I love the smell of uniforms in the morning (to paraphrase Apocalypse Now). School is back in session for the Older Girl and the livin' is easy over at our place. I don't even mind filling out 27 different forms every night for two weeks because having two kids around during the day feels like a vacation! And next week, the Boy starts preschool, so for two mornings a week it will just be Baby Girl and me rattling around the house. Whatever shall I do with my time? I'm sure I could employ myself industriously with house cleaning and other maintenance, but let's face it, I'm going to grab a fancy coffee -- you know, the kind you can't order and juggle out to the car while refereeing a poking deathmatch between two kids and hauling a 7 ton infant carrier over your throbbing forearm (at least not without spilling the entire $4 cup on the floor of the van); and after I breeze out of the coffee shop with my solitary child, I may stop to do an errand (but I'll most likely forget), and then head home to read other people's blogs (I'm working on a Blogroll of my faves). I might think about putting Baby Girl in the stroller and getting in a brisk walk, but if I was the betting kind, I would put my money on me getting a fix of my newest addiction, a rousing game of Text Twist. One of my oldest friends turned me on to this (gracias, Holmes!) and it is every English major/word freak's dream. (If you'd like to linguistically torture yourself in 2 minute increments, then check it out: www.addictinggames.com/texttwist.html)
But lest you think that I am dancing with glee over outsourcing my children, I have to admit that I always feel like this time of year is bittersweet. So many people have told me to make sure I enjoy this time with the children because it passes so quickly, and so I always seem to have a little hourglass in my mind that is constantly draining. I can feel the changes in my children like I feel my own heartbeat; it's not just that Older Girl has long ago lost her baby roundness and downy curls, it's that they have been replaced by a set of features that will be the same when she is an adult. The Boy has gone from my lap to the sharing circle at school in a single bound. Even Baby Girl, who is so new to the world, has begun to push herself away with her arms and legs. It's centrifugal motion of the most personal degree -- and it kills me.
So while I revel in the peace and quiet, and I crow about how much the kids are learning, you'll know my secret fear -- that their time with me is draining faster with each new school year. And that's something that even the fanciest coffee can't assuage.