Today was one of those Army-style days. We accomplished more before lunch than we usually get done in a week.
Item 1: One adult and four children arrived at an 8:10 a.m. orthodontist appointment ten -- count them TEN-- minutes early. Under any circumstances, I would consider this an outstanding accomplishment, particularly when the appointment is a 20 minute drive away and the kids don't get up until 7:15. However, I am one of those people who believes, in direct contradiction of all the evidence I have ever seen in my life, that time can be compressed to suit my schedule. I also believe that I always have time to do "just one more thing" before I have to go. In short, I am always late. Compounding this problem is the fact that 3/4 of my children are cut from the same cloth and one is a toddler to boot (the Other One is chronically and painfully punctual and has found a way to make this otherwise fine characteristic a thorn in my side, but I won't go into this right now). So the fact that we were not only on time but early and for an early appointment, on a Monday, is nothing less than stellar. Yay me.
Item 2: One adult and four children, some of whom were slightly dazed by the exact monetary figures being proposed by said orthodontist (curse him and all his heirs and assigns), then went to a cozy coffee shop for breakfast. The total cost for feeding five people bagels, coffee, juice, a muffin and some crumb cake was a mere $13 and change. And we didn't spill any food and no one had to leave with their hands over their ears because we were so loud, because we weren't. Well, except maybe for one slightly sour looking gentleman, but I think he was going anyway.
Item 3: We went school shopping. In the space of one hour and 15 minutes, we fully equipped three students for the start of school. Nothing in the store was broken and no one had to sit in time out, although there was an unfortunate incident with a young man in the process of potty training. The people at the store were fairly good humored about it and we did have an emergency pullup in the van so no one had to go naked. All children immediately rose to the occasion by fetching items from the van, alerting the store personnel, and removing their sopping wet shoes. I didn't think to get a picture of Mr. Potty in his post-incident outfit (shirt, pullup and nothing else). Financially, however, the school shopping experience was only slightly less shocking than the orthodontist visit. First grade: $27. Fine, I'm good with that. Fourth grade: $47. Not as good, but still about $10 less than the cost of the "convenient" supply package the PTA was offering. Sixth grade: $100. WTF!?!?!? $100? What is going on here? And we're not done because the school "strongly recommends" an item called the locker ladder, which supposedly will set me back another $20 or so. Yikes! Still, I want my sixth grader to feel good about the start of her middle school career, so I will try to focus on the amazing fact that we managed to mostly complete school shopping before 10:45 on a Monday morning. And I will not buy her so much as another pen until she goes to college.
Item 4: A fourth grader was deposited at band camp within 4 minutes of the stated start time. I consider this a miracle in light of the preceding three events. And she had fun there and came out with a spiffy clarinet--courtesy of the school--and a big smile.
Item 5: During band camp, my very favorite first grader learned to ride his bike. Yes. Really. This is huge. HUUUUUUUUUUGGGE. The kids is 6 years and 9 months old and until this very day has had absolutely no success at bike riding. This is a tremendous shame because we have some fabulous places to ride and -- before now -- we could go only if Good Old Dad was available to tow Nate on the tag along. But no more! To be sure, there is some refinement needed. But the kid actually rode a bike and I am thrilled. Here is the man in action:
As if all of this were not enough, I took my kids to the playground. Admittedly, this was to kill time during band camp, but I still think it counts. By 1:00 we were home, having accomplished all this. The afternoon was a little quiet, but we topped off the day by building a compost bin so that I can finally clean out the garage. Sounds like a non-sequitur, but it is absolutely true and it makes perfect sense when you remember that the chickens lived in the garage up until last week. Unfortunately, it is now 8:15 and I've been ignoring the dinner timer for a few minutes. Time to go rescue the ravioli and feed the troops so they can be ready for another day.