Snow Day

After two weeks of Christmas vacation and some unexpected snow days, today we are finally returning to school. Conversation in my house this morning:

“I think I’m sick.”

“You’re fine.”

“My throat is really sore.”

“Uh-huh. You’re going.”

“I bet the buses still aren’t fixed.”

“They’re running. You’re going to school.”

“Water pipes have probably burst.”

“No one has called to cancel school. You’re going.”

“I just threw up on the couch.”

“You didn’t throw up.That’s just spit.You’re just- what?! Why did you spit on the couch?”

“I’m too tired!”

“Serves you right. You stayed up much later than you should.”

“What if the kids are mean?”

“They won’t be.”

“I don’t wanna gooooo! You can’t make meeee!”

“You have to go. You’re the teacher.”

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Fine. I’m here. Hope my husband is happy.

Happy “You’re Finally Back At School” Day, everyone.

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How To Take the Joy Out of Education

I am honored to be guest-posting today over on the Official How-To Blog. Come and pay me a visit. Please? It’s relatively painless. All you have to do is click here:

How To Take the Joy Out of Education

 

Thanks to everyone who is popping over there to take a read! I love you guys!

It’s Here

Another school year. And once again, I’m not ready. I love summer. I actually enjoy hanging out with my kids, and I am reluctant to turn them back over to their teachers. They’re mine! So I’m here to whine about the stuff I am missing out on.

I miss afternoons at the grocery store alone. Girl-child is now quite old enough to be responsible for her brothers while I shop. I still hated the shopping part, but without anyone to entertain, I could get it done in record time.

I miss spontaneous trips to anywhere, staying up as late as we wanted because there was nowhere we had to be the next morning.

I miss afternoons free of automated calls. I have kids in two different schools, and I hear from at least one of them a day announcing everything from a football game to a partnership with a pizza chain, along with at least once-a-week verbal diarrhea from the school supreme monarch superintendent. Seriously. The calls are several minutes long. I now hang up by 58 seconds. Because I know I’m about to receive an email with the same information, sometimes as an audio file in case I enjoy listening to someone drone on about the cost of yearbooks. Also because I can’t focus on a one-sided phone call for any longer than that without starting to ponder what I’m going to make for dinner.

I miss an inbox without school updates. You know, the same ones they just called about? One school also sends me daily updates to keep me abreast of the Bone of the Week. Yep. Five different reminders, same old femur. Last year I got automated daily reminders that my son had not turned in his homework, which would have been useful except that school had been out for a week, and the alleged homework had apparently been assigned the day after school ended.

I miss my kids bickering in the background. Because it was always followed up by spontaneous gestures of affection.

I miss the Suburban that used to nearly hit us everyday when we walked to school last year. Their child must have graduated to the middle school, as we have seen neither hide nor hair of them this year. What can I say? I’m a nostalgic sap.

How many more school days until summer?

First day of school!

 

Walkies With Phoebe

Love me

I walk my son to school. Everyday, rain or shine. Well, light rain or shine. I don’t want the kid to start the day a soaking wet mess. And everyday, we see the above fuzzy face with the sad eyes that clearly beg “Take me with you!” The weather has been so hot, though, that it hasn’t been safe to take her. All summer long, Phoebe has been on mandated slug-itude. Not much of a stretch, usually.  PBGVs are in the Basset family, after all, laziness comes rather naturally. But Phoebe is a “go-do” kind of dog and wants nothing more than to be with us. And since morning temperatures have recently dropped to the 50’s, she’s now good to go.

Walking with her family in brisk weather is Phoebe’s idea of heaven. She scampers ahead, tail tucked under like a furry rudder, then dashes back. She sniffs, she prances, she play-bows, chases squirrels. It’s a glorious thing. The entire walk to school is a joyful event. It’s hard not to laugh at her antics and join in the fun. I wish it could last forever. And so does she.

Here’s the fun. We walk to school daily. And every single day, Phoebe forgets what happens at the half-way point: she has to leave her boy. Each morning, we get to the sidewalk in front of the school, my son kneels and hugs her goodbye, and she is taken by complete and utter surprise as he merrily skips away to join his friends. “What the —” is her clear thought, as she strains at the leash, wags her tail and cocks her head in puzzled anxiety. Every day, she looks at me with the expression that says “He’s gone too far! Let me go get him so we can go home! Wait! Where is he going? Please bring him back to me!” And every day, my job is to drag her back down the sidewalk, ignoring her frantic backward glances and reminding her that we will get him in the afternoon. Phoebe has always had a special relationship with her boy, ever since the day we got her, but she is not above shopping for a new one. She takes a studious sniff at each passing child, as if to say “I came with one, I am leaving with one!” Every single day.

Usually about half-way home, Phoebe’s brain re-engages, and she becomes magically aware that food will be served upon her arrival. The spring returns to her step, and she bounces with glee. Most days.

Today was different. Today, instead of playing chicken at the crosswalk, a car actually motioned for us to cross. So we did. Out of appreciation and a bit of stupidity, we ran across the road. And all heck broke loose. Boy-child inadvertently kicked the dog in the hind leg. Son snapped at dog for nearly tripping him. Phoebe, always the drama queen,perceived the situation thus: playful romp interrupted by monster biting her leg. She yelped and bucked, dragging me the rest of the way across the road. Being yelled at by her boy just added icing to the poop sandwich. Having slipped her mind that her boy leaves her every single day in exactly the same place, Phoebe’s natural interpretation of his departure on this fair morning was that he no longer loved her. In the natural, healthy manner of a co-dependent, Phoebe became determined to make him love her again. Her attempts to drag me all the way down the sidewalk so she could demonstrate her undying devotion to her boy were creditable.

I somehow managed to encourage her back down the sidewalk and up the hill, but now her normal “leaving my boy behind forever and ever and ever” worry has expanded to include “boy no longer loves me, and monsters want to eat me.” She began trotting up the road, tail tucked, ears held so high that they met in the middle of her head, alert to any sound. Her sudden hurry had nothing to do with breakfast and everything to do with getting home and undercover before the leg-biters could finish her off. She responded to my calls and whistles with a wide-eyed stare. I attempted to get her attention again by means of an obedience lesson, but a frightened dog whose brain has taken a brief vacation is but a poor student. I settled for significantly slowing my pace to indicate that I did not share her worry. She didn’t buy that, either.

We were nearly home when it happened. I called her name, and she responded by trotting warily back to me. I took a playful swipe at her tail, and suddenly the light came. She play-bowed and scampered merrily up the road in clear anticipation of breakfast. Who knew that her brain button was in her bum? Maybe that’s why dogs are so attentive to that particular region. They’re trying to read each other’s minds.