How You Change when Your Kids Start School.

The first day V went to school was such a roller coaster of mixed emotions for me that I still remember it too clearly almost 5 years later. It was only preschool but he suddenly looked so much older than his 3 years.. He cried and cried and so did I. I took him back home with me in an hour. I reckon it did get better over the years for both of us because now there are no tears when saying good bye. A sigh of relief from both ends, yeah that’s more like it. He and his brother love school and I love my few hours of coherent thinking before falling into an everyday abyss of insanity that starts at pick up.

Sometimes when I think back to that time of having young babies/kids at home, the isolation of new motherhood in a new city (we moved both times the kids were within weeks of being born), the incessant pace of daily life without a break for food, shower, pee, all I remember is that then my kids defined me and I, them.

It’s a whole different set of rules that I have to learn now, and more keep getting added every day. You know your kid is in school when:

  • You jerk awake at 5am wondering if he finished his homework last night. Sometimes, you have the irrevocable urge to tiptoe downstairs to check his folder to confirm. If he has done it, you go back to bed relieved but can’t sleep. If he hasn’t you lie awake in bed waiting for a reasonable time to wake HIM up so he can finish it.
  • Your general knowledge diversifies without particular focus. So, for example, you now know that Coelophysis was the smallest dinosaur that ever lived, that a boy could become a page in the royal service at age 7 in the middle ages, that there is a bat so giant that its wingspan reaches 60 feet (ick!). If nothing else, you can assuredly hold your own at the next geek convention in your city.
  • You feel compelled to explain to random people that you did NOT teach him that word, and that you’re as appalled as they seem to be that it even exists in his vocabulary. I have had this experience personally with a certain 4-lettered and another 6-lettered word that may or may not have sexual and racist connotations. Well, not connotations so much as direct meaning. Anyhow. Even though these strangers have zero interest in your situation and do not have to have any awkward conversations with said kid, you still worry about what they think.
  • You become a certified sadist without reaping any of the supposed benefits of a BDSM lifestyle. You break your back finishing up their term projects due tomorrow long after they’ve passed out on the couch; you lose your eyesight researching the perfect backpack with enough pockets that’s not too bulky, cute but not cutesy, whose colors will complement your kid’s personality, only to have it kicked around caked in mud 2 weeks into the school year; you contract carpal tunnel from decorating a hundred cookies for their bake sale. And then you do it all again the next year.
  • You pay 50 dollars for a class picture in which your kid is pulling at his crotch. (Tip: You can see a live stream of this at home any time you wish. For free.)
  • You no longer have to mommy-date. No matter how shy you are, you will end up making friends with other women who’re like you.
  • You finally understand the psyche of those women you met pre school who used to gripe about the approaching summer holidays. You understand that they don’t like their kids any less, they’ve only gotten used to breathing uninterrupted. And I don’t judge them any more.

Heck, I don’t judge anyone anymore. I’m a mom of a school-age kid. I renounced my right to righteousness a few years ago.

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