We survived the first week of school. I had really good intentions of posting first-day photos of the kids in their new outfits, but, folks, the reality of getting myself and three youngsters up at 6 a.m., getting to school on time AND snapping a few photos along the way proved more than I could pull off. The bell rang at 8:15 a.m., and if memory serves me right, I believe we scooted in the door at 8:16, earning my two oldest a tardy slip on their first day of the new school year.
The late arrival wasn't entirely my fault. Hubs came down several days earlier with the same fever virus that Sarah had two weeks earlier. He had taken off sick on Monday and was sweating and shivering on the sofa watching TV when somewhere around 8 a.m. he decided that it might be nice to see the girls off on their first day of school. He pried himself off the sofa and slowly managed to clothe himself as I herded the children out to the car and began buckling them in. I watched the clock as several minutes passed (desperately willing myself NOT to honk the horn and thus add MORE stress to the morning). Finally at 8:06, he ambled out to join us. With all of us finally in the car, I took off in haste toward school only to realize that in the morning traffic, the drive was going to take considerably longer than it had when I mapped it out a few days earlier.
I should have known the first morning could not possibly go smoothly. Nothing else leading up to the start of the school year had.
Just a little background for your reading pleasure:
We decided in late May to enroll the kids in a private school this year. When we went to check it out, we were told there was a dress code, but no real specifics were given. When I asked for a handbook, we were told that they were in the process of being revised and that we would get one in the mail in just a few weeks. Sarah's kindergarten teacher just happened to be working in her room that day (the students were already out for summer), and we spent a few minutes visiting with her. Sarah happened to be wearing a skort that day that hit several inches above her knees (remember that little detail; it will be important later), so I asked the teacher if that sort of outfit would be appropriate for school. "Sure" she answered.
Throughout the summer, the girls and I shopped for skirts, dresses and skorts, and I was feeling pretty good about the condition of their wardrobe.
And then, the first week of August, THE REVISED HANDBOOK made its appearance in my mailbox. And right there, second paragraph on page 20, were the words that started my back-to-school excitement on a rapid downward spiral. "In grades K-3, girls' dresses and skirts must reach the top of their knees. The top of their knees? This was seriously news to me. No one had bothered to mention this small bit of information, and of all the skirts and dresses we had acquired through the summer, only two or three were going to work.
The next paragraph brought more surprises as I read about the shoe requirements. The no sandals rule sent both girls into a tizzy. Tennis shoes could be worn if they were all white (i.e., Keds). "You mean we have to wear TENNIS SHOES with our DRESSES???" they protested in unison.
Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until Sunday afternoon (as in less than 24 hours before the start of school) to go purchase white tennies for the girls. Rachel and I headed off for Shoe Carnival, and so sure was I of their correct sizes, I didn't even have her try on her shoes. We grabbed boxes off the shelf, and I did a cursory glance inside each to determine that the contents were the right size and style, and off to the registers we went.
Later that evening after kids were in bed, I began laying out their outfits for the next morning. After clean socks and underwear had been placed atop each girl's dress, I got out their new white Keds(which STILL had not been tried on, if you can believe it) and did a double take. Inside Rachel's box were TWO right shoes. It was after 9 p.m., and I did the only thing I knew to do: Grab my keys and head to Wal-Mart.
"Oh, faithful Wally-World, how many times hath thou saved me? Please don't fail me now," I thought as I sped off for the second time that day in search of white tennis shoes. I was shocked as I pulled into the parking lot at the sheer volume of cars at that hour. Throngs of families crowded the school supply aisles, frantically filling their carts with pencils and crayons. That sight quickly erased any trace of self-condemnation for my own procrastination. At least we took care of the school supplies several weeks earlier.
Back in the shoe department, I quickly located Rachel's size, but it was in a wide width. There is NOTHING wide about that child, including her feet, so I kept looking. The only other possibility was a pair that looked to be a half-size too small. Into the cart the wide pair went. And just to make it up to her, I picked up a bottle of "Love's Baby Soft" for the girls, their first bottle of "real" perfume.
The following morning when they finally tried their shoes on for the first time, Rachel's wides were much too big for her. Sarah's were much too large for her as well. R ended up wearing the pair I bought for S, and S fished out a pair from the depths of their closet which might have been white when they were brand new but had since turned a lovely shade of dingy gray-brown. But they fit, hallelujah.
The girls might have looked slightly thrown together in their cute little dresses and tennis shoes, but I have to tell you, they smelled heavenly!