Opinion: Toasting back to school


For those of you with young kids, here’s a blast from my past. Feel free to sing along!

I’ve been belting out “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” tunes for a solid hour, ever since I toasted the beginning of school with several celebratory fizzy lifting drinks at 7:30 a.m. this morning. Today especially is monumental because for the first time ever, all four of our children were able to clamber up onto that beautiful yellow bus. After 10 years, 10 months, and 15 days, “I’ve got a golden ticket.” And with a golden ticket, it truly is a golden day!

Making this moment even brighter was the dark backdrop of summer. “Oompa, loompa, oompa-di-do. I’ve got an easy puzzle for you. What do you get when summer gets old?  Ten fights a day and many tears to behold!  Boredom set in as soon as early June came. I know exactly what’s to blame! Ah-ha. No school structure or routine! La la la la la la la!”

True, the first two weeks were nice, but then it evolved into the usual conflagration of inconsistent schedules, lousy weather and friends out of town while we weren’t. Inevitably, these led to several Veruca Salt incidents, a whole herd of Mike TV impersonations, and one controversial Augustus Glute fiasco which I will not discuss here. And the worst part was, I was often so frazzled that I just gave in. You want to play Nintendo-DS all day? Go for it! You want to watch a Wizards of Waverly Place Marathon? Enjoy! They tune in; I check out. That’s poor parenting at its finest.

I don’t know about your kids, but mine fair much better when they have routine. Camp would solve the problem nicely if it weren’t for those pesky payments they’re so insistent upon. Twenty-five bucks per day per child? Forgetaboutit! So we turned to the next best thing— grandparents. One set luckily has a pool and a lake cottage, and the other a guilty conscience. “Who can make the sunrise and sprinkle it with dew? Cover it with chocolate and a miracle or two?” The Grandparents can!

No camps or grandparents? Cheer up, Charlie. You survived! “Oompa, loompa, oompa-di-do.  I’ve got another puzzle for you. What do you get when August  rolls in? Four kids in school and a mom in heav-en! Welcome back math, homework, reading and tests. Can you remember which is best? Yes, Ma’am! They’re all equally fabulous! La la la la la la la! Oompa, loompa, oompa-di-da. Find a school bus and you will go far. We can live in happiness too. Like the [jump for joy]kids with [clap your hands]year-round school do!”  Peace out.