36/52 – Neutral
Neutral isn’t a term I really relate to. When I think of the word it conjures up driving. Neutral is the temporary state you put your car in during the transition from moving forwards to moving backwards, or vice versa. I suppose neutral is also a blanket term to coin a colour palette.
None of these things captured my imagination sufficiently, so taking the liberty to go off theme with my weekly photo.
Tuesday was the first day of school. I have three kids now in grade 11, grade 9 and in the toddler room in the daycare. The middle child changed schools entirely, while the eldest and youngest children changed levels in school.
One of our family traditions is to take a first day of school photo, much to my kiddos chagrin. That being said, everyone cooperated for the first time in history. Even the Doodle did. I told them all to smile. Bella and Bubaloo gave me a nice expression and made eye contact with the camera. The Doodle, on the other hand, smiled a scrunched up eyes closed smile. She’s never smiled on command before and it was possibly the cutest thing ever.
There was no hitting, no temper tantrums, and no fuss. It’s almost like it wasn’t the first day of school.
Bella was over-the-moon excited for school, and Bubaloo was sort-of dreading it. The Doodle didn’t really understand that the day after the long-weekend meant she’d be now full-time in toddler-ville.
Family dinners are so much more entertaining now that the big kids talk about their days again. That’s mostly because they did something that day. The last two weeks of the summer where they were home with no scheduled activities made for some pretty dry dinner conversation.
We would ask, “What did you do today?” The stock reply was, “Nothing.” Or we’d hear simple nondescript answers about how they played video games, did chores, read a book, or slept. If we were really lucky we’d hear about the intricacies of minecraft for a billion hours or every single minute detail of a book that was being read. There was more conversational pain than joy in these last few weeks of the summer.
It’s great to laugh with the kids and hear about their social antics. Bella spent pretty much her entire period looking for a room which doesn’t actually exist. Bubaloo likes school for the first time ever. There’s been some pretty big scheduling snafus and there are kids without any classes at their school, or classes that consist of 1 teacher and 1 student.
My favourite story of the back-to-school routine doesn’t belong to any of our kids or myself. It belongs to Otto.
After dropping the kids off at their high school, and getting the Doodle to daycare, Otto proceeded to spill an entire latte down her white blouse while driving in to work. She was already running late and was so very close to her office when the incident occurred.
Otto stopped at the closest store to buy a replacement shirt. Only, the sole store near her office is G.iant Tiger which is like a step up from the dollar store but not quite a Ze.llers (or I guess a Wal.mart or Tar.get for my American friends). G.iant Tiger isn’t a bastion of dress clothes.
In a pinch, a men’s white undershirt was what Otto managed to pick up. It would work okay with the dress pants and vest that she had on. It was corporate passable.
Otto called me at my office to relate the story. It was hilarious, and I was laughing pretty hard. And then the story got better.
The shirt was still off gassing. Otto was complaining about the stink and getting high from the fumes. She had to tell the story of how a blouse became an undershirt at every meeting she had that day to explain why she reeked like factory chemicals.