The Back-to-School routine

Hey all-

Well, school has started again. To some, it’s a relief, to others, it’s sad to see the kids go.  I think for our family, it’s not a bad thing.  The kids especially can use the routine.  Summer is fun; the randomness, chaos, complete control over what to do and when to do it, are what makes it fun.  However, I think our family works well when our lives are ordered.  There’s a comfort in knowing what we’ll be doing every day.  I saw a picture on the web which I’ve pasted below:chaos, German style

Now, don’t be offended; I’m not.  I’m German and I totally get this picture.  It speaks to the fact that our family works best when we have a plan, when there’s something guiding us and we have goals.

One of the other adventures of the schoolyear is the morning routine, or more appropriately, the attempts of the kids to disturb that.  It seems we’re always on the verge of being late.  One time we arrived at school so unexpectedly early, I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I was sorely tempted to go drive around until we were in fact late and I was more comfortable with the situation.

It seems there’s always one last minute item that threatens to throw off the whole schedule.  Usually, of course, this item is discovered about 30 seconds before we’re supposed to be getting in the car to leave.  My favorites include:

1. Last minute re-arranging of Pokemon, from ranking them in descending order of most to least favorite, to ranking instead based on effectiveness against a certain other type.

2. Suddenly remembering to look for a toy somebody lost 2 weeks ago and hasn’t mentioned in that entire span.

3. Mismatched socks.

4. No socks.

5. Cat barfing all over the kitchen floor (or the living room, bathroom, basement, etc.)

6. Fighting over who gets to carry a particular action figure into the car.

7. Fighting over who gets to use the iPad.

8. Sudden bathroom break.

9. Completely random mental blowout over meaningless issue.

10. I forgot to make my yogurt smoothie.

There are little things that can completely affect the direction of my entire day that early in the AM.  I drop the kids off at school, then run a morning errand or two, then go home and try to balance entertaining/playing with our daughter with the desperate need to do some household chores.  In that span of time, my morning can be brightened by finding myself with any excuse to stop by the Speedway gas station and get a 44 oz soda on the way home.  Really, any reason will do.  Gas for the car, traffic detour, distracted by daydreaming, or just being within 3 miles of the station are all fine.  And the day will go just beautifully if I can hit that one particular light on the way out of school, because if that one works out, I’ll hit green lights all the way home if I can keep it at 50 mph (in a 45 mph area, don’t worry, I’m not speeding in a school zone!)

My morning can take a complete crapper, however, when I run into the inevitable road-rager.  Now, I admit that I once was more, um, aggressive, in my driving style, but having a 3 year old in the back of my van has given me reason to adjust my driving accordingly.  However, there are plenty of people out there with no such issues.  In fact, I feel that after a few years of this, I can successfully make the following broad generalization.  The worst offenders are middle aged men, driving a midsize or smaller car, by themselves, between 8-10 am.  This doesn’t ever happen in summer, but it’s those early morning errands that place me smack dab within the tournament of jackassery that these people are apparently competing in.  Perhaps these tools figure it’s no sweat blasting out of a parking lot and damn near running the minivan off the road, but it happens once a week, I swear.  I am very seriously considering investing in a dash cam, because I shouldn’t have to worry about people putting me and my daughter into a wreck like that.

Either way, I’m here now, planning the rest of my morning as I hungrily devour my 44 oz Diet Caffeine Free Coke/ Cherry Pepsi combo.  There’s mulching, a load of laundry, maybe a little sweeping, and half an episode of Top Gear during lunch all to look forward to.  Bring on the weekend!

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