Five for Friday: The School Edition.

Hello, goodbye first week of school. Which: ugh. So many conflicting emotions. Most parents are jumping-up-and-down excited to get their kids out of the house! And while I am rather looking forward to getting back on a schedule after the free-for-all of summer, there are also a lot of changes and minor catastrophes going on with school that is making this week not my favorite. All of these could be posts on their own, but to recap our school adventures, here are the biggies:

1. The girls are in different schools for the first time since Bee started kindergarten and I am not a fan. I like the idea of Bee and Gracie looking out for each other if something were to happen. I like the singular drop-off and pick-up. I like being reasonably sure that between the two backpacks and different sets of teachers, I’ll get all the necessary notices for events, fundraisers, and all manner of things. But now we have kids in two different districts and the space between them is not only physical, it means different schedules, different days off, different dress codes, even. Chaos. Mass chaos.

2. Managing drop-off and pick-up is a nightmare! Bee’s school opens early at 7:20 a.m. Gracie’s school doesn’t open until 7:45 a.m. Bee needed to be picked up this week at 3 p.m., since After Care doesn’t start until next week. Gracie gets picked up across the city at 3:20 p.m. We’re trying all kinds of different maneuvers, but it’s taking all four parentals to make these crazy schedules work! Thank god our family is all willing to pitch in and go the extra mile for these kiddos.

3. And speaking of After Care, which we desperately need so Stepmom is only picking up one kid during her lunch hour, that godsend almost came crashing down around our ears yesterday. We kept checking Bee’s folders for the notice about orientation; it’s mandatory and space for the program is first-come, first-served. Oh, and last year, the school didn’t tell anyone when it was happening. We were tipped off by a teacher friend and spread the word the day of orientation. So yesterday, when I asked Bee if she had heard anything, she was all, “Oh. Yeah. Apparently, the orientation was last night. So we missed it.” After panicking and checking with the Ex to make sure he hadn’t forgotten to check her folder on Wednesday, I made a few calls and determined Bee’s teacher had never handed out the notices. Thankfully, crisis was averted when my teacher friend offered to work some favors and get Bee a spot if I emailed her the application. Basically, I owe her unicorns and free drinks and, quite possibly, Bee-girl herself.

4. Not to be undone on the drama front, Gracie-girl came to me Tuesday night and begged me not to make her transfer and start over again if her School of Choice application came through. I understood: she had started a new school and made a few friends right away and became buddies with the librarian and liked her teachers and had a crush on someone already. What 11-year-old girl wouldn’t want to stay put? Of course then Gracie got into the school that her dad really wanted, and Gracie relented, and so it came to be that Gracie started a second brand new school in five days. I’m glad there wasn’t a showdown because I wouldn’t have forced Gracie to transfer if she didn’t want to – why raise her to be independent and mature if we’re not going to honor her choices? – but I think it’s completely unrealistic of the schools to ask families to make a decision by the end of the school day. Uncool.

5. Finally, there’s the Great School Lunch Mess. Both girls, to their delight, have been taking their lunches from home this week. They begged and begged last year to be allowed, but supervising the packing of the lunches on top of homework, reading out loud, showers, dinner, and all manner of things was one thing to much for this mama. Buying hot lunches from school was an easy fix to scratch one item from the list, and so it was decreed. But because Gracie didn’t know the logistics of how to buy lunch (don’t you think that info should have been provided?!), she’s been brown-bagging it. I let Bee do the same in order to subvert any notions of a coup. When Gracie came home in raptures over the real! food! they offered in the cafeteria, I quickly set up her account with the money management Web site her school district uses. Thankfully, it’s the same system at her new school. She can go back to hot lunches next week. Bee, on the other hand. Good lord. So our school has used a certain money management Web site the entire time we’ve been there. It works great. But apparently over the summer, they switched vendors. When I tried to log-in to see how much money was left over in Bee’s account, and investigate whether I could get them to roll Gracie’s balance into Bee’s or refund it, my log-in didn’t work. Even though it was supposed to. I sent the log-in reset request like I was supposed to – nothing happened. The instructions mentioned that if no email was received in 30 minutes, to try again, I did that. Still nothing. So then I emailed customer support, as instructed. 48 hours later, still nothing. I get that there are probably system-wide log-in failures going on, but way to fail, you guys. And nothing has been communicated about the transition or expectations. So. There’s that to untangle, too.

First week of school, I am very, very glad you are about to come to an end.

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