Monday, September 17, 2007

Tales From Middle School, Part I: Those Who Truly Suffer

Everyone knows that middle school can be quite traumatic. The too-early mornings, the frantic schedules, the daily lunch grind. It's all too much to bear.

I'm not talking about my child's angst - I'm talking about mine.

It's safe to say that middle school is totally and completely kicking my ass. Kira has been a sixth grader for exactly seven whole days and at the end of each of those seven days I found it necessary to drink more than a reasonable amount of wine, curl up in a fetal position and swear loudly to anyone within earshot that homeschooling was imminent. It's gotten pretty ugly, especially when the neighbors yelled at me to stop laying on their lawn.

We're having to get up half-an-hour earlier here to allow time to get the girls to their two different schools. Thirty minutes may not seem like much to most of you, but to Rigel and I it's huge, the difference between a fairly lucid morning and a dangerously incoherent one. Turning on the stove to make hot water for oatmeal and then putting a cereal box on that open flame would fall into that last category. You get the picture.

Once dressed it's into the car to fight the other eight hundred edgy middle-school parents for the few safe spots to drop off your child. This is my least favorite time of day, aside from the half-hour-early wake up and the other eleven hours of the day that I'm prevented from sleeping. It's a jungle over there - people who think their kid's going to be late for first period get irrational and do crazy, dangerous things like make U-turns in the middle of intersections. Luckily, no one saw me.

On top of everything else, apparently the new school has a cafeteria menu that is troublesome to the sophisticated palate of my 11-year old. The hamburgers are dry, the pizza's burned - exactly the same complaints she had about the elementary school food that I used to ignore. But now, as a wordly, middle-school gourmet these foods are completely unacceptable. So where before I could convince her to buy lunch by extolling the virtues of processed chicken lumps or coax her into treating herself to a leathery corndog, I'm busy packing bagel sandwiches and elaborate turkey wraps smeared with dijon mustard and garlic mayonnaise. I figure I'll keep up the charade for a few weeks and then start sneaking in the ham sandwiches with wilted lettuce and the mac n' cheese that's turned to packing foam by lunchtime.

Never mind the fact that millions of people are going through the same routine as me and handling it with far more grace and composure - I find being a middle school parent an exhausting and spirit-crushing experience. It's also the first time in five years that I've had my girls in two different schools - dropping them off at two separate locations in the morning! Picking them up at two different times in the afternoon! It's as if the school district is personally trying to sabotage my life. I'm hoping the next few weeks get a little easier as we all adjust to our schedules, fine-tune our routines and I up my caffeine intake to dangerous levels.

Next up: Tales From Middle School, Part II: Wherefore Art Thou, Locker?

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22 comments:

  1. Hey that was nice...mnwhile you can go through mine at www.ravs-ccube.blogspot.com

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  2. Bagel sandwiches? Turkey wraps? You're welcome to pack my lunch, too. Ya know, with your extra timer.

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  3. Yum! Sounds like you make some lurvely lunches! Hopefully you'll settle into a routine and regain your relaxed atmosphere. Or slap some PBJs together the night before. Or even better, put the 11 year old in charge of making the lunches the night before. Bwahahaha!

    Yeah, I know. Big talker here with a 1.5 year old and a SAHD to boot. I'm just here taking notes for the future. ;)

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  4. That's what you get for introducing your children to good food. My mother could not and did not cook and I loved school food. Especially the burgers. Ooh, and the square pizza. And the rolls.

    Hmm, I wonder if it would be weird if I went over to the school and ate lunch even though I currently have no children enrolled there.

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  5. I totally feel ya on that half hour of sleep in the a.m.

    That blows my mind that school starts so early. Knowing that you're a sleeper too, you can probably guess what kind of happy dance I did when I found out my son's 1/2 of kindergarten was in the afternoons.

    Next year will be HARD! Gah.

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  6. I suppose you could be grateful she's not asking for handrolled sushi.

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  7. thank god you're back -- i was starting to get worried/starved that your life wasn't being regularly updated on this site.

    that sounds like hell...you are a brave woman. . .

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  8. I can totally relate. We have a 11yr middle schooler. Daughter is in 2nd grade. School starts 1 hr apart from each other. I'd just like to say that the past few weeks have been fun...

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  9. LOL I can't relate just yet, however.....I'm so NOT looking forward....

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  10. The square pizza was a nationwide epidemic, I think. And we loved it.

    You are a queen among moms for packing such amazing lunches. Can I hire you to pack mine, too?

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  11. I feel your pain, but this was really funny.

    I hated middle school. Did anyone like it?

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  12. OMG the high school in our town starts at the ungodly hour of 7:30 AM which means I am getting my butt out of bed at 6 IN THE DARK. Yesterday I almost had a nervous breakdown when I realized that because my 3 kids are all 4 years apart I will be getting up this early for the next 12 years. Even typing it makes me well up for elementary school and it's 8:30 start time. sniff.

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  13. That's why I love the bus. And lunches, if they want to bring it they have to pack it.

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  14. I got here through the Blogher link and I so hear what you are saying about the food. My 7th grader is the same way. Today she forgot her lunch and will have to suffer with a school lunch (evil laugh). I am glad for the buses where I live, that is for sure.

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  15. It's only been a week. Things will finally settle down in... about 4 years.

    I don't think it's old age that gives parents gray hair. I think it's kids.

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  16. Oh, yes, the crowd at the drop-off point. I remember it well. I'm glad my carpool child is in college now.

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  17. God, are they still serving leathery corndogs in our public school system? Funny post.

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  18. ohlord woman, that was FuNNY. We have similiar adventures here in the mornings. I have to be at work at 8 AM and I have to be dressed and ready for the day and get the kids dropped off by 7:45. It's so not easy. Or fun. And i am shrieking every single morning about how I am going to be late and I'm late I'm going to get fired and if I get fired there won't be any lunchs because we won't have grocery money. Yeah, we have a ton of fun in the morning here too. I wish the 9-year-old could just drive him and his brother to school, that would really help me out. :) GREAT post. You are too damn funny.

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  19. I was you a year ago. The only difference now is that both girls are in the same middle school and I've learned to appreciate pajama pants and over-sized sweatshirts. Oh, and I hate on the 'all together' moms even more. May their mascara run and their heels break. Amen.

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  20. You are scaring me. This will be my life next year, and then 2 years after that, I'll have three kids in three different schools.

    Bring on the suckitude.

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  21. School this year is kicking my ass as well... the damn kids get more complicated with every passing year!

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  22. Oh boy, this is a glimpse into my future? ack!

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