Back To School Sighs

I'm dreading next week. All of my children will be in school, all day, every day, leaving me home alone with the dogs as I wait for the sounds of the school bus to return them home.

Five days a week, I'll be by myself, having no one to boss around or cuddle with during the day. I'm going to have to wash my own dishes.

I'd be more upset about this, but I'm oddly excited to see Jumbster enter grade school.

Since Bug never made it to elementary school this is big stuff for me. I get to relive all the grade school glory of field trips, Christmas concerts and recess all over again.

There is nothing quite like sitting through a grade school pageant to make one realize they should have used birth control all those years ago how precious children really are.

My children (well, two out of three as Jumby's oblivious to his new fate and only interested in blowing bubbles in the dog's water dish) are ridiculously excited to get back into the daily grind of bouncing around the back of a rickety old yellow school bus and terrorizing under-paid public school teachers alongside their feral friends.

I'm trying not to take this personally. I keep telling myself it's because they miss their friends that they want to hurry back to school and not because they are tired of being my personal servants. I mean, what child doesn't live for catering to the every whim and desire of their mother? Doesn't every child enjoy manual labour? It's not like they haven't been rewarded. I clearly remember letting them have the loose change they found in the dryer as they were doing my laundry a few weeks back.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end and I'm going to have to learn how to drag my own arse off the couch to get food if I don't want to starve to death. That soda won't pour itself into it's own cup after all.

Still, in a bid to show my children that I'm not at all bitter about the prospect of having to make my own lunch and let the dogs out, all by myself, I decided it was probably time to take them shopping to for appropriate supplies.

Okay, so it was more like the kids nagged me to death about getting off my duff and fulfilling my parental responsibilities by buying them binders and crap until I about lost my darned mind to the incessant whining and broke down and took them shopping, but I like the way I write it better. Reality is a drag. It's much sparklier up here inside my head.

School shopping. It's worse than going Christmas shopping on December 24 at the local Toys R Us. It's a mad house where ever you go. These parents with their lists, fighting for the last 99 cent calculator on special. It's all elbows and angry looks. I know, because I'm generally the one scowling and tossing the elbows. I can't figure out why my children anticipate it with such glee.

(Here's where I block out the mental memories of rolling around in new packages of paper and pens as a small child myself. I refuse to acknowledge the geekery I submitted to as a kid.)

I suppose I wouldn't mind shopping for basic school supplies if my children actually used what I bought them instead of lending, losing or forgetting half of what I just paid an arm and a leg for only months ago. I've quickly come to realize that the reason the lists the schools give parents is so large is because you aren't buying for just your children, you are supplying half the kids in your child's class. Except no one ever  seems to lends your child anything, thus reducing your cost expenditures.

I'm bitter and cheap. It's a charming combination.

Just when I put the last pack of loose leaf paper in our cart and headed for the never ending check out line, my children reminded me we weren't done.

"What do you mean we aren't finished? I've got everything on the list. In triplicate!" I huffed as I pushed the cart whose front wheel refused to moved. (Because the shopping excursion is never complete without grabbing the faulty buggy.)

"We need clothes! Shoes! A new lunch kit!" They cried in tandem as Jumby bounced back and forth in his wheel chair, delighted by the chaos surrounding him.

"You have all of those things! I bought them last year!" I moaned.

"Um, Mom? We've grown," my son, who is now nose to nose with me, reminded me.

Darn them children and their good health. I did a quick mental stock of the clothes I've seen on the children recently and mental images of jeans with holes in them, pants that no longer reach the tops of ankles and shirts so tight that only a cracked out stripper would want to wear flooded into my head.

"Well craptastic."

So new clothing was a necessity, one which I vaguely remembered putting off, telling myself I'd buy when school rolled around. Well that bus is here now, honking it's horn and I could no longer avoid it.

If I was a normal person, one who enjoyed leaving my house and going shopping, I'm sure I wouldn't have this problem. My children wouldn't need an entire new wardrobe because I'd have bought for them around the calendar. But as it was, my children looked like ragamuffins whose parents were too poor to properly attire them.

There is nothing quite like tugging three children, one who happily gnaws on his wheelchair and tries to head bunt every display case he sees, clothing shopping. A week before school starts. Alongside every other frazzled mother in the province.

I probably should have just stabbed myself in the eye with a shoe horn, it would have been more pleasurable.

First there was the shoe fight. Frac refuses to wear anything other than sneakers. White sneakers. The thought of a loafer or anything made out of leather in the shape of a dress shoe apparently is the equivalent of asking him to disrobe and streak naked through his gymnasium. "Only losers wear loafers, Mooooom!" he whined as I thrust yet another pair of very nice, expensive  yet unacceptable looking shoes in his direction.

Eventually, I broke down and just bought the kid sneakers. Again. But only after threatening to not buy any shoes for him at all and make him go to school wearing only cardboard duct taped to his socks.

He was unfazed by this threat, as he knows I'd rather die than see my child wear anything but a loafer.

Fric was slightly easier to shod. Other than having to wrestle one Lucite stripper heel from her after another and having to explain why three inch heels are neither appropriate or practical for daily use, she was game for almost anything. She's a shoe whore like her mother. Praise Allah.

As for Jumby? Well, he was just happy to have a new shoe to stick in his mouth and chew on. He was totally my favourite child at that moment.

Then came the clothing battle. My son wants to dress like a homeless man in baggy clothes while my daughter is intent on dressing in such a fashion to show off her curves and give her father a heart attack.

I just kept checking the price tags attached to everything and muttering how it would just be easier and far more creative to send them to school in bejeweled garbage bags. We'd be trend setters. And they'd always be prepared for rain. My children would just ignore my murmured rants and carry on examining what ever was the most expensive piece of clothing they could find.

But by far and away the hardest part of the day, (besides the actual moment of realizing I'd completely broken my budget and I'd have to send them scavenging for food for the next week in order to pay for everything) was realizing how much my children have grown up. How little time I actually have left with them to take them shopping. There is a finite amount of times I can yell "Booby Holders!" while waving a bra in the underwear section just to watch my children's faces go flame red and die from parental-induced mortification.

Pretty soon Fric and Frac won't want to shop with me, and I won't have any jurisdiction of what they wear. They're well on their way to independence.

I don't know which bums me out more. The fact I just blew a small fortune on shoes and clothes that they'll outgrow in mere months; the thought of all the school supplies my children will have lost before the month of September even ends or the fact there will soon come a time I'm going to have to do my own manual labour instead of schlepping it on my kids and calling it 'chores'.

That's a milestone I'm just not ready to face.

Crap. I'm far too lazy for my children to be in such a hurry to grow up.