September 08, 2005

First Day of School: Cat Pee and Phone Calls

Yesterday was the first day of the new school year for all the kids in the household. We'd spent some time getting ready for this important day: buying school supplies, getting haircuts for the two boys who are willing to get haircuts, figuring out schedules for various music lessons, carefully orchestrating an after school plan that involves With-a-Why and a neighbor girl, and coming up with new household rules about bedtimes and such. Things seemed more chaotic than usual because the most efficient and organized person in the household, my Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter, had already gone back to college.

Everyone started the year tired and cranky because all three boys spent a couple late nights doing the homework they had had all summer to do. "It's a tradition not to start the summer homework until Labor Day," Boy in Black explained. And Shaggy Hair Boy missed the high school orientation he was supposed to go to. Skater Boy, PrettySingingCrushGirl, and Blonde Niece somehow all knew about it and attended, but he found out after the fact. Boy in Black assured me that he would give his brother the necessary tour of the high school.

The new bedtimes did not work out so great because none of my boys were tired. We have had such a hot humid summer that they've become nocturnal. After a summer of staying up late most nights to play poker or monster, no one was able to fall asleep at a decent hour, and the alarm clock was not a welcome sound.

Spouse, who is in charge of the morning routine, managed to get all the inert bodies moving and feed everyone breakfast. Shaggy Hair Boy was just about to head out the door with his backpack, carefully filled with new school supplies, when he noticed that one of our aging cats had peed on the backpack. Yes, that is what every fourteen-year-old boy wants to bring to school on the first day: a backpack that reeks of cat urine. Shaggy Hair's response was to scream in disgust, toss the backpack into the backyard, and head to school empty-handed.

It turns out that the elementary school that With-a-Why goes to did not have a full day yesterday, as we had thought. Instead, school was dismissed at 10:30 am. The new principal, who is apparently crazy, thought this would be a good idea. Apparently something had come home in the mail announcing this, but mail gets lost easily in our busy household. I was in class when With-a-Why called but luckily he was able to reach my husband, who picked him up and dropped him off at his grandmother's house, where he spent the day beating his grandparents at Scrabble.

When we gathered for supper at the end of the day, everyone seemed satisfied with how the day had gone. Shaggy Hair Boy is in several classes with PrettySingingCrushGirl. Boy in Black will get to take both Physics and Calculus this year, two classes he will love. And With-a-Why had an unexpected treat: instead of school, a fun day with his grandparents.

The only thing that wasn't perfect is that we all missed Daughter. She wasn't here to make lists of all the school supplies we need and to organize the necessary trip to the store. She wasn't here to tell funny stories of schedule changes or fill us in on which kids were in her classes. Mostly, we missed her personality, all that positive energy that rubs off on all of us. So we had to settle for phone calls to her cell phone instead.

16 comments:

ccw said...

I am LMAO about the cat. That is certainly something that would happen in our household.

It sounds like the day went pretty well, despite the bumps along the way.

~profgrrrrl~ said...

What a wonderful image of home life. The bit about your daughter made me think of my first years away from home, and I'd call to see how the little ones did on their first day of school. I was so aware I was missing it, but it didn't occur to me that maybe they were missing me, too.

Sorry 'bout the cat pee. Hope the school supplies inside were OK still.

halloweenlover said...

That makes me a little sad about your daughter being away! Is she enjoying herself, though?

And the cat pee made me chuckle. All teenage boys seem to be the same, all the ones I know would also throw their backpacks on the lawn and leave without them.

Yankee T said...

This is a great glimpse into your world. I know you miss your daughter. I'm going to FREAK when OD leaves.

Rana said...

Chaos!

Also laughing about the cat pee. That stuff is toxic!

Songbird said...

We've got one of those cats. Dammit.

Running2Ks said...

What, he doesn't like the aroma of the cat matter? LOL!

I'm sorry you miss your very organized daughter.

What's the deal with summer homework?

jo(e) said...

Summer homework? In this school district, my kids always get summer homework. Usually it means choosing four or five books from a list, reading the books, and keeping a reading journal. Sometimes they have to read a history book too, or do math sheets.

Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

I take it the date to the lake with PrettySingingCrushGirl that you blogged earlier went well.

Pink Cupcake said...

I'm glad it's school time again as I love this type of post, Jo(e). I'm an only child and always wanted a larger family, so I love reading about everyday things.
So sorry you are missing your daughter - I hope she's having an amazing experience. And, I hope Shaggy Hair Boy has recovered from his cat pee trauma. LOL. :)

jo(e) said...

Rob: Yeah, Shaggy Hair Boy and Pretty SingingCrushGirl did spend a lot of time together this summer. She has two younger sisters, and the whole family just seems to adore Shaggy Hair. When I go to pick him up at her house, all three girls are usually just sitting around him, giggling and talking.

Her parents are very protective so technically they are not "dating" because she is not allowed to date. They just happen to spend an awful lot of time together and on the telephone ....

Manorama said...

This reminds me of when my older brother first left for college. It was hard on all of us, and you're right, it's not just a few things you can pin down--it's the personality that is so missed. Eventually we settled into a routine where the phone calls became a comfortable part of having him "there." In time I hope you and yours settle into a happy adjustment, as well.

Songbird said...

We miss our college boy a lot. Today #2 Son got his retainers. He came out feeling miserable and talking funny. Nothing I said could make him feel better, but after a call to #1 Son, well...

Lisa V said...

See this is why it's good to work at the school your kids attend. You know (most of the time) what is going on. Then you can mock parents like you who don't. However I am very mockable at Scruffy's preschool. "What, he needed a sack lunch today for a field trip? What trip? What permission slip?"

Our cats have peed on so much stuff. They are disgusting creatures. Too bad we love them.

We have summer homework. Thank god they don't check it. We always do well for a week and then I lose it.

Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

Her parents are very protective so technically they are not "dating" because she is not allowed to date. They just happen to spend an awful lot of time together and on the telephone

I support this kind of proto-dating: I think it will bring the kids more relationship and emotional intelligence. (Not that your children are going to be lacking in that.)

I spent a huge chunk of my childhood in an all-boy private school, and the damage it caused to my ability to relate to women took a long time to heal, if it has really healed at all.

jo(e) said...

Rob: I can't imagine that an all-boys school is a very healthy environment.

Shaggy Hair Boy has always been very close to his cousin, Blonde Niece. They are only a couple weeks apart and have been inseparable since they were tiny. So I don't think he has any of the usually adolescent anxiety about talking to girls ....