My triplets already started middle school this week. I know every parent would be tempted to follow that statement with: “My babies are getting so big!” Or… “Where does the time go?” but I’m not surprised that my kids just turned eleven or already graduated from elementary school. This middle school thing is just another blur to me which is a small part of a much bigger blur that began somewhere around 2005 when I first got pregnant.
The night before school started– middle school eve, erev middle school– each of my kids prepped for the big first day in his or her own inimitable style:
Carly called all her friends whom she knew were going to be attending that school to find out what they would be wearing and to compare schedules. A half hour-long conversation with each ensued as follows: “Who do you have for home room? 1st period? 2nd period? 3rd period? 4th period? 5th period? 6th period? Are you taking the bus home? What bus are you on? Which stop?”
Jacob called his friend Michael. I walked into the room about a minute after he’d asked permission to call him. As he put the phone down, I inquired:
“He wasn’t home?”
“He was home. We’re done.”
“Is he in any of your classes?”
“I don’t know. I forgot to ask.”
Hayley’s middle school eve prep consisted of studying human behavior in the technology age, aka watching a Catfish marathon on MTV.
They each then packed their backpack. The teachers were very good about providing us with a list of supplies to be brought in the first day. Nobody offered any suggestions however on how a sixty pound child was going to hoist a seventy pound backpack up on their shoulders and schlep it around all day. Apparently every year when sixth graders are faced with the challenge of mastering a combination lock, they collectively go catatonic and stroke out in the first week of school. So this year, the school decided to avoid the overwhelm of the locker trauma the first week and save the whole debacle for a future week. So in the meantime, I have my three Quasimodos stalking the hallways looking like they’ve been sentenced to a week of hard labor.
All of my kids were very concerned about getting lost in this new, cavernous school. The school provided a map of the floor plan. Jacob’s excellent with maps so he happily grabbed one and followed it meticulously on the first day like he was on a treasure hunt.
Carly wasn’t leaving anything to chance. She practiced over and over in our house. “I go out here, then I make a left, then another left, then I cross the hallway…” creating landmarks to remember along the way. (Hopefully the school has a hall closet and a stain on their living room carpet. Otherwise, I fear she’s screwed.) Once she mastered the actual locations of everything necessary on the map, she practiced walking around to get the pace of her gait just right to ensure that her hair would rhythmically move to and fro in the breeze she’d created behind her. I didn’t dare mention that it would be harder to get her speedometer up to 12 miles per hour with 200 other kids in the hallway.
The only chance Hayley had of knowing her way around was if the principal was cyber-dating someone on Tinder and MTV had a camera crew inside the school to interview him.
A few weeks ago, before school started, the school had a boot camp to show the kids what to expect and to meet the teachers. Then the week before school started, they had an open house to get them even more acquainted. Then they gave them maps of the floor plan and they’ll do a locker clinic. I don’t know. When I was in Junior High, there was no prep. The front doors opened the first day and everyone poured through them and tried to get to their classes without getting trampled. I do remember getting some support. I didn’t know which way to go to get to my locker. The guy mopping the floor pointed it out.
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