to get out.

We drove to school, in darkness, while listening to Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘The Sound of Silence.’ At 8.06 we pulled up to the curb and made our way to the side entrance. It was a pitiful sight, really: hundreds of little kids buried in winter gear, stumbling across a field of snow…in the dark.

I bid farewell to my silent blond wonder and headed home. Where I was greeted by a 16 month old wearing a onesie. And snowboots.

And a three year old reeking of hair gel, to counteract the effects of his new Julia-Roberts-as-Peter-Pan hair cut. Courtesy of the professor and his clippers.

I was going to spend six hours alone with these characters? Oh boy.

‘I think I have SAD’ the professor announced from the comfort of his chair, while staring at the laptop screen. He rattled off a few official symptoms that coincided with his mood. SAD? Or Back to School Blues, I wondered. ‘You should get one of those lamps,’ I suggested. Even though he had no idea what I was talking about. ‘Maybe I’ll just take those Vitamin D drops you never gave Percy,’ he mused-blamed.

The Hen started whining about wanting to play a computer game. And Percy began voicing his regret over waking up at 6-something. And, within minutes – breaking the Guinness Book of World Records for fastest exit from a domestic situation – Mr. Johnson had donned his coat, hat and gloves and headed out the door.

Before I even had a chance to say ‘what time will you be home?’ Or entreat him not to go.

And so we-three began the process of re-entry into the school-day routine. I battled fatigue by making scones. Percy napped. The Hen played one game of ‘the Hulk’ and then we played Memory and Qwirkle (and, ahem, I won) And I attempted to reduce the three feet high pile of laundry in the upstairs hallway. And Percy woke up and fought with his brother about duplo blocks and the toy stroller that he insists on sitting in, while someone pushes him around the room. Like a chubby little Emperor….with a mullet.

Finally, at 2.45, we picked up the oldest member of our boy-trio and skulked home.

In addition to being pushed in a toy-stroller, the Emperor also likes to insist his older brother carry him around the house. He stands directly in front of the Gort, raises his arms up and, once his older brother clumsily raises him from the ground (no easy task when you’re lifting half your body weight) he begins the process of trying to wrap his little legs around his brother’s body for extra stability.

‘He likes me,’ the Gort sighed, in the pretend-put-out-manner of oldest siblings, while continuing to indulge his baby brother’s insistence. Percy started whining after a while, probably because he was hungry or thirsty, but the Gort didn’t see it that way. ‘He wants me,’ he insisted forlornly. As one who’d been saddled with a too-big-to-bear burden.

It is worth mentioning that, while all this was going on, the Hen was lying in the hallway. Dead-asleep. Apparently the change in routine had worn him out, too.

‘Mom, can you set the timer for five minutes?’ the Gort asked me, suddenly. ‘Why?’  ‘I just want to take a nap,’ my oldest lamented, ‘you woke me up too early today,’ he accused.

The day continued to unravel from there. I didn’t have anything planned for dinner. And the boys weren’t quite satisfied with the cheese nachos and guacamole I’d whipped together. Percy collapsed in a heap at 6.30 because he’d only had a morning nap. The ‘family’ game of Qwirkle turned into a bit of a war when the Hen ‘stole’ his brother’s would-be-lineup-of-6-tiles. And no amount of reasoning and placating could convince him the Gort it was anything other than malicious theft.

Fortunately, I won the game by a wide margin…then hid in a dark room while the professor put the boys to bed. When all seemed calm I went upstairs to say goodnight.

The Gort was in a bit of a funk, yearning for his once brother-less life. (As well as a balloon-race-car he owned…. three years ago.) ‘I wish it was just you and me and Daddy,’ he complained. ‘But if Percy wasn’t around, you wouldn’t have anyone to carry,’ I pointed out, in light of the fact that he’d just told me carrying his brother had been the fun-nest part of his day. ‘Fine’, he relented, ‘Percy can stay, but Henners can’t.’

And I pointed out that if the Hen wasn’t around, he’d have to watch Richard Scarry, alone. And he wouldn’t be able to use the vacuum attachments to have ‘sword’ fights. Certainly not with Percy, anyway.

But my oldest cherub wasn’t having it. ‘It was just a mad-sad day,’ he concluded. ‘Tell me one thing that was beautiful today,’ I insisted. And he could name nothing. ‘You had twelve….fourteen hours today,’ I disagreed, ‘you must have seen one thing that was beautiful.’

‘When we were outside at school,’ he finally spoke, ‘the sky was really blue.’

4 thoughts on “The Back to School Blues

  1. I’d say “a mad/sad day” would perfectly describe Avery as she took off for her 2nd day back. She was fine yesterday, but she was not havin’ the nuisance of school this morning!

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