We were all ready to go. We had our five outfits picked out for the week–sure, Labor Day was Monday so there were only four days, but you never know when you’ll need an extra outfit. The boy doesn’t suffer change well–most weeks we need five outfits, so we started by preparing things in groups of five right away.
We picked out four pencils and sharpened them. Two were yellow, one said “You’re cool,” and the last one was red–his favorite color–and had his name. The principal sent a supply list at the end of kindergarten, requesting two glue sticks, two pencils a month, crayons for September and the middle of the year, and a few other first-grade weapons of mass destruction.
“Pick an eraser, buddy.” It was the last thing to be packed into the red pencil case. There was an old-school pink trapezoid eraser and several Cat in the Hat fancy ones that didn’t look like they’d erase very well.
“Can I have two?”
“Sure, you planning on making a lot of mistakes?” The question went unanswered.
“How bout three?” That’s the way he negotiates. He’s pretty good.
“Okay, three. No more! You have to carry all this stuff.”
“Mommy, I need a new lunch box,” he said.
“You don’t. It’s fine.” I’m not the kind of mom who buys crap because it’s September. I buy things when they are needed. Or more embarrassing yet for his impending little future–I make them. Who doesn’t want recyclable wraps for their sandwiches?
“LOOK!” There was, indeed, the tiniest point where the ribbing had separated from the corner. “I need a PackIt. Regular lunches only keep your lunch cold for two hours. The PackIt keeps it cold for ten hours. That’s five times longer than a regular lunch box. By lunchtime my milk could spoil! That’s not healthy. I need that.” I have given birth to an infomercial.
“This will be fine for tomorrow.”
Except that there is no school “tomorrow.” The phone rang. Robo call. “Hello, this is the principal calling to tell you how excited we are to see your first grader on Wednesday.” The message was to indicate that the regular teacher was ill and there would be a substitute on the first day. That was a kind message. But Wednesday? School starts after Labor Day. “After Labor Day” is Tuesday.
I’m a bad mom. I never even checked. Nor did my husband. This is his home town, for God’s sake. I thought he inherently knew. I called Declan’s friend’s mom. The phone–it’s a real phone–was busy.
I remembered my friend, Google. “School’s Wednesday, dummy.” Thanks Google.
Wednesday. Now, what to tell The Boy. At least we were tipped off so he wasn’t standing out there in the rain with his little pencil case waiting for the bus that never came. That’s what happened last year at the old school when the kindergarten bus forgot him and the lady at the front desk of the school was really mean.
“Hey, GREAT NEWS!” The “great news” approach never fails. “Turns out you have an extra day of summer tomorrow. School starts Wednesday.”
“Yooo HOOOOOOO!” he said. “I can play dinosaurs and watch Netflix.” Yesirree, you can. That’ll help you start the school year off right.
But in the mean time, I need to pay more attention. There are going to be a lot of forms, fliers, and signup dates flooding my life. On paper. I’m going to have to scan them and set alarms to avoid missing all the good stuff.
At least this year I won’t get yelled at by the school for packing a chocolate chip cookie. I really like this school. I think he’s going to have a good first grade, even if it’s one day late.
[images: Declan's closet (the horror!), PackIt.com, and d118.org]