No, but really. Not only do we love the school our kids go to – but we love the schools they will go to. The same schools their cousins attend. The same school my husband attended and his siblings attended. You see a pattern right? They all loved the area and schools enough to move their families back!
The high school homecoming parade might be the best 4 minute parade we’ve ever attended. It’s the quality, not quantity! There’s a float for each grade level, the homecoming court, band and cheerleaders. That’s it. And with so few floats, you ask what is the draw to attend?
Besides the school spirit and the fact that we had cousins on two different class floats as well as the band and cheer – its the crazy amounts of candy the kids collect. You’d expect a 4 minute parade to throw minimal candy – not the case. My kids love this parade because they walk away with a large bag of candy. Let the sugar season begin!
Earlier this week I found myself at the kids school at lunch time for a birthday lunch with Hunter. And since I was going to all the effort to go grab food and go to the school, I figured I would stick around the lunchroom a little longer so I could enjoy lunch with Bennett and Hallie as well.
Here are a couple observations from Monday’s lunch experience.
The lunch room is loud. When I first walked in, it was just two kindergarten classes and grew progressively louder the more kids that entered the space. I didn’t realize just how loud it was until I stepped out for a minute and walking back in hurt my ears. I don’t think it was any louder than most cafeterias but I’d forgotten how chaotic that space is. And I love that there is not a teacher in sight in that cafeteria – that means they’re getting a much deserved break! Instead, the cafeteria was being manned by a few classroom aids and some lunchroom workers and the saint of a man who was going behind all the kids picking up trash and cleaning up their messes.
There is so much food wasted. This is just my observation, but those that brought their lunch seemed to eat the majority – those that purchased food ate a fraction. Like one bite out of the hamburger and didn’t even touch their fruit. So much food was thrown away. I kept reminding kids that they didn’t have much time left and they better eat – they looked at me like I had horns. My persuasion did nothing, they threw away the majority. I wanted to take a picture of every plate and send it to their parents! I’ll become the crazy volunteer lunch mom – policing the eating behaviors of kids. I was told by the aid in Bennett’s class that he eats his lunch the same way every day. He takes crackers and pepperoni and he stacks them up – and takes a bite out of the whole stack. I told the aid, “That’s not good – I’m sure he makes a huge mess every time he does that.” She agreed and she came up with the solution that he could eat over his lunch box so all the crumbs are contained.
There were too many little kids eating alone. I was drawn to the kids that were sitting by themselves at the end of a bench and I couldn’t help but wonder why they were sitting alone. Do they not have friends? Do they have anxiety in chaotic environments? Do they really enjoy reading and would rather read than talk? I asked Hunter about a girl one table over. “Does she sit alone every day?” He shrugged unsure as to her eating routines. Then I realized, kids often don’t notice everything going on around them. They need to be trained and retrained to notice things such as a kid eating alone. They need to create buddy benches in cafeterias just like they’ve done for recess. If you don’t have someone to eat with, sit at this table which signals other kids you need someone to eat with. Did I mention I need to be the volunteer lunch mom?!
Kids enjoy their parents visiting for lunch. I keep thinking Hallie is going to grow out of it, but she still enjoys it and her friends love on her little brothers that tag along. Hunter’s eyes lit up when he caught my eye across the cafeteria and he rushed over, and his friends were right behind him. And Bennett…oh Bennett – everything is still so new to him and this was the first time he’d seen me at lunch time and he was so excited. He was a little crazy, he was so excited. He kept leaning over and hugging me and telling me he loves lunch. He was pointing out all his friends and all the funny things they’ve ever said. He wanted to share everything with me.
It was serious effort to get out the door with the two littles, grab food and sit through three lunches (with time to spare in between) but it was worth it. And going to school always teaches me something, even when I’m not the student.
Today was the first day of school and it was successful on all accounts. The forecast called for rain and the kids were nervous that recess would be cancelled. How bummed would a kindergartener be to show up to his first day of school and feel as though he was tricked with everyone talking of recess with no recess in sight!? Luckily, the rain held out.
When they returned home, there was talk of nice teachers, new friends, fun bus rides and good lunches. They unanimously agreed they would all go back tomorrow. Just what I was hoping to hear. I think the only one who struggled today was Cannon. I can’t even count how many times he asked for “HallieHunterBennett” said very quickly so all the names blended together. He kept asking about them over and over again today in swim lessons and the teacher finally asked me what he was saying. To say he missed his buddies today would be an understatement!
Here’s each kid with their neighborhood/bus riding friends. The friends they end up having a picture with year after year.
I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that my kids start school tomorrow. I haven’t even gone through all our summer photos yet, and now I’m taking back-to-school photos. And even though it seems way too early – they’re ready and I’m ready. Bennett is the most outwardly excited about starting kindergarten and yet he’s also the one showing the most concern and reluctance for what’s just around the corner. We’ve talked and talked and talked some more about what he should expect. The older kids have told him what to expect and yet you can see it in his eyes, he’s still a little skeptical. The thought of eating lunch at school is more excitement than he can handle, it’s worrying about where the bathroom is at and whether or not his teacher is going to be nice that are making him a tad nervous.
Tonight we had our annual back-to-school dinner. This year’s theme is “Bee” Smart, which as we discussed tonight covers a lot of ground. It’s more than just doing well in school. It’s making smart decisions when with friends. It’s being smart with their money as they find independence in spending their cash. It’s being smart in how they spend their time. We had a great discussion over dinner (as much as you can when you have a baby and a two-year-old in the room) and the rest of the night kept building the anticipation for tomorrow.
Props to Hallie today – she was my wing girl in the whole operation. I’m pretty sure next sure she’s going to do the whole dinner and do it better than me!
See our previous back to school dinners here, here and here.