Shopping list: Basketballs. Icing. Cash. World Peace.
Well, no, we have no balls around the house. (I will refrain from overtly making a crude joke at this juncture but will point out that the only male member of our household, Shy Kitty, was spayed at a tender age.) When I sorted through the voluminous papers in her (pink!) backpack and found the Siister Schools flyer, I found that they prefer new materials anyway. And, indeed, school supplies and sports equipment are high on the wish list.
Also, we are signed up for not one but two Giving Tree stars at MG's after-school program. One is for a 7-year-old girl who wants Baarbie, Hello Kittty, or "anything pink." We figured we can't really get away with buying her a Baarbie when we won't get one for MG, but we're down with the kitty and the pink stuff.
The other star is for another 7-year-old girl, who wants "reading books, math books, a globe or a dictionary." !! How could we resist? Even MG was charmed. "Let's get her a globe!" she begged. We left the star up on the bulletin board for a while-- we had Kitty Girl's star already and didn't want to be greedy--but as of this evening, almost all the stars had been picked except that one. Have people no souls?! Who could deny this child her dictionary while grabbing up stars for all those kids who want action figures and video games?
So, now we have two. And we're supposed to put in money for the aftercare teachers' bonus, cash preferred but too bad as we have almost no hassle-free opportunity to access cash these days since our favorite bank machines went fee-based. Checks, credit cards, we got it, but cash we ain't got. So the hapless volunteer parent will be getting a check from us.
Oh, and MG's class is making gingerbread houses, and everyone's supposed to bring in a box each of graham crackers and a can of frosting, plus whatever else to decorate them.
And Kindergarten Fun Night is next Wednesday, and everyone's supposed to bring in god knows what for that, too.
Which is all by way of saying that, even though we went to Trader Joe's the other day and are well-stocked for groceries, MG and RW are out shopping this evening, for all the aforementioned items. They left over an hour ago. MG's bedtime was fourteen minutes ago, and they're not back yet.
Okay, I'm glad she cares about the kids in El Salvador and the kids across town and I'm glad the aftercare teachers are so good and they totally, totally deserve a bonus, and I'm glad the class is making gingerbread houses, and though I'm dubious about the true fun quotient to be experienced during Kindergarten Fun Night, I'm sure it's a fine idea.
My question is: why is this so much more complex than it was last year?
I know why, actually: last year she was in full-time childcare, this year she's in School. And day care. So, more places to be, more information to process, more papers to bring home, more stuff to do. Plus, School is more plugged in to the world, and that's a good thing. Also, there's a base of stay-at-home or part-time-working parents that's being assumed at MG's school. No one at the preschool was hocking us to send basketballs to kids in Latin America, because we were all two-working-parent families with little kids and getting through the day, plus occasionally writing a check, and pitching in during the odd weekend Work Party, was about all anyone could expect of us.
But...we're the same family we were last year. Our kid is older, but only a little bit older. We're not working any less. There have been no new hours magically added to the day. So all these expectations, even though they're a Good Thing, are sort of knocking us for a loop.
And I haven't even gotten into the Homework issue.
Parents of the world! Treasure your child's four-year-old year; it's as easy as things will get for quite a while!