Friday, May 27, 2011

Let's compare

First day of school: August 10, 2010, Zach first grade; Adam second grade.
Last day of school: May 26, 2011.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

First Grade Lunch

I had lunch with 100 first graders last week. This is not for those who eat quietly, neatly and relish a long, leisurely lunch.

It starts with the lunch line up. I arrive at the designated time to meet Zach. He bolts out of line and gives me a hug. The children are lined up in number order (he is #4).

Here is a picture of them.
Oh wait, that is a picture of Scott graduating from the Air Force Academy. We could only dream that an elementary classroom could be so orderly.

Seven year boys and girls cannot quietly walk in a single file line. It is physically and mentally impossible. They must giggle, snort, talk, burp, screech, laugh and jump, skip, hop, twirl, walk like robots, walk backwards, walk sideways, slide, or drag their leg to the lunch room.

Zach does hold my hand in line.

Once inside the rules are posted and obvious:
1. Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
2. Walk.
3. Quiet voices.
4. Don't play with your food.

The lunch room monitors move about the room, keeping order and calmly saying, "you need to be eating." This is not a job I ever want to have. These people must live on liquid patience.

There is a stoplight at the front of the room. Red means only eating, no talking allowed. Yellow means "restaurant voice." I'm not sure there is ever a need for the light to be green. I think that would result in bedlam (n. A scene of wild uproar and confusion).

At one point the light was on red for two minutes. "Children, this is a time for you to be filling up your bellies and not talking," says the assistant principal.

Zach sits next to his best friend. Somehow he managed to eat a few bites of a "hot sandwich" (sloppy joes), corn, and banana muffin. He did eat all of his grapes, after spearing about five of them on his fork, showing them to his friends while they all laughed wildly and then eating them one by one.
I was able to finish my sandwich, pretzels, applesauce and cheese stick (I brought my lunch after enduring "cheeseburger mac" last time). It's amazing how much you can eat when you don't talk.

I was sitting in the middle of a row of boys. There was lots of activity and some inappropriate conversation. Across the table, the girls were eating quietly, using "restaurant" voices. Can I sit with them next time?

Twenty minutes later, trash is thrown away and we line up for recess. Indoor recess. Uh-oh, better make my escape now. A quick hug and "see you after school" and I'm back to the real world which seems a lot quieter, orderly and much cleaner than I remember.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Take a chill pill...

Scott told me to take a chill pill today. I live in a household full of testosterone, dirty fingernails, constant sounds of explosions, machine guns and cartoon characters, and an aversion to matching clothes. I have a right to be annoyed sometimes, right? It wasn't one big thing that caused me to throw my hands up in exasperation, just a series of minor incidents that added up to the straw that broke the camel's back.

1. I was in the bathroom. With the door shut. Nearly naked. The boys burst in. I have told them 1,278 times to KNOCK if the door is closed. Adam said that Zach pushed him. We all know that if you push on a closed door it does not open. One must actually turn the knob to open the door. A little privacy please?

2. We were going swimming at the indoor pool at the Y. "I can't find my swimsuit," the boys say. Scott found Zach's swimsuit (which I'm pretty sure was in his dresser drawer.) Adam's swimsuit was in plain sight on top of his dresser. "How am I supposed to know you bought me a new swimsuit?" he asks. "Um, because you were there when we picked it out, tried it on and bought it at Target?" Sheesh.

3. I went into the boys bathroom and yes, once again, the inability to flush.

4. Scott looks in the refrigerator. "Where is the _______ ?" OK, this did not happen today, but it did happen yesterday and is relevant. It is the main reason I say daily "Use your eyes." I am convinced that in addition to selective hearing, men also have selective seeing. Or women have magic eyes, I'm not sure which. You might have to MOVE something to find what you are looking for.

4. Once we locate swimsuits and towels, we must put our socks and shoes on. "Mom, where are my socks?" one asks. I sigh. "Let's think. Where might you find socks? Where have your socks been kept the last seven years of your life?"

That's when Scott told me to take a chill pill.

Are moms expected to never get annoyed, answer endless questions like "would you rather have spiders in your hair or be sick the rest of your life?", endure constant inappropriate bodily function noises that you make on your arm, and find library books, shoes, jackets, socks, shin guards, etc., all the while smiling like this is our favorite thing to do?

Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade my boys for anything (all three of them). And sometimes a little chill pill, or a glass of wine is just what the doctor ordered. Don't you think?