It's senior kindergarten. My son is five. We don't need calculators or binders. Heck, we don't even need pencils or paper.
So why have I got this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I've forgotten something? Something important that will set my child's second year of school into an instant downward spiral in a few short days?
I wrote a post recently about my family's back-to-school must-haves. If I'm being honest, it was really a selfish excuse to do a gap analysis to see if I was missing any key products. Nope.
But that feeling -- it nags.
And now I'm writing this post as my to-do list as we ease back into the routine in which most kids thrive and most parents rejoice. Maybe it'll help you, too.
- Before I do one more drop of school shopping, I promise to think about what my kids actually need. I will not let the romantic retail music lull me into buying excess stuff. As long as they show up for school in clean underwear with something resembling a few food groups to gnaw on throughout the day, I feel like that's what success should look like.
- I need to stock up on five-dollar bills. There will be a fundraiser, road trip, pizza day or scholastic kickstarter every week from now until June 2014. Despite what you thought when day care came to an end, school is not free.
- This weekend, I will label everything -- sweaters, shoes, rain boots, lunch gear, water bottles. I'm being smart and buying ONE pack of labels with only our surname on them. I can't believe it took me this long to figure out that by omitting my kids' first names from the labels they can share the same batch all year.
- I've got backpacks ready to roll, but need to do some backpack planning; for little ones like my kindergartener, flushable wipes and change of clothes (including even more clean underwear -- also labelled) are mandatory. If you know your kid is accident-prone, pack two changes of clothes. The teacher will hate you less.
- I'm vowing to be more organized. Like laying out clothes for the week on Sunday nights, which is infinitely more likely if you have a closet that's working for versus against you. We just did a gut job on our closets and made sure to install things like sliding rods that would give us space to hang a week's worth of outfits close-at-hand. This, of course, requires having clean laundry, so I may be in trouble.
- I'm also vowing to do stuff the night before rather than the morning of. Like lunches. (Side note: if this is the first time you've ever had to pack your kid's lunch, I must inform you that the novelty wears off after week No. 2.)
- I will use a family calendar. I will use a family calendar. It will be my mantra. I bought one of those cheesy calendars that are the size of an elephant's ear and come with 3,700 stickers to cover every activity you could possibly have throughout the year. I will use a family calendar.
- It's time to urgently revive skills like writing one's name, wiping one's butt and putting on shoes that have laces or Velcro, or both.
- Must find (accidentally) stolen library books and return them to school next week.
- I plan to take vacation the first week of school to see my kids off on their first days and enjoy some time at my house -- alone.
OK, parents: what have I forgotten?