While I was waiting to pick up my daughter I stood in teh school hallway. I'd forgotten how brutally hot it gets in there at the end of Summer. The humidity was pretty evil out in the open, but in the corridor it clung to everything like a damp wool sweater. All the parents stood sweating. All leaning against walls that looked like they were also sweating. Then I saw my daughter's teacher walk down the hall to get the kids from their art class. The kids then marched in the weird shape they'd been taught to in Pre-K. One hand on their hip that prevents them from running. The other hand on their lips to remind them to be quiet. Both hands are in use preventing them from grabbing anything. And their walking so unnaturally in an awkward Jon Benet Ramsey-esque manner that they are disinclined to run off. Except the humidity and heat was so brutal, and the day was so loooong that every single kid that filed down the corridor looked completely exhausted. Add they had to weave around parents - some of whom were firing off camera-flashes - and they all looked defeated by the day. My daughter still managed a big wave and a smile though. And like all good parents I can differentiate between the types of smiles. It wasn't one that just said, "Hey! That's my Daddy!!" This one was filled with, "Look Daddy!! I'm doing school!!"
On the drive home I didn't push it. She was tired all right. And why wouldn't she be? Long weekends cause most people to be tired when they go back to work. But starting something brand new (and I mean completely, wholly new) that starts right after breakfast - before you've even begun to stretch out and think about your day - must be punishing. I asked a few questions but let her do whatever she felt like getting up to. Which was eating the pretzel sticks I'd brought for her. Tired and hungry is a pretty good recipe for making a cranky child - but she was still relatively happy. Her only real negative emotion was that the teacher told the kids she would stay in the lunch room - but she didn't stay in there the whole time. So in Five Year Old Language that means the teacher wasn't telling the truth, broke their own rule and therefore anything could have happened. But she was good when she got home and was patient waiting for dinner.
She couldn't sleep ironically though. I don;t really believe in the "over-tired" principle. But I don't sleep much (because it's gross and unpleasant) and the wife can lie awake at the start of the night for hours unable to shut off from the day. It was almost 75 minutes to get her to sleep (one failed attempt that had her calling me back in the middle of that). And in the night she ran back and forth from her room to ours trying to find a comfortable spot to get back to sleep. She must have chopped and changed two or three times. And when she lay behind me she rolled around like a demented octopus. Eventually her and her mother went back to her bed. And obviously she finally manage to hit that long stretch of deep, comfortable sleep (people have told me about this mythical, terrible-sounding state) an hour before she had to get up. So I woke her up softly and she was very clingy. But she wasn't twitchy or sad. Just clingy. That's understandable. I was a little clingy as well.
Which was when she told me she thought school was too long the day before and she'd like to stay home. So I told her that it's just one more day before the weekend and then she can stay in bed all she likes. We all know she'll be up at 5.45am tomorrow. And after eating breakfast and waiting for the bus she's clearly excited about going again. I just hope that next weeks promised cooler weather is true. And that she gets one of those friend-crushes on a bunch of people at school so that she simply must be there as much as possible. She is excited today to be eating school lunch. Today's choice is chicken patty. And although I'm not a purist and eat plenty of unpleasant crap, I still can't help but just picture this below - except breaded and on a wood-pulp bun.
Mmmm chicken paste. And to think reconstituted meat-slurry is depicted as a futuristic idyllic thing on 50s/60s sci-fi shows.