The start of the school year means school supplies, endless forms to fill out and open houses to attend. Unlike the very organized and polished evening events I am used to attending, my daughters’ Middle School invited all parents to spend the day with their kids. It was truly an OPEN HOUSE. Come on in, see us in action, witness classroom events, and eat in the cafeteria.
My Prince and I packed our lunches, tried to dress cool, yet subdued enough to hang out with our 11 and 13 year olds. (The mom in 6 inch, purple platform heels and a snug outfit to match totally had me outdone.) Thus began our 7 hour visit to pubescent pandemonium. The day was far less chaotic than I expected, and it may have something to do with the strict rules. See below:
Rules duly noted. Thankfully I left my gun, horse and bottle of rum at home.
First Class: Spanish. All Spanish, all the time. The teacher (both girls have her) was incredibly effective at conveying her message to all non-native speakers without using a word of English. Class was outstanding. I learned more in 35 minutes than I have in 8 months living in Puerto Rico. I want to take her class, but my children cringed at the mere idea of me being in the back of the room every day.
Next up: Band. As a former band, orchestra and choir performer, and lover of all arts, I was very excited. My girls are both playing the flute, my first instrument. It was fun to hear their early, breathy notes. But the best part of this experience was hours later when I got my own hands the keys. That part is a secret though – I signed a contract that no one in our family would play around with the instruments – I just couldn’t resist. And the other 10 times that I have played my scales since, I couldn’t resist those times either.
Lunch time: I never experienced a typical cafeteria growing up, as my schools didn’t have them. We ate in the classroom. Everyone brought their lunch. There were no cafeteria trays. No deciding who you would sit with. So every time I am in a school cafeteria I find it overwhelming. It is so loud. And there are so, so many smells. It is complete sensory overload. I can just say that we survived it, twice.
On to Social Studies: Explorers were the topic of the day. Columbus, Hudson, Cabot…. snooze. The only part that kept me from nodding off was my husband who was chomping at the bit to answer the teacher’s questions. Seriously, he was raising his hand.
I didn’t know my husband in school, so it was kind of fun to see him in this setting. By the time we were headed to math I was pretty sure I couldn’t take much more enthusiasm. I sent him to Geometry and from what I hear, he was in his element. I stopped in at 6th grade math where I sat in the back with the other parents and whispered about our kids.
By the end of just one day I learned how to negate Spanish verbs, re-visited my middle school band days, experienced a cafeteria lunch x 2, tried to remember math without using my fingers, and observed every nuance of my children’s relationships with teachers and classmates. It was exhausting. I don’t think I could be a Middle school student again. My brain is really too old to absorb so many facts, worry about clothes, and friends, and rules. And there is no way I could live through 5 days a week of the cafeteria. The proof is that I fell asleep that night on the couch. Sitting up. It wasn’t even 7:30. And it has taken me days to recover.