I Will Not Blame You If You Pity Me

For two whole hours last night I was all by myself. The boys went to church for their respective Wednesday night activities, but since choir doesn’t start for me until next week, I stayed home.

Oh sweet freedom, I adore you.

My first order of alone-time business was to call my sister. After we were sufficiently caught up on the events of the last couple of days, I called my friend Laura, who was kind enough not to laugh when I admitted that trying to keep up with what Alex needs for preschool everyday stresses me out just a little bit. I mean, I do pretty well when he only has to take a snack and some juice, but when I have to start rounding up Things That Are Yellow or A Small Green Toy, I get a little twitchy.

And yet somehow I made it through college.

Yesterday was especially nerve-wracking because Alex brought home the Letter Bucket. He was so excited about this special privilege that I’m fairly confident the people six cars behind us heard him yell “MAMA! I HAVE THE LETTER BUCKET!” when I picked him up from school.

But I have to tell you: the sight of said bucket made me hyperventilate just a little bit because, HELLO, have you ever tried to fill up a large bucket with objects that start with the “aaaaah” sound?

I promise you that it’s more difficult than anything I did in graduate school.

In fact, yesterday afternoon I actually tried to convince Alex that a plastic rhinoceros was a plastic antelope, because THEN WE COULD PUT IT IN THE LETTER BUCKET, YOU SEE.

But he would have nothing to do with my attempts to alter the animal kingdom, nor did he buy my argument that perhaps we were looking at the elusive and somewhat rare antenoceros, which, oddly enough, seems to thrive only in the wicker basket habitat of our playroom.

(By the way, in a moment of utter “aaaaah” desperation I tried to put a container of Accent Flavor Enhancer in the Letter Bucket.)

(D convinced me that it might not be a wise idea to send some sort of MSG-laden seasoning to Alex’s school.)

(I still contend that a heaping teaspoon of salty Accent goodness might be just the thing to liven up the four year-olds’ mid-morning snacks.)

Anyway, right as I was about to hang up from my conversation with Laura, I took a look at Alex’s class calendar for this week, and I realized that he needed something from our yard to take to school today. Once I came to grips with the fact that THE LETTER BUCKET, IT IS NOT THE ONLY ASSIGNMENT, I spent the next several seconds wondering if we’re even remotely cut out for this whole pre-kindergarten thing.

Maybe Alex could just live off the land or something.

But my wave of parental inadequacy passed, so I went outside and found a stickish / shrubbish / greenish / limbish item for him to share with his classmates. Once I walked back in the house and crammed the nature-y thing into Alex’s bookbag, I sat down on the sofa and prepared to savor my remaining hour and fifteen minutes of solitude.

Here is a brief list of the activities I contemplated:

1) writing a blog post
2) conducting some extensive, scholarly research for our next podcast
3) reading a book
4) singing a moving rendition of “On My Own” from Les Miserables
5) staring at my roots and wishing they were more blonde

Numbers four and five were especially appealing.

But instead, I chose the following:

1) watching High School Musical 2 for the third or fifty-second time
2) rewinding the basketball dance part – AGAIN AND AGAIN

I have no valid defense for my actions.

I can only tell you that, for whatever reason, High School Musical 2 proved to be a source of great comfort to me. I needed to decompress, to unwind, to relax, and somehow watching young Zac Efron emote teenage angst with great, intentional fervor – well, it was a balm for my aaaaah-ravaged soul.

I was just so grateful.

Or aaaaah-ppreciative, as it were.

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  1. I love when their homework becomes OUR homework!!! I don’t even think I did half of what my kids brought home for homework last year. Oh well…… I would have sat by you and watched High School Musical 2 wit ya,

  2. Oh, my dear woman……..how I long for those early days. I now have a senior and a freshman……

  3. This makes me think of Big Mama and her quest to make the Wizard of Oz float.

  4. Oooh! I’ll take care of #4 for you! “On my own, pretending he’s beside me! All alone, I walk with him till morning…”
    Love love love that song. Poor Eponine. :(

  5. Thanks for the warning about pre-school. I better start stacking stuff up now so we are prepared. :-)

  6. Boo–

    Do you really like the 2nd HSM better than the first? Say it ain’t so…

    I was disappointed by how grown up they made the second one, and frankly, I really didn’t need to see THAT much of Sharpay’s cleavage. Neither did my husband or kids for that matter!

    I did like the baseball song, but the first movie is so much cuter and cleaner.

    Speaking of Zack Efron– go to youtube and type in “the sound of music and high school musical”– there is an absolutely hilarious video!

    But, I wouldn’t recommend you read the comments, or your gray hair– well lets just say there won’t be enough hair dye to help!

  7. On my own…pretending he’s beside me.

    All alone. I walk with him till morning.

    Without him, i feel his arms around me. and when i lose my way i close my eyes and he has found me.

    One of my all time faves.

    Great. Now this will be in my head ALL day :)

  8. I can empathize… I’ve sat for a few minutes really thinking hard and the only things I can come up with around here that would go into that bucket are an apple and some Advil. Not much of a haul.

  9. Take a deep breath Boomama… Come on… let me see you slow down and take a deep breath… now inhale and exhale… slowly… now, that should help a little, but if it doesn’t, go straight to the TV and watch the basketball scene again. Okay, now that you’re calm, I’ll let you in on a little secret… it only gets worse from here! Just wait until you have to wait until your husband gets home because you just don’t know how to explain a math problem to your 3rd grader!!! And I homeschool these kids!! (with a lot of help, but still the point is I couldn’t explain a word problem to a 3rd grader!!!). And wait until you have Mealworm completing it’s life cycle on your kitchen counter or you have a tree limb in your front yard covered in tin foil for yet another science experiement!!! Okay, now I’m taking the deep breath.. 10,9,8,7,6… okay I’m calming down. Welcome to world of higher education!

    Georgia Mom

  10. I really don’t understand how “we” have so many projects! Just get ready girl! I remember when a couple of my kids’ teachers would assign “family projects”. The whole family had to decorate something with things you can rarely find. I appreciate the sentiment of them wanting us to all spend quality time together, but some of us do already and don’t need extra projects. Sorry….I am now officially off of my soapbox!

    Funny, this morning on my errands I was just singing along loudly to the HSM2 cd in my car. I had this thought all of a sudden about me being a 42 yo mother and I think I turn that CD on more than my kids!! I have to admit, I do love me some HSM2. I did tell my daughter the other day that I could see where the tweens and teens would think he’s cute and he does sing well, but his acting is just not great in my book. (That hasn’t stopped me from watching it any though!)

    Have a good day!

  11. Oh, BooMama, I do feel for you. I’d also like to thank you, since your podcast I picked up some demure lip gloss for myself. I’m enjoying it. :)

  12. Check out disney.com. I saw an ad wile I was watching HSM2 and supposedly they are going to be showing a DANCE ALONG(!) version of the movie this weekend and if you go online you can download the instructions for the choreography! Woohoo!

  13. Girl you are a MESS!! I just adore your writing!! It always give me a good laugh!!

  14. Aww, and here I thought you’d be scrapbooking with your spare time! ;-)

  15. Do you like to fill out forms by hand? If so, I will be glad to fill the letter bucket in exchange for all the forms I posted in my blog today.

  16. We don’t have the letter bucket but we have the letter of the week show and tell. Either way, it’s of the devil.

    I can’t tell you how many mornings I have spent looking for something in our house that starts with X or Z.

  17. Hee hee hee hee….i think we all related to every ounce of everything you said. Its hard bein a boomama….i mean mama.

  18. My personal fav is “Work this Out”. I have GOT to learn that dance!

    HSM2 is on my TiVO, and I am DYING to know when it comes out on DVD.

    I feel like we need to start a support group for grown-ups who can’t get enough of HSM. “Hello, my name is chick and I am a HSM-aholic.”

  19. Oh my goodness! I said the same thing the other day. Pre-K is stressing me out! It is something different every day. Yesterday, it was “Bring an “A” item to school”. Luckily, he just got an alligator puppet last weekend :-) It’s something every day.

  20. My sad confession: I’m 26, have no children, live in a cute apartment outside the city of St. Louis, and I *heart* HSM and HSM2. And I watch it. By myself. With no kids around. And no kids to blame it on. And I want to learn the dance moves, too.

    Oh, and I drove 4 hours to Kansas City to go to the concert in January with my niece. I took a day of vacation for it.

    I’m either the coolest aunt in the world, or a very pathetic (but blissfully unaware and Disney-happy) 26 year old.

  21. Contemplating putting Accent in the letter basket… that made me double over in glee.

  22. I’m relieved to hear that I’m not the only one who belts out “On my Own” when I am alone.

    Thanks for the laugh.

  23. try having a kid whose name starts with the letter “Q”. He had maybe three things in his letter bucket. The only ones I remember are a Q-tip and the plastic letter Q magnet off the fridge. I’m such the overacheiving mom.

  24. Just be glad you saw the calendar BEFORE you dropped him off. Twice, I’ve remembered (in one case, I still say I never got the note – he must have gone to his dad’s that day) picture day in the middle of the afternoon when it was WAY too late. Ooh, now that I think about it, it’s been 3 times counting the basketball pictures last spring! Man! Now, I really feel bad.

  25. We listen to the cd EVERY day in the car to and from school – and this is with a 3 and 4 year old. They know the words and so do I now. It’s actually pretty catchy and mindless that it’s enjoyable.

  26. Don’t cha just love finding things for “Show and Tell”?

    Hope you had a relaxing evening….I still have yet to see either of the High School Musicals.

  27. “Maybe Alex could just live off the land or something.”

    Haven’t we been eating our Funny-O’s this week??!!

    My chest is hurting!

  28. I love reading your blogs, you are hilarious! What a blessing to make us moms laught!!!

  29. That school stuff…it only gets “bigger” as they get “bigger”. And wait until he wants to sign up for things outside of school that require “more time, responsibility and things”. Don’t even get me started. More power to you, friend. :-)

  30. Maybe Alex could just live off the land….I laughed out loud! Thanks, I needed that!

  31. As a homeschool Mom, I guarantee I will not force myself to EVER fill a Letter Bucket.

    But I may require a HSM dance-a-thon to cover gym class.

    We’ll do the sports sequences a few times.

  32. I have to admit it. When I want to “veg” I will sit down and watch HSM 1 or 2 with the nephew. I particularly like the song “I Don’t Dance”. The one they do during the baseball game. I could totally do without “Sharpees” song by the pool though. Unfortunately, the nephew LOVES it.

  33. Hey, Sophie, hope you have a great time in Nashville too! If you need someone to sit with, let me know. I’m going with a whole busload of women & we always have room for one more.

    Sorry about your roots. I just got my hair cut shorter, so you might not recognize me now. There will be so many women there, I doubt we’ll pass each other, but you never know. I know it’s going to be great! Can’t wait!

    Sorry about your roots:( You might want to try it at home sometimes. It’s not that hard.

    I had to laugh when I saw your email in the church bulletin..if anyone was wondering who BooMama was, that was a dead giveaway, LOL.

    See ya! Rhoda

  34. I guess you’ve already heard from some other commentators here that this is only the beginning of fun school-ly type stuff you will get to do as you happily help your child in his quest for learning :) Good luck!

  35. …and I thought the toddler years were rough…

    Whew! Again I say, what am I in for???

  36. In Kindergarten I was the room mom and I ignorantly, I mean graciously volunteered to help bring snacks for the letter of the day. That would be 26 snacks. We had a time trying to come up with “Q” and then I had the genius idea of bringing in quesadillas. Hey! They could work on Spanish, too.
    The “from the freezer” quesadillas were apparently too spicy for the young crowd. One kid cried. The next day I brought in homemade ones to atone for my crime. They loved them.

  37. Thanks a lot. You’re bringing back memories I’d successfully managed to put into big black holes in my mind. But hey! If you survive pre-kindergarten, you’re good to go. Everything else will seem easy.

  38. I remember the letter bucket! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. It.goes.so.fast. But you’ve been told that. I know…

  39. I understand the anxiety…and find I’m greatly lacking in all the “fun” things for school. I know it’s great and bonding with your child. It’s like you were saying about painting and crafts, I find that I get overwhelmed and beyond my patience in a hurry. Then I find all of a sudden, I’m in the school-groove again.
    Praying for an awesome weekend!!!

  40. My girl was the only child the first day of Kindergarten who didn’t have her “special” animal or a picture of her family. You would never know this is my THIRD time at it! But she did get to be the special one on the second day of school…because she did bring those things, and suprisingly enough, she actually chose a family picture with me in it…I guess I didn’t win the worst mom of the year award after all!

  41. you know what, though, boomama?

    i am thinking that sending in accent with alex would have alerted his teacher to the fact that he would need to be screened for the gifted class!

    i mean, honestly. i think that would have been the hit of the class. ’cause you know nobody else would have had it!



  42. i think the homework is only going to get worse so buck up. you’ll be an old pro at it in no time.

  43. I just came from the genius boys open house:
    Market Day
    Scholastic Books
    Gym Day
    Computer Lab
    Teacher conferences
    Science Day
    Gym Day again
    Healthy snack everyday
    Spoon for jello in lunchbox
    Dress him in t-shirts [classroom is an inferno]
    I am barely able to remember if I dropped him off at Grandma’s in the morning!

  44. You just need a bigger bucket.

    For A-Alex. :-)

  45. You made me laugh so hard. As the mother of 5 children who currently go to 4 different schools, I hate to tell you, but you aint seen nothin yet. Just remember, try not to sweat the small stuff, and when it comes to school, most of it is. You will be a pro in no time.

    HSM2 was great. I have watched it a bunch of times to. My daughter tells me the girls at school have all memorized the dance steps to the basketball dance, they do it at lunch together.

    I think you should seriously consider going to the website and downloading the steps. You and BigMama could practice, tape record the whole thing, and have a live telecast on your blog. Of course, I guess one of us would actually have to buy a plane ticket so you two could get together at the same place to practice. I’ll have to think about that one. lol.


  46. My 3 year old has, “wear blue day” tomorrow. The only crazy thing is every Monday Weds. and Friday till Christmas has a “wear blank day” beside it. I rolled over laughing when I got the calendar, knowing that remembering to put underwear on her is a struggle for me. Praise the lord for you tonight …. I am not the only one who dreads the preschool calendar.

  47. “Or aaaaah-ppreciative, as it were.”

    I didn’t even see that one coming! Man, you got me good there. Laughed outloud! = )

  48. Aaaaaah-ll I can say is, I’m glad I had a plethora of junk happy meal toys when we were learning our alphabet and color words!

  49. These hair roots are really causing problems. This morning I was to go with my husband to meet an important client. I should have had my roots done last week. And of course today, I have flat hair that made those gray roots just dazzle. I got my son’s brown crayola marker and just took the sheen right off that gray. Not perfect, but at least people were talking to my face rather than my part.

  50. Can I just say that, in my mind’s eye, you and I will be dancing together come Saturday night during the “learn to dance like HSM2” special episode?

    You may THINK you’re going to be at Deeper Still bein’ all spiritual and stuff- but, in your heart, you’re standing right there next to me with a big ole’ basketball.

    Oh Yes, Ma’am.

    You am.

  51. Hey, at least he brought home only The Letter Bucket. My brother brought home The Guinea Pig–who ended up living with us for four years :)

  52. My baby brought home the letter bucket when they were on “U.” What else besides Underwear? Be thankful for “A.”

  53. Am I the only one that seen High School Musical 2? Yes, I think I am.

    The letter bucket? AAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
    It’s too hard! But we had H (difficult, believe it or not) and the dreaded letter, X.

  54. Did the letter bucket make it to school? Because the only thing worse than filling the bucket, is leaving it on the kitchen counter and not realizing it until precious child has been dropped off and faced the disappointment of not returning the coveted item. Not that I have ever forgotten anything, of course. Or been the only mom who forgot to show up for the rock and gem show in 4th grade. Or forgot to send lunch money on pizza day. No, not me, I could never do those things. Ahem.

  55. Janet (aka JT) says:

    This will make you feel better about your life:

    I am 8 months pregnant, which means I have pregnancy hormones out the wazoo, which means I can cry at the drop of a hat and then, while the tears are still falling, become so enraged that my penetrating stare can make the paint fall right off the walls.

    I’m a lot of fun right now.

    And this year, ALL 3 of my children are in school. So each afternoon at 3:05pm, the bus drops them at the front door, and in an explosion the likes of which rivals Hiroshima, I have 3 children ALLTALKINGATTHESAMETIME with very important information to give me and then 3 sets of homework to get through. THREE SETS. And my oldest has ADD, so he needs a second round of meds with his snack so that I’m not dictating spelling words to a child spinning around the room whilst hanging from the ceiling fan. Add to that the fact that my children actually found a frog at school yesterday AND BROUGHT IT HOME ON THE SCHOOL BUS. So we could have a pet.

    I often find myself lying awake at night, wondering why I ever, ever thought having sex was a good idea.

    Feeling better?

  56. I must be the only mother on the planet who hasn’t seen HSM 2. I’m such a loser.

    I learned quickly to foist all those tasks onto my kids. My son gets his school stuff together, and I just review it to make sure he followed directions. I figure that I already did school – I don’t want to go back to do it again if I don’t have to do so. Start now, Boomama. It’s easier for when he progresses in school.

    (But my girl started Algebra this year and it’s kicking my butt to remember all the equations I used to ace. I think I really must admit that I may actually have become less intelligent over the years, but at least I can blame that on having kids.)

  57. My next door neighbor watches High School Musical every day–even when the kids are gone. I bought her the People Magazine with Zac Effron on it, and she hugged me. She’s a little obsessed.

  58. We are doing the letter “o” this week. She took Off! insect repellent to school Tuesday for show and tell and a trip to the treasure box. Then Wednesday she took a can of mandarin Oranges. We had to draw and octopus, an owl, and an owwie too.

    Last week for “l” a little boy brought some laundry-which I thought was hilarious because really did his mom pack that for him or did he sneak it in his backpack. And was it clean or dirty laundry?

    With any spare time I luck into I tend to get sucked into What Not to Wear or Little People Big World. I’m slightly obsessed with both. However I have seen HSM2 a couple of times and contemplated watching it by myself but then Stacey and Clinton were on and well they won my attention easily!

  59. Boo Mama, You are the music in me.


  60. I would give my left arm to hear #4