Back to School: How do parents really feel?
YOUR social media feed was no doubt flooded last week with a bunch of cute kids in oversized backpacks.
But behind every #obligatoryschoolphoto (note to parents: no one is forcing you to post these shots) is an adult dealing with the uncertainty of another school year.
Will our kid like her teacher? Will she find someone like minded to talk to? Will she remember how to read and write after roughly 39 days of swimming, glazing pottery and watching unboxing videos? Why is she growing up so quickly? Why am I growing up so quickly? Why did she recoil when we tried to kiss her goodbye this time? Does she hate us now? Is there such a thing as early onset puberty? Should I worry about whatever NAPLAN is?
These are the questions that came down on me like an avalanche as Victorian schools reopened for business last week. I'm sure I'm not alone.
It's been approximately 936 hours or about three-million lost brain cells between classes, but nothing prepares you for that emotional jolt when you see your kid back in uniform and realise they'll be this age only once.
It's easy to lose sight of this fact when you're caught up in the rigmarole of, you know, keeping them alive. So if nothing else, the start of a new school year is a marker that your little babies are growing up.
You have to really psych yourself up for that back-to-school moment, however, so the decision by some primary schools to start the year with a two-day week felt like ripping off a bandaid only to put it straight back on.
Not to be outdone, our twin daughters' kindergarten said, "Hold my beer", and started 2019 with a shortened day on Friday. Friday! (They didn't really say "hold my beer" FYI. That would be wildly inappropriate. I'm just repurposing a popular meme for comedic effect.)
Maybe they thought easing kids into the school year would be a great strategy? I can't speak for all parents but let me be the first to tell you our kids were R.E.A.D.Y to go back to school.
They may not have said it with actual words but a lack of structure and competent adult leadership made that last week of vacation descend into some genuine Lord of the Flies-ish areas.
So, yes, sending them back to school for two whole days (or in the twins' case three whole hours) really did feel as anti-climatic as the first Star Wars reboot or the world not ending on Y2K.
More proof we're a simulation came when our eldest began her first day of grade three by stepping into a steaming pile of dog poo. I thought day one would be pretty traumatic (for me) but I never expected to be cleaning out every crevice of her Nikes with a tiny twig I found on the ground.
Shoemakers of the world: is it really so important to have an intricate hexagonal pattern on the bottom of a pair of $100 runners, or are you purposefully setting out to make dog turd traps for s**ts and giggles?
Because there was no giggling about this s***ty dilemma - just fear that I missed a spot and sent my kid off to school smelling like regurgitated Pal.
2019. Off to a great start.
Darren Levin is a RendezView columnist.