My daughter goes back to school this week. Today in fact. Fifth grade. Roan begins home school, assuming I’ve managed to get organized in the time between when I write this post today and when I publish it on Tuesday. Last year, in what was most likely a feat of desperation when I could no longer tolerate another sibling argument, had no food in the house and, probably, it was raining, I created an event dubbed “lazy day”. A day in which I parked my TV starved children in front of the TV for no less than three movies, fed them a bunch of junk food and failed to insist that they get dressed. They have been talking about this day ever since. I should fail to parent effectively more often.
This year I thought I’d make this a “tradition”. That the last weekend before school would have a Lazy Day (note, it is now capitalized), where we would all be happy together, watching movies, playing games, eating treats. I planned a little more for it this year (in that it was, in fact, planned), purchasing a variety of Trader Joes frozen appetizers, some junk food, and withholding TV and iPad time even more than usual so that it would feel extra-special watching so many movies.
And it was, for the most part, a lot of fun. I like the idea in general, of having times when you “over-indulge” in things that aren’t really good for you and in the end make you feel a little sick. I like the idea of having a way to celebrate the freedom to do absolutely nothing that summer represents. We started the morning with pancakes then went straight into the first movie request, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. Some members of our family sit and watch movies better than others. There was, as last year, some angst around this, but generally it was easy to redirect the fidgeter towards fidgets. Then lunch. Last year, according to the small one, we drove to Culver’s in our pj’s for lunch. It was, apparently, one of the highlights of the day for him. So we did that again. Then another movie (The Tale of Despereaux). After that we took a break to play some games, a new feature this year.
Which didn’t go quite as well. The tall one wasn’t winning, what was a quick game took too long and the small one got tired of waiting for his turn. Complaints began. Which were not received all that well. Time to regroup. Off to another movie, this time Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
Trader Joes appetizers were cooked and served. Things calmed down. Then the movie ended and it was clear that the day of indulgence had made everyone cranky. That and the impending transition, which always creates its own chaos.
As an event, I really like the idea. As a tradition, I have some things I’ll tweak for next year. There were complaints about the lack of ice cream this year. I might have fixed that had not the complaints overshadowed the fun. Next year. I think I’ll plan the in-between activities with the kids as well, not just the movie choices. And I’ll remember to have a little more patience when watching movies isn’t enough to ward off the crankies caused by end of summer and new school unknowns.
What about you, any back to school traditions?