This Month's Topic: Focus on Finance

School Daze

Last year, Brayden loved going to school.

It was only one day a week, sure, and only two-and-a-half hours long, but he looked forward to it every week, would barely turn to say “bye” to me when I dropped him off and, when he wasn’t there, would ask when he could go back.


Since Brayden has started going to school three days a week – albeit still for a short two-and-a-half hours a day – for preschool this year, I’ve felt like I have a brand-new kid.

No, he hasn’t started crying because he doesn’t want to leave me or anything sweet and sentimental like that. He’s just decided he doesn’t feel like going to school three days a week because there are other things he’d rather be doing with his time, like playing with cars or watching Nick Jr.’s Max & Ruby, for instance. 

As an example, take our Monday morning:

I realized Brayden was in bed with me when I opened my eyes and saw him staring back at me.

“Can I please watch Max & Ruby, Mommy?”

I blinked, still processing the fact that he was in bed with me – when did that happen?? – then sighed and rolled over to get the remote. A few minutes later, I heard Anna crying.

“Anna’s crying, Mommy,” Brayden helpfully informed me.

I pulled myself out of bed and picked Anna up out of her crib, then placed her in the middle of my bed next to Brayden before climbing in, too.

“Brayden,” I suddenly remembered as the kids’ eyes twinkled in the light of the cartoon. “Are you dry this morning? No accidents?”

We’ve been putting Brayden in underwear overnight for the past few weeks, and he’s been doing a great job. I’m just always very interested in the mornings to see whether he’s broken his streak.

“No accidents!” Brayden confirmed happily as I patted his bottom.

Awesome. Then, I remembered I hadn’t changed Anna’s diaper before bringing her into my bed. I patted her bottom to see just how full it was.

Her diaper wasn’t there. Interesting. Her nightgown and, consequently, our sheets, were soaked. Awesome.

Had I forgotten to put a diaper on her? Nope. After further investigation, I found one of the pitfalls of nightgowns: She had taken it off herself and left it in her crib. Wonderful.

“Anna, we have to change your clothes. You’re covered in pee.”

Anna smiled and climbed off the bed to run to me, but Brayden stayed put.

“Noooooo!” He suddenly whined. “I want to get my clothes on first before Anna.”

This preference started recently. He wants to do everything first now. He wants to win at everything. Sometimes, I try to turn these requests into teachable moments about how it isn’t a race, he who is first shall be last, yada, yada, yada, but in the mornings, I usually just roll with it.

“Brayden, you go potty, and then you can get your clothes on, but I have to change Anna first because she peed all over herself.”

“Noooo! Me first!”

“Then go potty!”

I marched him into the bathroom and lifted up the seat, pointing to it as if he needed further instruction. I stripped Anna of her nightgown and held her at arm’s length as we silently watched Brayden go to the bathroom. With Anna still naked and at arm’s length, I helped Brayden wash his hands and marched him into his room to get his clothes on.

007“What are we doing today, Mommy?”

“You have school this morning, buddy. Lucky you!”

Brayden’s face puckered. “But I don’t want to go to school!”

“Well, you’re going. School is fun.” I don’t believe there was an ounce of fun in my voice.

He flopped himself on the bed before I finally yanked him to the floor next to me and started pulling off his shirt and pants.

“We’re late, buddy. We have to get changed, and then I have to get Anna changed and then we have to eat breakfast so we can… ” – here I raised my voice an octave or two to try to make it sound more appealing – “… go to school!”

“But I don’t want to go to school!!”

I ignored him, quickly changed and put some clothes on Anna, then herded everyone into the kitchen.

“Breakfast time! What do you guys want? Toast, bananas and cereal? Which kind of cereal today? Rice Krispies or Honey Nut Cheerios?”

“I don’t want any of those things,” Brayden grumbled.

“Honey Nut Cheerios it is! Good choice!” I called with false cheer. I fixed the breakfast plates, put them on the table and hoisted Anna into her seat. “Eat up. This is your time to eat before it’s time to leave for school!” (Here I remembered Brayden’s reluctance to go.) “What do you think you’ll do at school today?”

I poured myself a bowl of cereal and scarfed it down. “Do you think you’ll play outside today?”

Brayden shrugged. “I don’t want to go to school.”

“OK!” I announced merrily. “Breakfast time is over. Time to brush our teeth!”

I corralled them into the bathroom and scrubbed their teeth, then put their shoes on and grabbed my purse. “Let’s go!”

“I want to bring this truck in the car with me,” Brayden announced, holding up a red pickup.

“No, Brayden. We’re going to school. You don’t need to bring the truck.”

“But I want to…”

Just then, Anna chimed in, flashing a red purse with white polka dots. “Minnie purse!”

“Fine! Brayden, you bring the truck. Anna, you bring the purse. Let’s just get in the car, everybody.”

After fumbling with the carseat straps way longer than necessary, we finally pulled into the school parking lot five minutes late.005

“Yay, Brayden,” I said as I pulled him and Anna out of the car and steered them toward the door. “It’s time for school! I hope you have fun today!”

Brayden walked into his classroom and put down his backpack.

“Bye, buddy!” I called, waiting expectantly at the door for him to say goodbye.

He turned and gave a lackluster wave.

I kept the smile plastered on my face until Anna and I were outside, then let it out with a long sigh.

My boy had better start liking school. And I had better start getting up earlier. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long year. Not to mention, a long decade or two.




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