Back to school 2022 feels normal again, more like 2021. Which is a far cry from 2020 but back to how 2019 was. It’s been sort of normal, at least it’s only been 5 weeks away from their friends compared to the 20 or so in 2020. Next year will be very different again, with large boy off to secondary school and small boy going to primary on his own.
Here’s how we prepared for R-day, returning to school.
R minus 5 weeks
After last year’s ridiculous Smiggle purchase that ended up not fitting into large boy’s locker, we assessed the school bag situation early. Small boy had a new one for his birthday in June (cunning parents) and large boy’s was deemed suitable to last another year. It’s bog standard Decathlon rucksack that we equally use for days out and bike rides but has plenty of pockets and the mesh side bits haven’t (quite) given in to the rigors of large boy’s water bottle yet. Straight after the end of term, I went through all their clothes and wrote a list of what we would need to buy after holiday, I also booked their shoe fitting at John Lewis.
R minus 3 weeks
In some fit of organizational prowess, I went back-to-school shopping more than a week before the end of holidays. At John Lewis the shoe purchasing was less painful that expected. I sensibly had a booked slot and remembered to take their shoes from last year with us. Large boy had new shoes during the summer term and hadn’t had another growth spurt so we managed to avoid getting him any. Small boy’s shoes from last year had lasted a whole year, so they were battered and scruffy and definitely too small. He’s gone up 1.5 sizes since last September but I bought a half size too big since then, so his shoes were only one size too small (they must have been a bit uncomfortable in July). We bought the size up again and he chose some that reminded him of tractor tyres, probably a good move.
Next up was Sainsburys for navy sweaters and large boy needed shirts, plus small boy spotted a water bottle that he wanted, no dark grey age 11 shorts though. We had lunch in the cafe. The boys grumped at the lack of TGI Fridays this year, but we were a bit early and that’s where himself caught COVID in February, so I’ve been a bit put off (not rational I know). Then the last stop was Decathlon where we needed trainers for both of them, plus rugby kit and boots and ended up getting PE shorts too as they did the right shade of blue. We also needed some bits for camping at Silverstone the following weekend.
After getting home, we traipsed round our local supermarket for the food shop, no shorts for large boy there either. He’ll just have to cope with what he’s got.
R minus 5 days
I did one last check that we have everything we need. Large boy promises no pencil cases are required. We haven’t had a timetable yet but we know they’re both have PE twice a week in short sessions instead of one long one. I just hope their tee shirts fit and I get the chance to wash them between sessions, if not it’ll be Amazon to the rescue.
R minus 2 days
Ah the ironing and the labeling. Who doesn’t love all that stuff?! Me! Eugh, all the new shirts are ironed, the few pairs of shorts that have been sitting in the basket since July got the once over too. I didn’t bother with jumpers…. of which, more later.
R minus 1 day
We set out the bags in the hall, hang coats at the end of the stairs. Large boy makes his packed lunch and contributes the easy bits to small boy’s lunch box. After four years in early years and key stage one, the free hot lunches have come to an end. As parents who hate making lunches (don’t we all), we’ve taken the “you need to do you own now large boy and since you’re doing it anyway, you can do your brother’s too”. He’s not impressed and it may not last but so far so good.
The alarm went off at 7am as usual, but I let the boys sleep. It was Labor Day in the USA so none of my colleagues (and certainly not my manager) would notice if I started at 9am instead of 7.30am. So I checked my emails and dealt with urgent things before getting the boys breakfast. Over the cereals I realised that I hadn’t polished their shoes. Large boy’s were looking a bit battered next to small boy’s new ones, so I gave them a thorough scrub with the liquid polish. Lunches, snacks and water bottles went into their bags. I had to retie large boy’s tie at least three times before I got the length right; he claimed it hadn’t been undone since last September.
Before heading off to school (earlier than usual as the government has decided the children need to do more learning), I take all the obligatory photos of them in front of our hedge. Only when I post them to Facebook to I realise their jumpers are awfully crumpled and they looked like an elephant has been using them for a bed all summer. Oops.
After work, I collected them from after school club. The staff didn’t know not to expect large boy on Thursday as he’ll be walking home (I’ll need to call the office as the email must have got lost in the swamp of many other such communications). But, they didn’t lose anything and both seemed happy enough. Well, right up until I checked Dojo and found large boy had lost three points for talking in class. No screen time for him, not a great start to the year!
Definitely back to business as usual.
How was yours?