Friday, August 16, 2019

Back To School: Day 1 (A Running Diary)

Ah, the first day of school! It's one of the most anticipated and dreaded days of the year. And, it's just around the corner. To commemorate the day, I thought I'd take a look at how things went when I wrote a running diary of the first day of school two years ago. Things haven't changed much.

But first, the players, as they were two years ago:
     Thing 1:  9 year-old daughter (entering 4th grade)
     Thing 2:  7 year-old son (entering 2nd grade)
     Thing 3:  Two and a half year-old daughter
     Thing 4:  One year-old son
     The Wife:  Junior High math teacher crazy enough to marry me
     Me:  Stay-at-home dad and writer

Here we go:

5:30 AM--The Wife's alarm goes off. She hits the snooze button. I think about getting up to exercise.
5:40 AM--The Wife's alarm goes off again. She hits the snooze button again. I don't think about getting up to exercise.
5:50 AM--The Wife's alarm goes off again. I actually get out of bed and go to the bathroom.
5:55 AM--The Wife takes a shower.
6:00 AM--I feel guilty for not exercising. Grab the laptop and attempt to write. (Surf Facebook instead.)
6:13 AM--The Wife gets out of the shower. She sees me and says, "Oh, I thought you were exercising." I feel even more guilty.
6:15 AM--I take a shower.
6:33 AM--Attempt to write. (Stare off into space.)
6:45 AM--Wake up Thing 1 and Thing 2. I have the following exchange with Thing 1:
     Thing 1: "I was having a hilarious dream, but I'm glad you woke me up!"
     Me: "A hilarious dream?"
     Thing 1: "The octopus was eating pizza! But I'm glad you woke me up because it's the first day of school!"
6:46 AM--Thing 2 wakes up and has a bloody nose.
6:48 AM--Thing 1 informs me that in her hilarious dream there was calamari on the pizza the octopus was eating.
6:50 AM--Thing 1 and Thing 2 get dressed in their brand new* school clothes. [*NOTE: Last night The Wife picked out all of their clothes for the first week of school. Prior to that she made sure they had new clothes for school. Because she cares. (Had it been left to me they might have worn "gasp!" clothes from last year.)]
6:56 AM--Thing 1 doesn't want breakfast if it might be messy.
7:01 AM--Notice that Thing 2 has all brand new clothes except for ill-fitting socks he has worn for at least three years because he really wants to wear Captain America socks.
7:12 AM--The bus arrives...for the high school and junior high kids. Thing 2 worries that he missed his bus. I explain to him that this was not his bus. (I'll have this same conversation with him 46 more times over the course of the school year.)
7:15 AM--Auntie K arrives to do "First Day of School" hair. (She's slightly better at doing hair than Daddy.)
7:34 AM--Hair is done.
7:35 AM--Time for the "First Day of School" photo shoot.
7:39 AM--Realize it is very difficult to get two children to pose together without one of them fake-smiling so hard that they look like a psycho.
7:46 AM--Her work finished, Auntie K goes home. (She's incredible! She's like Mary Poppins without the flying umbrella.)
7:48 AM--Load their lunches* into their backpacks. [*NOTE: Last night The Wife packed their lunches. Because she is amazing.]
7:51 AM--Thing 2 asks if he can go to the bus stop. (No. It's too early.)
8:00 AM--I let them leave for the bus stop. (Even though it's still too early.)

And they're off!
8:03 AM--They arrive at the bus stop, sit on the curb, and look bored.
8:11 AM--The first next kid arrives at the bus stop.
8:19 AM--The bus arrives!
8:20 AM--The bus leaves.
8:21 AM--With complete quiet and solitude, I attempt to write. (Actually open a file on the computer.)
8:23 AM--I hear that Thing 4 is awake. As I go to get him, I really hope Thing 3 is still asleep.
8:24 AM--She's not.
8:25 AM--Change Thing 4's diaper.
8:26 AM--Get Thing 4 a banana.
8:27 AM--Change Thing 3's diaper.
8:28 AM--Get Thing 3 a banana.
8:29 AM--Make toast.
8:30 AM--Get more banana for Thing 4.
8:35 AM--Attempt to write. (Distracted by Facebook again.)
9:10 AM--Smell something bad. Change Thing 4's poopy diaper.
9:12 AM--Attempt to write. (Stare blankly into space.)
9:54 AM--Smell something bad. (Again.) Change Thing 4's poopy diaper.
9:56 AM--Attempt to write. (Go over old e-mails.)
10:34 AM--Actually getting some writing done! The kids are playing quietly. All is well.
10:36 AM--Thing 3 walks up to me, hits me in the leg, and repeatedly shouts, "I'm Velma! I'm Velma!" while holding an action figure of Daphne. She throws the Daphne action figure in anger. I stop writing to look for Velma action figure.
10:37 AM--Find two Shaggy action figures, two Scooby-Doo action figures, and one Fred action figure. No Velma.
10:39 AM--Find Velma! (And the world rejoices!) Sit down to write again.
10:40 AM--Sniff. Sniff. Smell something bad. Change Thing 4's poopy diaper. (His third in an hour and a half.)
10:42 AM--Put Thing 4 down for a nap. (All that pooping has got to make him tired, right?)
10:46 AM--Attempt to write. (Review what I've already written.)
10:48 AM--Thing 3 interrupts by asking me to read her a book.
11:01 AM--Finish reading to Thing 3. (Amazingly, I was able to get away with reading the book only three straight times.)
11:02 AM--Attempt to write. (Distracted by looking at "First Day of School" photo shoot.)
12:05 PM--Post "First Day of School" pictures of Thing 1 and Thing 2 on Facebook.
12:40 PM--Get Thing 4 up from his nap. Shockingly, no poop in his diaper.
12:43 PM--Feed kids leftover spaghetti for lunch.
12:44 PM--Realize I should not be feeding Thing 4 spaghetti on a day that isn't his normal bath day.
1:03 PM--Use a washy-wash (washcloth) to clean spaghetti sauce out of Thing 4's face, ears, eyebrows, hair, nostrils, chin, in between his fingers, eyelashes, and anywhere else I can find it, knowing full well that despite my best efforts I won't get it all.
1:09 PM--Attempt to write. (Doze off a little.)
3:13 PM--Change Thing 4's diaper. There is no poop, but there are several spaghetti noodles. And some sauce.
3:37 PM--The school bus arrives!
3:40 PM--Thing 1 and Thing 2 arrive home from school.
3:41 PM--Talking at the same time, Thing 1 and Thing 2 give a quick, incoherent report of everything that happened at school on the first day.
3:49 PM--The Wife arrives home from school.
3:50 PM--The exact same report is given of everything that happened at school on the first day. It is still incoherent.
3:51 PM--The Wife, exhausted from a full day of work at school, collapses in her chair. We look at each other and realize we only have to do this 179 more times before school lets out next summer.

Edited from a post originally published on 8/25/2017.
(The "running diary" is a format I've borrowed from former ESPN/Grantland/The Ringer writer Bill Simmons. I've used it a couple of times before.)

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