Friday, August 11, 2006

Is Summer Over Already?

Until this past weekend, I was lamenting the onset of another school year. I like lazy summer mornings when we stay in our jammies much longer than we should. I enjoy letting the kids stay up later because, after all, there's nothing they have to do in the morning. And almost always, I enjoy the company of my kids.

That all changed within the last week, beginning right around the time this little gem occurred:

Tavia: I found Bell's Silly Putty! It was behind the TV.
(understand that the elusive glob of Silly Putty had been AWOL for some time, to Bella's great consternation.)

Me: Where is it now?
(understand that while I vividly remember my own great love of the stuff, I detest Silly Putty as an adult, for reasons which are about to make themselves obvious)

Bella (with great glee): I put it in the banana chips!

At this point, I pull the bag of banana chips off the counter, and sure enough--therein resides a disgusting ball of Silly Putty, complete with carpet fibers so plentiful that it resembles a Picasso-like rendering of a cat.

It was at that moment that I silently thanked the Powers That Be for the return of the school year. And as the week has worn on, I've been just a touch more thankful with each passing day.

This has been quite a summer for Bella, who earlier in the season informed us her soul had left for Mexico in a red convertible, and that was the reason for her naughtiness. Turns out her soul had quite a vacation planned, because she's remained this summer's biggest challenge. Just last night, when I asked what happened to that wonderful little girl I used to know, Bella matter-of-factly informed me--without hesitation or obvious contemplation--that "Good Bella" was stuck behind the bookcase and no matter how hard she's tried to free her from her jail, she's had no success.

Of course, I do my best not to laugh when my white-haired imp feeds me these lines, but in the back of my mind, I'm looking ahead and realizing that, in the matter of one week, she's going to be under the care of another adult for 2 1/2 days a week. Bella starts kindergarten this fall, and I don't know any of those teachers. And--may the Force be with them--they don't know Bella. Boy, are they in for a treat.

I have no worries about the quality of care or teaching Bella will get; I don't think there's a bad teacher at Skyview. No, my concern is FOR the teacher, who will not realize that under that cherubic exterior dwells a charming maniacal midget. And while Bella is not malicious by any stretch of the imagination, she is prone to reacting first, thinking later. That tendency doesn't always give the best results.

So it will be with mixed emotions that I walk my youngest (and final) child to her first day of school next week. She has been warning me that she's shy (what the ???) and has changed her mind; she no longer wants to attend school. So there may be tears--hers and mine. But I'll follow the advice I always give my kids and try not to let my fear get in the way of my progress.

And then I'll walk the 2 blocks to our home and say a prayer that Bella's teacher survives that first day.