Everywhere I look on Facebook today, I see pictures of smiling children in neat pigtails, grinning at the camera and wearing spanking-new backpacks. Some of the kids are even holding signs, indicating their grade. They are neat, combed, clean, pressed, and ready for action.
This leads to the obvious question: how is it that all of these parents have time on the first morning of school to line the little scholars up and snap a picture? How is that possible?
You know what my morning looked like today? Lilah wanted oatmeal with raisins for breakfast until she decided she wanted half a grilled cheese. Then Zachary wanted peanut butter and jelly, which he eats in his room while reading a book. I packed up snacks, shoveled down breakfast, and took turns showering. Jacob was long-gone for work by the time I woke Benjamin up, which I had to do because he was UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF with first-day jitters. Benjamin, like his sister, wanted grilled cheese, which is all well and good except it was a full hour after we’d made hers so it was a whole new process all over again.
Then Ben was eating breakfast and I was washing the griddle and suddenly Lilah remembered: “Oh, I forgot to put on underwear.” She remembered the tiara, but forgot her underwear.
Do you know how many teeth I had to oversee the brushing of today? Me neither, since I can’t really keep track of how many teeth reside in each mouth at any given time. But I know I did have to make sure two heads of hair were brushed, one into pigtails. I never bother with all three heads, figuring two out of three ain’t bad. Today was extra special, as Benjamin made sure to slick down his hair with water, in the process soaking the sink. Only one child actually made the bed today, and I find it telling of the state of affairs around here that it was the four-year-old who made her bed while the boys never quite got around to it.
I did make sure that there were eight shoes applied to the appropriate feet, that rain jackets were in the stroller for the walk, and that all the school supplies and forms we’d laid out last night actually made it out the door. I was pretty damned proud of myself for accomplishing all this by 7:50 in the morning. But taking pictures? Lining my kids up to take pictures? There’s no fucking way.
Every year, the night before school starts, I think maybe this will be the year that I have everyone ready five extra minutes early so we can snap a picture. And each year we’re halfway to school before I even realize that yet another first day has passed without a picture. I could stop all three kids to take a picture right then and there, but chances are if I did, Zach would whine that Ben was looking at him, Lilah would want to pick a flower, and Ben would take off in pursuit of an ant or a wildebeast or something.
So, I ask you, oh you organized souls who’ve already posted those smiling, backpacked children on Facebook, how do you do it? How do you get three kids ready for the first day and still find time to take the picture? And next year will you come to my house?