Please note that this blonde, Jen Tucker, recognizes that her issues can cross hair color borders.
She welcomes all people, with open arms, that have ever suffered from blonde moments,
blonde jokes, or ate a Blondie brownie, regardless of the color at their roots.
Can you hear it in the distance? School bells are clanging around the globe signaling summer is over and school time is in session. For some parents, this looming date brings about fears of days away from home for their newly minted kindergarteners. For other moms and dads, they’ve have had a countdown clock running; marking the days left until everyone gets out from under foot. I lie somewhere in the middle. I am not ready for summer to end, especially when I lament the things we didn’t check off our fun summer to-do list. Yet, when I look at my children, and their behavior, during their last week and a half of summer vacation, I can tell they have had enough togetherness and want to vacate the premises; and each other’s presence.
How do we survive these final days of summer? Aren’t you looking forward to the impending doom of dragging sleepyheads out of bed on the first day of school? Gosh, me too! I am happy to share ideas with you straight from The House of Tucker. Some Jen approved, and also some I’ve placed in my own parental epic fail category. We learn what works for our families, and what bombed so badly we’d like to sweep it under the rug, don’t we?
No sleep ‘til Brooklyn! Let’s stay up really late every night, eating junk food and watching zombie movies, sleep in as late as possible (noon sounds good to me), and then wakeup with smiles and cheer to head back to class on the first day! Yeah, that sunrise cheer thing is non-existent with my teenagers too. Three to four days before the first day of school, I begin waking my children up in the mornings; 30 minutes earlier each time. Bedtime comes promptly as well. Easing my children into an early to bed, early to rise routine a few days before we set 6:00am alarms on weekdays helps tremendously.
The Endless List: I buy school supplies for children in high school, middle school and elementary school. That’s a lot of mechanical pencils! In previous years, I had pangs of panic, and felt over my head in the endless list of stuff. I’m overwhelmed just trying to find low odor, dry erase markers, for crying out loud! I’ve tried different techniques, such as handing my sons their lists and turning them loose to successfully search and seize their items. I’ve combined the lists before shopping to see exactly how many identical items need to be purchased in an attempt to split packages of goodies between them when possible. We have a new system this year, and I’m interested to see how it works.
Gracie’s elementary school offers Back to School kits for preorder in the final days of the school year. I studied the cost, and it will actually save us money in the long run, plus financially helps her school’s PTA. It also saves me time, in that I do not need to head out on a yellow folder shakedown all over the city. It is done for me. That sounds like a win-win to me!
If I could just get you to stop growing! Sometimes I say that under my breath to my children, especially when out of nowhere, zero of their shoes or clothes fit. And it cannot be just one outgrowing them at a time. Oh no… It’s The Three Musketeers! All for one, and one for all fit into not a single shred of footwear or apparel. Without a doubt, I am thankful they are healthy and growing like weeds. It is my wallet that cringes. I made the mistake last week of buying Ryan a ton of new T-shirts. Why was it a faux pas? I didn’t clean out his dresser first to see what still fit, and what did not. Does any kid really need five, navy blue, short sleeved T-shirts? Nope! Take inventory of needs first, and then hit the sales for new duds. Over spending is so easy this time of year, and hard on budgets.
It’s just emotion that’s taking me over. On Wil’s first day of kindergarten, I refused to leave the house. He was my first baby to leave the nest, and I chose to stay near the phone in case he needed me. It would have been much more beneficial for me to make a “Mom Date.” To plan lunch with a girlfriend, run errands, do something other than fret about what I could not control in the first place. The pain of watching your oldest leave on the bus for the first time hurts; I totally understand. If you are worried and upset, that will only cause fear and angst in your child. Talk with someone you trust about how you feel; confide in them. You will feel so much better.
Just do it! My kids have countdowns for different reasons in regards to August 14, the start of their academic calendar year. Wil knows after that date, he has two more first days of school in his future until he graduates high school. Ryan knows that’s nine days away from his first football game; proudly wearing his school’s colors. Gracie has two outlooks. First, she cannot wait to be a first grader and see which friends might be sitting near her desk. August 14 is also her birthday. She has demanded the day off, concerned her teacher will not make enough of a fuss over her on the first day back to class. Gosh, she’s so much like her mother ....
I want to stop counting down the days, and enjoy the time we have left together. Lunchbox stuffings will be bought, pencils will be sharpened; they always are. Take a day to be silly and do something fun with your children. Walk the trails and take photos of them at your local park. Go get ice cream for no reason on a Thursday at 11:30 in the morning. Play nail shop at home with your daughters, and let them sloppily give you a mani/pedi. Those are memories waiting to be made!
Jen Tucker has never met a gluten free cupcake that she didn’t like. A former teacher and educator, she worked with children in school, hospital, and enrichment settings for many years. In her years at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, it was Jen’s job to bring the “hands on fun” into the visiting exhibitions in the galleries. Jen broke away from writing children’s books and thematic units in 2011 with her memoir, “The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out” which was a semifinalist in the humor category in the 2011 Goodreads Book Awards. Jen’s newest tale, “The Day I Lost my Shaker of Salt” will be released in 2012. You can find Jen on Facebook, on her Author Page, Twitter, Pinterest and at her website Princess with a Pen.