A Change in the Weather

What is your favorite time of year, and what makes it so?

In our house, Fall is right up there.¬† We made a list of our favorite things (kinda of like Oprah’s Favorite Things list, but made up of things you just can’t buy). ūüôā

There are the normal things we look forward to every year:

  • Apple cider
  • The return of college football and going to Red Mill (Red Mill is a burger¬†place that is open all year round. For whatever reason the return of college football reminds us it’s time to go back to Red Mill)
  • The leaves changing color, and
  • Going to the pumpkin patch (we’ll do that here in a few weeks)

And there are those things that are temporary, having to do more with my children’s ages and interests than anything else:

  • Watching my oldest son practicing soccer past sunset with his team
  • Spending more time with other moms during practice¬†— we’ve found the kids don’t seem to miss us if we slip away for a hot beverage or quick meal and get back by the time it’s over
  • Watching and cheering my son and his teammates on at the game (it’s nerve racking for me)
  • Spending time on the playground with my younger son¬†while older brother plays in a game (I’m much calmer here)
  • Decorating a gingerbread Haunted House (again, we’ll do that here in a few weeks…and as much as I’d like to think this will be a long-term tradition, I fear it will only last as long as the boys are interested in doing it).

Time continues to pass. The boys are getting older. We reached a new milestone this season. Our membership expired at the zoo. We’ve had a membership there since the kids were babies. They no longer seem interested in seeing the animals. Other parents warned us this was coming, but it feels a little like a change in the weather…nothing ever really stays the same, and that’s okay.¬†The constant traditions of Fall I look forward to, they will always¬†be there. The ones that are yet-to-be excite me. What¬†activities or temporary traditions will the new seasons bring for my family?¬†We’ll just have to wait and see.

What are your favorite Fall traditions?

Back to School Jitters — Parent Edition

When your child started back to school did you feel nervous?

Feeling nervous as a parent was a surprise to me, yet I’ve experienced it every new school year. When my oldest son started kindergarten I was nervous but thought it was natural because he was moving from pre-school to elementary, he’d be with new people, have more structure and more expectations put upon him. I worried if he’d fit in and make friends, and be safe, and like his teacher…you get the picture. I was caught off guard when I was nervous when he entered first grade the following year. He knew the school and most of his classmates. He did have a new teacher, but the school is small and most of the kids (and parents) know the faculty. The¬†pattern has repeated over the years. Each new school year creates a bit of anxiety and nerves for me, the parent, on the first day.¬†What is going on? Why am I still nervous?¬†Parents aren’t supposed to get nervous, right?¬†I thought. Clearly I was wrong.

Upon reflection, I realized there were several reasons why a parent may be nervous:

  • You care about your child and worry about them making (or keeping) friends and fitting in
  • You worry about them having a positive learning environment
  • You care about how your child does in school, and how you as the parent, are helping your child be successful–trying to figure out how to accomplish this (helping with homework, etc.) and keeping up with all your other responsibilities would make anyone nervous (e.g. how am I going to do this (again)?)
  • You care about your own friendships–do you mesh with your child’s classmates parents? It seems so trivial, but feeling like you are part of a school community not only forces your child to make friends, but forces the parents to also. It takes effort and precious time. Will other parents like me?¬†How will¬†I fit in?
  • You relive your own childhood through your child(ren) in many ways. A new school year, at least for me, takes me back to the fear I used to have when I was growing up–would people like me, was my teacher going to be nice, did anyone notice the effort I put into my new outfit? ūüôā

We grow up with our kids. We learn patience and better appreciate what matters in life. I dropped my sons off at school, and marveled at how well they handled it, how well I handled it. The nerves slipped away quickly, but I know they’ll be back next year.

How do you experience the new school year with your child? If you have any tips for how to calm your child’s nerve, please share.

Back to School Shopping

Is going back to school the most wonderful time of the year as the commercial suggests?

My husband and I had every intention of doing our back to school shopping for our kids early. We let the kids pick out their backpack, lunch box and water bottle, and we get the rest of the school supplies asked for by the school. ¬†When did it change from bringing your own supplies to bringing supplies for the class? ¬†There is a simplicity to it that I miss¬†from¬†my youth, when you got a pencil box (with some ‘cool’ design’) that contained pencils, a ruler and other school supplies (erasers, glue, etc.). We didn’t bring in things we’re asked to bring in now: reams of printer paper, dry erase pens for the board, and glue sticks and folders by the dozen. I understand due to funding issues, parents bringing supplies is helpful, and I’m happy to contribute…I just wish there were an easier way.

Despite our hope of getting¬†school supplies early, we didn’t make it to the local Target until a few days before school started. The scene when we arrived at the store¬†reminded me of arriving at Target on Black Friday¬†after everything had been picked over. There were several other parents, much like us, buzzing around the endless bins trying to find the allusive #2 pencils (is it possible for a store to be out of #2 pencils?), composition notebooks and several other items that seemed to be out-of-stock. It was like we were all on a treasure hunt, hoping the missing supplies would somehow materialize.

A couple of us were reading our lists out loud (Now, where could erase tops be? Have you seen any folders that have pockets by no fasteners?). When we heard each other, we all couldn’t help but chuckle. It all seemed so ridiculous. “Can’t we just give the school a check to get school supplies?” one person asked. “Or how about all the parents pool their money and someone go to Costco so we can buy in bulk?” another suggested. All good ideas, I thought. Most years most of the school¬†supplies ends up making it to the teacher for the class’s use, but it never fails that some¬†remains hidden deep inside my sons backpacks, only to be found at the end of the school year (so many glue sticks, and what are these expensive dry erase markers still doing in here??? Ugh!).

I find the whole¬†experience leaves me feeling exhausted instead of energized for the new school year, but alas, it is what it is. ¬†Next on the list, getting my sons new shoes…wish me luck (I’ve heard the shoe section looks like a tornado hit it. Yikes!).

How do you survive the trials and tribulations of getting your child ready for school?