Back to School Frazzles

2012-08-27_17-09-49_176“MARCH!” I screamed. “M-A-R-C-H. MARCH!”

It started the day before when I noticed Bug coughing a bit. Oh, who am I kidding? It started earlier this summer when I didn’t plan ahead for work or when I ignored all of the paperwork and STUFF. Or perhaps it started when I decided it was a good idea to have kids. Who knows?

The past two weeks have been crazy. I’ve been juggling two kids, two vacations in Maine, all of the paperwork/shopping/prep that goes into back-to-school, conference planning, and my day-to-day work. So with everything going on, I was glad to have a day at home before school started to label backpacks, complete paperwork, and do some food shopping. But that morning Bug woke up with sniffles and a frequent, shallow cough. First of all, who gets a cold the day before school starts? But more importantly, I recognize that cough. It’s the asthma he sometimes gets when he catches a cold. He’s got an inhaler he takes twice a day during the school year to help prevent this very thing, but we haven’t started yet because school hasn’t started.

If this were any other day, it would be no big deal. We treat it with albuterol and a nebulizer and within 24-36 hours, his breathing stabilizes. But I don’t have another day. So I drag my sick kid (and my sassy daughter) to the school open house to meet his teacher and tour the school. Plus, I need to talk to the school nurse who I know will be on hand. The open house started at 5pm, right when any sick kid is at their most miserable. And just as Bug’s last nebulizer treatment is running out. Poor Bug met his first grade teacher looking like a wilted flower with glassy eyes and a somewhat vacant gaze. I explained the situation and she was very kind to him, but it was still pretty sad. He felt too miserable to even greet his friends with any enthusiasm.

At the end of the open house, I headed to the nurse’s office. She was waiting on an Epi-pen (which I still needed to pick up from the pharmacy) and a variety of other things, plus I needed to check-in about Bug’s asthma. It happens so infrequently that we’ve typically just kept him home, or have treated it over a weekend, but I really didn’t want him to miss his first day of school. She told me that she has a nebulizer, but that we needed to send in the albuterol with a prescription and a note from the doctor. No problem, right? Except that we never had a prescription for the albuterol – it had been given to us at emergency appointments – and, as it turns out, it was expired anyway. Really expired. I actually had the note from the doctor, which should have been the trickiest part of the situation.

It was too late to call either of Bug’s doctors, so I just tried to put it all out of my mind that evening. I ran out to the supermarket to restock the refrigerator and then zipped over the pharmacy to pick up – get this – $600+ in medications for my son, none of which were the medicine he needed.

By the time I got home, this kids had eaten dinner and Bug had his nebulizer treatment. He was just sitting down to complete his summer homework, a set of daily math problems that we left until the last minute to complete (are you sensing a theme?). Big Guy was supposed to be helping, but he had wandered off to clean the kitchen. LadyBug was making it her mission to distract her brother, and I was attempting to figure out what time we needed to get him to the bus stop in the morning. It was loud (at least, for me), and crazy, and my patience was frayed. The very last math problem, conjured up by someone who clearly has it out for 1st grade parents, was to list the months of the year. In writing. Now I’m sure that there are plenty of little genius 1st graders who can spell all of the months of the year, but my little guy isn’t one of them. Heck, I know adults who can’t spell them. So, as all of the hustle and bustle is going on around me, I’m trying to shout the spelling of the words to my kid, who keeps getting confused. And as skilled as I generally am with my spelling, it’s actually kind of tricky to spell long words slowly, especially while you read through bus schedules, and try to ignore the fact that your sound sensitivity is rebelling against the noise.

Bug initially spelled March something like “Mauth,” which is a testament to the strength of a Massachusetts accent. But after I spelled March 3 or 4 times slowly, I lost it.

“MARCH!” I screamed. “M-A-R-C-H. MARCH!” I then, as nicely as possible, suggested that my husband stop cleaning and find a way to entertain our daughter so that our son could finish is damn (ahem) homework. I’m pretty sure that Bug misspelled April, but I was too frazzled by that point to care. [*Side note to the math coordinator at the school. Kindly take note that my son has finished his (optional) summer homework while struggling to breathe with the expectation that he will get a prize at the end. Please do not disappoint him.]

I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come for this school year…

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