Wednesday, September 3, 2008

And They're Off!

Yesterday was the first day of school. With Sr. Jr. going to middle school this year, we have to adjust to a whole new morning routine. He must leave the house at 7:20 in order to get to school on time, whereas the elementary school bus picked him up at 8:20. He's definitely heading into those tween/teen years where he sleeps more, so I anticipate some rough mornings ahead. For now, however, the novelty of middle school is enough to wake him up quickly in the mornings. Here he is, walking away:

I walked with him up our street. Rather, I lagged behind, as he practically ran ahead of me, saying, "Mom, you're embarassing me!" When we were a little more than halfway to the main street that all the kids take to the middle school, we saw some friends of his walking by, so I hung back even more to allow him to catch up. This is a picture of him running to catch up with his friends.

And here's Jr. Jr. as his bus arrived to take him off to second grade. He was awake and bouncing off the walls almost before I was awake that morning. The first day of school is always a bit of a shock. It's so quiet around here during the summer, and then all these kids show up at the bus stop! There are between 20 and 25 kids, just at our stop, not counting younger siblings. Add in parents and dogs, and it's quite a scene.

One of our neighbors has a party every year after the kids go to school, with bloody marys and mimosas. It's another fun way to catch up after the summer. It's also a way for some of us adults to expend some of the nervous energy we have on the first day of school.

I was quite anxious for most of the day. Partly, it's just a big shock for me to go from all the noise, chaos, and action of having the kids around to a completely quiet house. But there was a bit more to it yesterday, because of Sr. Jr.'s first day of middle school. I couldn't wait for the end of the day, so I could hear how his day went. Was it hard finding his classes? Are his friends in any of his classes? How did he like his teachers? He's finally out of the nurturing embrace of elementary school. I know how scary it can be.

He put his new cell phone to good use by calling me on his way home from school to tell me about his day. It takes all of 15 minutes to walk home from school, but I guess he was excited and wanted to share with me (yay!).

He had a great day. He's excited about middle school. He was really happy with his science teacher, who made getting doused with dangerous chemicals sound fun. He's been placed in a 7th grade math class for now (in 6th grade), and will take a placement test to see if he should be moved into the 8th grade math class. I'm happy he's in the class he's in, even if he doesn't move up. I'd rather he be where he needs to be than move up before he's ready (if that's the case). If he tests up, that's good too. He's just excited about finally being able to move ahead in math.

His only complaint was that the cafeteria ran out of ice cream before he could get any.

Jr. Jr. had a nice day, too. His teacher is very nice and most of the kids get good marks in his opinion. After a summer of complaining about reading, he picked up Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and has been reading it every minute he can.

I didn't knit much. I went to the party and the supermarket, and baked some back to school cookies for the boys. I started swatching a stitch pattern I like, but I wasn't happy with it in the yarn I was using, a light grey/green Wool of the Andes from Knitpicks.

I think what I really want is a brown sweater. I haven't had a good dark brown sweater in a long time. I have several yarn options -- a bulky Annabel Fox tweed, an aran weight Sierra Aran from Elann, and a worsted weight Wool of the Andes. I think the Annabel Fox might be too chunky for what I have in mind. I used Sierra Aran for my Equestrian Blazer last year. I loved knitting with the yarn, but it is very warm, so I think I'll stick with the Wool of the Andes.

Sweater or vest? Cables, definitely. I don't have any vests, and one might be useful, but how much wear would I get out of it? Any opinions?


kippi said...

First, Congratulations for surviving the first day of middle school! :-) Don't blink because it will all be over before you know it.

It is funny you mentioned a vest because just yesterday I was looking at vest patterns thinking I wanted to knit one! WEIRD. We must be on some sort of cosmic mental conference call.

I'm going to troll Ravelry to see what I can find. Although what I'll look for won't have cables. :-)

Sharon said...

I'm glad to hear your first day went well. Our week has been a bit more stressful. While Sam seems to have eased right into middle school, Jacob is a ball of anxiety over Math and Spanish at TJ. He is claiming that despite his straight A's and testing so well on the admissions exam, he is in over his head. (He is in Spanish 3, with only two other Freshman who came from spanish immersion elementary/middle schools). Unfortunately, we're so much alike that I too have been an anxious mess for two days now. Add to the fact that he's not getting home until 7:00 p.m. because of cross country practice, and is then wolfing down dinner, and working until 10:00 or 10:30, to get his homework done--well, you get the picture. I was sick with worry all day at work yesterday. Last night was better as we spent a lot of time (when he FINALLY) got home, just talking over his anxieties (me trying to quash mine) and coming up with a game plan (possibly dropping down to Spanish 2; not teaching at the synagogue on Sundays, etc.). Lord, this brings back bad memories of law school and my recurrent anxiety dreams of showing up for an exam, never having attended class or even bought the book for the class. Where IS that valium?

Loren T said...

Sharon, I feel for you. I am also one of those parents who feels great anxiety on her child's behalf. I think sometimes I take things harder than he does. I was a mess for most of that first day of school.

Unfortunately, I've heard a lot about anxiety among the kids at TJ. The kids are used to being high achievers, and when they're thrown into a school where all the kids are extreme achievers, some of them can feel overwhelmed. It doesn't help that he's got such a long day, either. One of the reasons that I was happy to send SJ to his local middle school rather than HB was that the HB kids don't get home until 4:30. I wanted him to be able to blow off steam, play sports, hang out with friends, and have time to do his work in a more leisurely way. (Plus, I really like the hour we have alone together in the afternoon. We get a lot of talking done then.)

I hope that Jacob gains confidence over the next few days, as he sees that he belongs where he is, and that he can do the work. He'll adjust to the schedule, too. How long is the cross country season? Will he do other sports, or will he just be happy to be home earlier?

(I still have those law school dreams. Sometimes they go back to college, and multivariable calculus and differential equations. Ugh.)

Sharon said...

Many thanks, Loren, for your encouraging words. By the way, the picture of Jr. Jr. is priceless--he is so adorable. Things seem to be "chilling" a bit already. Surprisingly, my middle schooler couldn't be happier. I guess she was more ready than I was!

I'm hoping Jacob will pass on indoor track over the winter, but it's too early to tell yet. From what you've said about your older boy, you may be facing this same situation is a few years!

I've been knitting and crocheting like crazy, but haven't had a minute to post anything on Ravelry. Our rabbi--my dear friend Lia--and her 3 year old son went to the beach with us last week, where we knitted like women possessed. She is so incredibly talented. Plus we found a new yarn store where we spent way too much money!



Loren T said...


I'm glad to hear things are looking up. Going to TJ is a huge adjustment, so nerves are natural. Ironically, my guy just started getting a bit nervous tonight. I think we worked through it.

The younger ones tend to have less anxiety than the older ones, simply because they've seen the older ones go through it already. In a sense, they've been there and done that. Jr. Jr. had spent so much time at the elementary school in the years before he started there that it was nothing new to him at all. He knew half the staff and he knew where everything was.

I hope you get that knitting up on Ravelry soon, so we can see it. It must be nice to have a good friend to knit with!

Take care,