As an adult first ¬†generation immigrant to the USA, I find Christmas overwhelming. The whole period of the year from the time children return to school in late August is an overwhelming non stop succession of festivals and celebrations. Our school is¬†often in recess through this first semester.
School starts back August 25th. it’s called a ‘minimum day’. 8.30 to 11.45. I mean, why bother? But everyone attends because if you miss the first three days of school you can be diverted to another local school. I haven’t heard of it happening but our jolly and incredibly efficient principal never fails to remind us of the consequences via email.
Then September 1st is Labor day. Yup.¬†1st weekend back at school is a long weekend! Why not just start school after Labor weekend? Sheesh.
September is all about Conference week. A week of minimum days. And running the gauntlet ¬†of a series of parent/ teacher conferences.
Hubby is away for ¬†in Buenos Aires for a week for work. I’ve got five kids to manage on my own and shuttle kids to school and eight hours worth of after school activities. ¬†Facepalm!
At this point I realize that I’m not losing it and I’m not not imagining it either. It is ¬†little crazy.¬†All the expectations from school. All the expectations we put on our selves and our kids. Piano. Violin. Dance. Because to get into the good colleges they need to be well rounded. So I do what any self respecting American parent does. I sign my child up for another dance class and I go shopping.
All the seasonal stuff comes into the stores and I start stocking up for the next two months. First Halloween. An hour in Costco and five Halloween outfits later I’m well prepared for the biggest school day of the year!
Thursday 30th October rolls around. I’ve been up since 4am. Which is not a lot earlier than I normally wake. Because ‘Hyper’ in a culture can be kind of catching.
Usually I let the kids sleep until 6.50am. Exactly. This morning I’m in their rooms at six am dragging them out of bed by their ankles. The ten year old hits the floor and wakes up “Put this on”, I¬†say and I’m off to the twins room. Two hands and two sets of ankles later I’ve got the twins on the floor looking at me puzzled.
By 7am all five children are in the car dressed in their Halloween costume for school. I can’t believe how well we’re doing. I might even be able to stop by Starbucks.
“We haven’t had breakfast yet”, observes my First Grader mildly.
By 7.40am we’re back in the car. I lose a hat. Another ten minutes delay. I groan.
We leave. Hopefully there’s car parks left at school.
It’s the annual Halloween tradition. At 8.30 am there will be a parade around the lower field by the children in their Halloween garb followed by class parties for the rest of the school day. Which is. You guessed it. A minimum day. ¬†So instead of just the usual routine of Stop Drop and Go you’ve got Mom and Dad in separate cars up at school to watch darling Jupiter parade as a vampire.
It’s such a family event you’ve also got ¬†Nana and Grandad from Fremont and Aunty Louise from Ohio. Four cars per family. At least. If you want to park at the school you have to be there by 8am.
The three oldest participate in the parade. There are¬†less Steves this year.
Then it’s off to the twins preschool an hour to repeat the tradition.
And at this point I have to stop and wrap gifts for the latest celebration (More gifts wrapped now means more time in the Chardonnay bottle later. I will hopefully get¬†more time to write this afternoon.