The first day back to school was somewhat unremarkable for the manner in which it went according to plan. The boys had set out their outfits three days in advance. They woke up early, excited for the day they’d been anticipating all summer. I’d baked muffins for their snack and made cold sesame noodles for the Gort’s lunch and we arrived at school on time and took pictures and nobody cried.
Later, there was a trip to the library for the younger boys and a celebratory trip to Starbucks once the Gort got home and an early, back-to-school taco dinner. We even squeezed in a post-dinner art session. Something we hadn’t done in weeks. Months.
The second day, however, was decidedly less smooth. Due to staggered Kindergarten entry, the Hen stayed home. And the Gort woke up to a world in which nothing was right.
The house was a disaster, with dirty clothes strewn everywhere and Percy’s bucket of one hundred Hotwheels cars covering the living room floor. The dining table was stained with paint from the previous night. And the kitchen counter was invisible. courtesy of dishes and zucchini and who knows what else. And, instead of addressing these minor catastrophes, I decided to spend three hours reading a book. Because I keep checking out these books from the library. And pile them on my nightstand – just so – and don’t actually read any of them.
Instead, I spend most of my existence making, serving and thinking about food. Because children need to eat. Often. And I, seemingly, consider it a personal badge of honor to toil in the kitchen for hours whilst dirtying as many dishes as possible. To produce food no one (save moi et le professeur) will eat without being
So I abdicated culinary responsibility and sat on the couch reading a book and called Panago for a pepperoni pizza.
After my reading marathon, I felt somewhat rejuvenated, ready to tend to the crumbling infrastructure before me. I reached out to my disgruntled older son who, despite his grumpy exterior, just seemed to want parental attention.
Because I am a ridiculous person, I began singing; making up songs about things I thought would interest him. Singing about how hard it is to be eight and whatnot; certain that – on some level – I was peering into the depths of his little lost soul.
‘This is going well,’ I thought to myself. Judging from the expression on his face, he also felt that I was peering into his soul. Understanding him. And then he gave me a hug and it felt like a Lifetime television movie where the parent and the child reach this great moment of understanding and bonding.
‘Please. Stop. Singing,’ he uttered in a slightly pained but otherwise deadpan voice. Whilst hugging me.
Apparently the understanding and bonding had been rather…..one-sided.
Just before bedtime, I sat down with the Gort to show him how to tie his shoes. It has been a classic Gortsaga; the professor having tried to impart shoe-tying knowledge on several previous occasions. We’d even tried to get other people to teach the kid how to tie shoes. I’d even tried to bribe him during back-to-school shopping, when he was eyeing a pair of rather expensive shoes.
‘If you learn how to tie your shoes, I will buy you that pair of shoes.’
Instead, he opted to get a pair of grandfatherly black sneakers at Payless. With Velcro.
But, on September 5, after wearing rainboots to school for two days in a row to avoid the whole shoe conundrum, he decided he wanted to learn how to tie his shoes.
So I sat down beside him; his feet ensconced in blue Converse-esque [untied] sneakers; and mine nestled in a pair of ecru colored [untied] shoes. ‘I should have consulted youtube’, I panicked prior to the demonstration, followed by ‘I hope I remember how to tie my shoes.’
And then we broke the operation down into steps and I demonstrated the step on my shoe while he replicated it with his own shoe and, mere minutes later, the kid could tie his shoes.
I may have screamed from excitement.
So, yes, I sat on the couch for 3 hours and served pizza from a cardboard box for dinner. But, I cut one boy’s hair, and taught him how to tie his shoes. And had all three in bed with lights out before 8pm.
Yes, I’m ridiculous. And I fully expect the beet hummus to be returned to me…uneaten.