The official back-to-school countdown has begun at our house! School starts on August 22. We have our 8 dozen pencils (yes-4 dozen each), we have our Washable Markers, our colored pencils, our 24packs of crayons. Our Clorox wipes, tissues, our three primary color folders (no pictures, please) and, new this year - a steno pad for B. He's in 3rd grade, now, so they need those sophisticated things!
Last weekend, we did our shoe shopping. We walked into Famous Footwear; it was packed. Every other family in the Metro had the same idea. Walking back to the kids' section, I spy a pair of insanely multicolored tennies for girls. I say to my daughter - "Geez, those shoes would give me a headache!" BUT they have a little kitty charm hanging from the laces. She tries on a few pairs and, along with the other 100 kids in the store, zooms around the room (has to make sure they make her run fast) and guess which ones we ultimately buy?! YES - headache-causing, kitty charm shoes. She was ecstatic. Hopping around with a huge grin, like she'd won the lottery!
Steve helped B get set. From the short time it took, I'm guessing it was not nearly as eventful or entertaining as my experience. But B was equally happy and excited about his shoes. They both wanted to put them on RIGHT NOW. But me, being my mother's child, made them wait. We had to price shop - go to Kohls and see if we could get them cheaper. Shoes, by the way, are REALLY expensive! So, after an agonizing, gut-wrenching 1/2hour, the kids got to put their new shoes (and socks!) on. They have worn those tennis shoes every day since!
Also in our Back-to-School routine, I have started making the kids go to bed at their 'regular' time. H is supposed to be in bed by 8:30; B by 9; he is very proud of his extra half-hour. So far, it isn't working out too well! H goes to bed alright at 8:30, but the last two days I've left for work around 8:15 and she's still sawing logs. That kid is pure energy - like a jumping bean on overdrive. She needs her sleep. So I think tonight we'll have to put her to bed at 8. I can already hear the rebellion... "It's not even dark out!" "B gets to stay up late!" "It's not FAIR!"
Every once in a while, I worry - are we good parents? Am I a good mom? Is 8:00 pm. the "right" bedtime? When B was a baby, Steve and I would be mortified when he would start crying at a restaurant, or throw a tantrum in the store. "What must the people around us be thinking?" "We're ruining their evening!" Surely, no other child throws their toys around the room and refuses to pick them up? No other child says he's brushing his teeth when he isn't; says he didn't do something when he did; bugs his sister just to hear her yell... it's endless. And maddening, and sometimes humorous - the laugh out loud kind. The more we are out in the community, with Cub Scouts, soccer, Brownies, buying school shoes... the more I see that kids are kids. They ALL do the same annoying things with their siblings and their parents. They all push the boundaries, and love to yell, and run where there's no room.
The good news (and the important thing) is that my children are nice to OTHERS; they are generous and giving with their friends, they are courteous and kind with kids they don't know. They listen to adults (adults does NOT mean Mom or Dad, just so you know) with respect and generally follow the rules. H becomes indignant for other people she sees as having been mistreated and they both care for animals.
When I leave for work, they want a hug. When I get home from work, they run to see me. When I answer "No" to "do you have to go to work today?" they beam. So, I've decided that, whether society thinks I am, or whether I even think I am, the important thing - the MOST important thing- is that THEY think I am. I am a good Mom. And so are YOU!