back to school – the good, the early and the need for a bottomless bank account

So, six weeks of summer school holidays are drawing to a close. Six weeks. Two thirds of a school term. Four boys. Christmas. Humidity. Heat.

Yes, that is a recipe for me to up my meds but this year, I don’t know, I’m full of anticipation, excitement and well, enthusiasm for the year ahead. I can not recall EVER feeling that way about a year ahead. No really. Normally it’s resignation, foreboding and grim determination. I am making sure I really enjoy this feeling, relishing it even for I know how quickly it can all go south.

And yes, last summer holidays were spent with me yelling at the children and the children being generally vile. These holidays had us tripping off to the beach at a moment’s notice, trips to the movies, spontaneous holidays at my Dad’s place, various catch-ups with friends and while there was quite the hiccup over Christmas and days when the children have done my head in and moments when I have desperately needed time out, I can confidently say these holidays have flown.

And so here we are.

Felix is back at school on Monday.

Oscar goes Tuesday, more on that in a moment.

Jasper goes up to school on Monday morning for his kindergarten assessment and then starts at 10am on Thursday.

Grover starts pre-school on Thursday (he’ll go two days a week Thurs-Fri this year, three days next year and then school in 2013).

I just had a phone call from one Mrs J – Oscar’s bus driver. He will be picked up and dropped off every day from school by Mrs J who tells me she’s been doing this for 21 years. About the best way to sum of Mrs J is to think of Patty or Selma, throw in the phrase she used: a short pencil is better than a long memory and there you have it. I imagine Mrs J has quite the fag habit from dealing with these kids for more than 20 years and is probably fairly partial to a stiff scotch at the end of each day. ┬áBless her.

But there is, of course, a catch when sponging off the tax payers for a government bus service. Oscar will get picked up each morning at … 6:50am. We’ve no idea when he’ll get dropped home as he is the first pick up in the morning and the last drop-off in the afternoon so I’m guessing he may be home before nightfall. Just.

Now this may have some parents moaning and groaning about how long a day that is for poor little Johnny/Clarabel but not us! A) Oscar is STOKED it’s a bus (14 seater apparently), B) Finally Oscar’s penchant for getting up at 5am will pay handsome dividends and C) it makes my mornings and indeed afternoons a HELL of a lot easier. Point C) is bad isn’t it. That I’m happy to have my kid out of the house so I can deal with the other three. But folks. You’ve gotta cut me some slack. Getting Oscar ready is a nightmare at the best of times. Having to have him ready super early – basically before everyone else is even awake – is ideal. No distractions, no hyper-stimulation, just get ready, have breaky, go and wait out the front. Awesome.

Of course, back to school also means highway robbery a trip to the shoe shop. Last year Felix wore through four yes FOUR pairs of cheap sneakers (aka joggers, trainers, runners) and Oscar went through two pairs. I decided this year to fork out the expense for the, well, more expensive ones in the vein hope they will withstand the daily assault my children seem to inflict on them.

Jasper got proper school shoes (as opposed to reinforced fuck-off stitched black sneakers to look like school shoes for Felix) and Oscar. Well. Oscar has two options:

1. To wear his AFOs (plastic leg splints which cover 2/3 of his lower legs and feet, aka superlegs) with cheap black sneakers from target and swelter all day (when his body does not process or withstand over-heating) or

2. To wear outrageously expensive highly supportive black Brooks sneakers.

For the last four years – ever since he’s had his superlegs – I have gone with option 1. So this year I went bugger it and went with option 2. Post surgery was the main reason – but also that he’s now in highschool and I want him to feel good about himself, not hot and about to pass out.

There are a few minor issues here – Oscar is now a men’s size 8 1/2 and Felix, at age 10? Felix is a men’s 9 1/2. You know what that means? You know, adult shoe size = adult shoe prices.

I’ll be raiding the kids’ money boxes for milk and bread money scrounging down the back of the lounge for loose change in the corner weeping.

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  • jac

    8 1/2? 9 1/2? how can that even BE? They’re not putting both feet in the same shoe, are they?!

    • it scares me. Completely. I mean Felix is TEN. TEN! I figure if Chef is a 13-14 I need to just suck it up.

  • Sounds like school is terribly expensive! I am ambivalent about uniforms. My brother just forked out over $1000 for a set for his son (private school), and that’s not including shoes, laptops, texts, train tickets etc. Being an opp shop shopper I am finding this hard to get my head around. Fortunately Crusoe’s new school is fairly relaxed around uniforms, so anything navy and red will do for now, and only a few ‘official’ things for excursions.
    Jenny C (@jayjaycee1) recently posted..Favorite things

    • Oscar’s uniform came in at just under $700. And I got the bear bear minimum. Horrifying.

  • I think option C sounds fantastic – I’d be signing up for it, even if it wasn’t offered. I hear you on the shoes, last lot I bought were also the expensive kind and aside from needing a repair job on the velcro strap on Wil’s they have held up way better. Mind you Wil then got a serious hankering for green shoes (why? WHY??). When I took Amy to get her some new elastic sided boots at KMart they had, I kid you not, canvas sneakers in no other colour but GREEN for $5 in his size and the size up. Capitalism seriously fucks with my head.
    sooz recently posted..dyeing

    • Exactly. I am hoping that haemorrhaging money now will stop the slow leak throughout the year.

      Green shoes hey. That’s my boy.

  • OH DUDE. I remember well the day when we realized our boy child could no longer fit into boy-sized clothes/shoes and that we would have to start paying. out. the. nose. for men’s sizes. In EVERYTHING. And he is still growing! So I buy him six pairs of jeans to get through his school week, and six months later he needs six more pairs at $30US a pop. And he wears a men’s US size 11.5 shoe. Yeah. KILL ME NOW.
    Badger recently posted..I really need to start carrying Rescue Remedy in my purse

    • You know, if I had to factor in the boys wearing ‘normal’ clothes to school I’d have to retire to the top paddock with a shotgun. I mean, private school uniform costs are outrageous and public school ones not ideal but still, two shirts, two pairs of shorts and grey socks and you’re away. For the whole year.

  • Mrs Woog

    School shoes will be forcing me into the red all year. I am a quality over price girl, but the bill this year made me weep. WEEP.

    • I have done the expensive and done the cheap. I am going back to the expensive. But MAN – the wallet is hurting. Three pairs of school shoes and one pair of sneakers has me at $550.

  • AS we type, son and father are out doing the school shoe thing…I could not face it. I know no matter how many dollars we strap onto his feet and about his body, in three weeks , maybe four, he will look like a hobo.
    And option C is a blessing babe! Grab it with both hands.
    jodie recently posted..there is a winner

    • I’ve done the shoe thing for all four kids who will be at school this year. I did the Myer school shoes fitting and runners for the youngest 3 with 25% off – 6 pairs for $335, then two adult pairs for the eldest who also wears school shoes for work – $189. Don’t ask me what I spent on uniforms. The bus trip for Oscar sounds great and should make mornings a bit easier for all the other drop offs.
      rachelmp recently posted..My Creative Space Wonky Butterfly Quilt

      • Oh yes, the uniforms… and next week will be all the stationary. Oy.

      • And that Myer deal sounds pretty darn good to me – totally missed that one. I went the Athlete’s Foot option this year – not having the stomach for Shoes & Sox with their appalling condescending staff and gagillion people.

    • that is it – pure and simple. Felix will be looking suitably hobo at exactly the same time. I could never understand why parents let their kids where sneakers to school or some other cheap alternative. But now, NOW I totally get it.

    • that is it – pure and simple. Felix will be looking suitably hobo at exactly the same time. I could never understand why parents let their kids where sneakers to school or some other cheap alternative. But now, NOW I totally get it.