Third Gradeitis

I don’t need to flip my calendar page to June to know that the end of the school year is near. I merely need to look at my alarm clock to realize that I’m running alarmingly late in getting my son to school again. We’ve got a bad case of third gradeitis at my house.

I know we’re supposed to wake up chipper and happy now that sunny days are here, but we’ve been taking advantage of those sunny days with leisurely late nights and now the waking up early is killing me.

My first sacrifice to the snooze button was making the beds–you’re just going to mess them up, anyway, right? Next was my every-once-in-while practice of actually “cooking” breakfast. Now we’re lucky if any of us sits down for an apple or a Starburst before we run out of the house ’cause we’re late. And I’m sure the teacher has noticed that Koss has worn his baseball uniform for three days in a row. There are just too many games. I don’t have the time to actually peel it off of him and wash it.

I can hear the beach calling my name, but every time I pick up the phone, it’s someone from the PTA, or the school, asking for help with something or other. I’m sure my public declaration of yes-aholism didn’t help. Our home life is falling to pieces and I haven’t got the time–or the energy–to put it back together right now. Besides, that beach looks so enticing. Maybe just a few hours on the sand after school, we’ve got lots of time before it gets dark.

Our slow deterioration is evident everywhere you look. My son’s backpack is held together with yards of finger knitting (thank you Mrs. Brown for teaching him such a useful skill). His lunch box smells like rotten eggs, even though I swear I’ve never packed them. Still, I refuse to replace those fall essentials till school starts next year. Same with his pants, which are now the pedal pushers I try to convince him that all the cool boys are wearing.

Meanwhile I’m all stocked up on swim goggles and sunscreen. Isn’t it summer yet?

I can’t believe Koss actually had homework last night. I thought California state law was that all reading, writing and arithmetic stopped immediately–so party time could begin–once the standardized testing was over. The aim may be “no child left behind,” but the target for the last month of school is more like my college spring break in Mazatlan, where many of my brain cells still reside.

I can’t believe how many parties and activities they cram into the last few weeks of school. Just this month we’ve had Spring Sing, a golf tournament, a Noche Mexicana celebration, two PTA meetings, three foundation meetings, a read in, an open house, a school board meeting, the Spring Boutique, talent show signups (which mean talent show talent development), Science Night, a beach party, the talent show, an end-of-year party and various teacher appreciation tidbits to buy, bake and accidentally burn in the oven.

“Uh, Mommy, the smoke alarm’s going off again!”

Not to mention how many checks there are to write. Do they really still want money for the ad in the program of the fundraising event that got cancelled because the whole school came down with a bad case of third gradeitis?

I can’t wait for summer, when I’ve got ten whole weeks to work my magic spell of sun, Slurpees and sleepovers to undo all the good habits Koss’s teachers have worked so hard to inspire in him.

Sorry guys. You had your turn with him and now it’s mine. We’ll be sleeping in mornings and hanging out on the beach in the afternoons. I can hardly wait.

Originally published in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound on May 30, 2008.