That Light at the End of the Tunnel Better Not Be an Oncoming Train
Somehow it’s been six months since I last wrote. I guess when life seems like one endless, arduous day, time just seems irrelevant.
But finally there is a twinkle of light at the end of this tunnel from hell. Last week, Young Son and Amazon Warrior Princess finally went back to school in person! It was time.
A typical morning for them prior to going back to in-person school would have gone like this:
Me: “Okay guys. Time to get on your Zoom call.”
WP: “Ugh! Already?!”
Me: “Yes. Unless you’d rather sit in your room all day without electronics.”
WP: [HUFF!]…”Fine!!! I’ll do it!!”
Warrior Princess stomps off to the school room. I hear papers being flung around, her chair crashing into things, and general angry muttering coming from her area. Young Son, who has gotten on his call and is making an attempt at paying attention, has had enough of the dramatics.
YS: “UGH! Will you knock it off, Warrior?! I’m trying to concentrate! Stop being such a grouch and get on your gosh darned call already!”
WP: “Leave me alone!”
YS: “Moooommmmm!! Warrior is not getting on her call!”
I walk out to the school room to find a scowling Young Son and an even surlier Warrior Princess, who is shooting daggers at her brother. I feel a headache coming on.
Me: “Warrior Princess…Please. Get. On. Your. Call.”
Warrior Princess goes completely limp and slowly melts off of her chair onto the floor into a pile of paper snips, broken crayons, random papers and glue sticks missing their caps. (There is a ridiculous amount of cutting and pasting involved in kindergarten.)
Me: “Are you about done?”
Me: “Come on. Please get up and let’s get on your call. Mrs. Kindergoddess is waiting for you. I wonder if you’ll get to be the calendar person today,” I say hopefully.
Warrior Princess rolls her eyes, sighs loudly, slowly gets up off the floor, plunks down in her chair and we get her logged onto her call. “Well…We’ll see how long this lasts,” I think to myself.
A little while later, Young Son saunters out to the kitchen.
Me: “Young Son, why are you not on your call? It’s not break time yet.”
YS: “I just came out to see what you were doing.” (I give him one of my signature one-eyebrow-raised glares.) “Uhhh…And to give you a hug!”
I give him his hug and send him back to his desk. Nice try, pal.
A few minutes later I hear more bickering coming from the school room and decide I better investigate and nip it in the bud.
Me: “What seems to be the problem now?”
YS: “AARRGG! Mom! Warrior Princess keeps muttering and now she’s coloring really loudly! I’m trying to concentrate and I’m going to have to unmute soon!”
Me: “Warrior Princess, come out to the kitchen table and work with me.”
She huffily shoves all her junk into a pile and hauls it out to the kitchen table, where she starts to leave a flurry of paper snippets all over my freshly-Roomba’d floor and streaks of glue stick all over the table. Excellent.
A little while later I hear Young Son walking down the hall.
Me: “Young Son? Why are you wandering around?”
YS: “I’m going to the bathroom! Jeez!”
Ten minutes later, I hear him walk into the bathroom again.
Me: “Young Son! You just went to the bathroom! Go get back on your call!”
YS: “Well! I have to go again!”
Me: “Perhaps I need to take you to the doctor for a urinary tract infection if you’re having to go to the bathroom this much.”
YS: “NO!” [He quickly changes tactics, puts his charming smile on his face.] “Plus, I just needed to give you another hug and to see if you needed any help.”
Me: “Thanks for the hug….again. The way you can help me is by GETTING ON YOUR CALL!”
WP: [With a snarky face and tone] “Yeah, Young Son! Go get on your call!”
YS: “Mind your own beeswax, Warrior Jerk Face Princess!”
WP: “MOOOOMMMM!! Young Stink Butt called me Jerk Face!”
Me: [Mutters under breath, “Well, neither of you are wrong per se…”] “Both of you! Knock it off and get back to your Zoom calls. You’re driving me bonkers and it isn’t even 9:30 yet!”
Further words and rude faces are exchanged by them, and I look longingly at the wine fridge. This will continue on until it’s time for me to start the first of three lunch shifts (because why would they all get to eat at the same time?) And then I need to feed and water The Warden too…Honestly, friends. I really should be super proud of myself that I haven’t turned into a raging alcoholic by now. Although, I suppose I have the “raging” part down pat.
So yeah. It was time, especially for Warrior Princess. Ever since school started again after the winter break, she’d been getting surlier and even less motivated to participate in school. Come to find out, sometimes she’d even been ditching off her Zoom calls right after attendance. She’d go and do ABC Mouse or some other school-approved app on her iPad instead so I’d think she was doing schoolwork. Yes. At the tender age of SIX, she is already a juvenile delinquent and skipping school. I wonder if they give detentions to kindergarteners?
On their first day of school, I came home after dropping them off and just stood in my kitchen for awhile…. Peace…. Sure, First Born was still upstairs supposedly doing his school work, but most likely slacking off. I decided not to care. Then I got to work and started cleaning things….UNINTERRUPTED! It was glorious! Later, The Warden strolled out of his office and even he was impressed.
It finally came time for me to go pick up Young Son and Warrior Princess. I was excited to hear about their day. After they hurled their eighty pound backpacks in the front seat and got settled in, I got an ear-full.
WP: “Mom! I finally got to meet Mrs. Kindergoddess in PERSON and not just on my iPad! And I got to see some of my classmates in person…and…” she prattled on for awhile. Young Son seemed quiet. Uh oh.
Me: “Young Son! How was your day?”
YS: “Harumf! Well, for one they changed the macaroni and cheese recipe for lunch and it was complete trash!”
Me: “Wow. I’m really sorry to hear that. Why would they do such a thing?”
YS: “I know, right? AND we had to use sporks! Do you know what a spork is, Mom? Well, it’s part spoon and part fork and it’s completely useless!”
Me : “Oh the humanity. Other than a dismal lunch, how was school? Was it good to be back with your teachers and friends?”
YS: “Yeah. The whole mask thing was annoying, but we got masks breaks. That was the best part of the day.”
Me: “Wow. I’ll bet your teachers were so happy to have Mr. Ray of Sunshine back in their classroom.”
YS: “Yeah. I guess.”
(I need to do better at teaching the inmates the art of sarchasm. Clearly it is not genetic.)
So friends, it’s good to feel a glimmer of hope again. I am forever grateful for all that our teachers do to make learning in any environment as successful and engaging as they can, even if it means bursting into song and dance to keep their students engaged. I bow down to your magnificence…and while I’m down here, I think I’ll take a nap. In the meantime…keep wearing your mask, do something good for yourself, and may your enemies be forced to use sporks today.