I have been dreading September 2011 for years; the start of both my kids being in school five days a week.
How would I handle getting two kids ready in the morning? Packing two lunches? Dealing with two sets of homework, not to mention the endless school paperwork that gets sent home with them? Physically transporting them to school? And what about pickup? If I started my son part-time, that would mean two separate pickup times.
Last year was an absolute nightmare. Getting my daughter out of bed involved turning on her favorite show, Strawberry Shortcake, at 7 a.m. and waiting for the soundtrack to lure her out to lie on the sofa. My husband and I struggled to dress her resisting, complaining person and get her out the door on time. Pickup was equally difficult, with my son typically falling asleep 10 minutes before I had to leave to get his sister from school. Or else he would have a diaper blowout right when I was about to head out the door, making us late and earning me a scolding from the school principal.
Much to my surprise, taking two kids to school has been much easier than dealing with just one.
My son is a morning person. He goes to bed early and easily, and wakes up fully as soon he hears the opening bars for My Little Pony. No lolling on the sofa for this kid, he runs around bright and chipper as soon as he gets out of bed, asking to go to school.
With her brother up and moving around, my daughter is much more amenable to the morning routine. My husband dresses her while I take care of her brother, and then the three of them are out the door while I settle down to do a few hours of work before I need to pick my son up from school early three days each week. My husband and I used a gradual approach to preschool transition that has resulted in painless drop-offs; the goal is to have him in school five full days a week by the end of pre-K3.
It helps a lot that both kids attend the same school. We drop my daughter at the school gym where she lines up with her kindergarten class, and then walk down a hallway to my son's preschool classroom, where we get him settled for the day.
I absolutely love school pickup. On the days my son leaves early, we have two hours for special mother-son excursions before heading back to school to get his sister. Last week we discovered the Michaels Arts & Crafts Store in Bayonne when we had to make an unexpected trip to the Lowes next door. We loaded up on mini piggy banks, glitter pens and designer sprinkles to decorate cakes and cupcakes.