In the Santa Clarita Valley the new school year begins mid-August, next Thursday to be exact, and nobody is happier than me, even though I’m not the one headed back to a classroom! Every year on the first day of school (starting with Pre-K 16 years ago), I take myself out to breakfast to celebrate and begin to pencil in my days for the upcoming New Year (January has never felt right, not like September does). I relish the idea of knowing pretty much how my dance card will be filled from now ‘til June and having structured rhythm and rhyme to my days agrees with me.
These last few weeks have been filled with back-to-school shopping. Some of it is easy and some of it is downright nerve-wracking. The day of shopping for school supplies for my youngest child goes easily enough, as the fashion trends at Staples doesn’t change much. You’ve wanted a red backpack every single year since you started kindergarten? No problem! Red binder? Easy to find! Red folders? Check. My son has a thing for red, because to him, the color seems to vibrate, a phenomenon known as synaesthesia. Autism does quite a number on the five senses anyway and synaesthesisa is the neurological mixing of the senses, which many people with autism have. A synaesthete may “hear” colors, “see” sounds and “taste” tactile sensations. Doctors believe that some young synaestethes lose this ability by the time they reach adulthood, but until then – Staples will continue to rock our world with those easy-to-find screamin’ red office supplies.
The next item on our To Do list in preparation for 8th grade was to shop for clothing. Between the dress code and the fact that my kid now has an opinion (when did THAT happen?) about what he wears, shopping this year was nerve-wracking. It was filled with absolute stomach-roiling, perspiring brows and hand-wringing madness. And that was just trying to convince a 13 year old boy that he HAD to accompany his mother to the mall (my daughter had no such issues and is a decorated 17 year veteran of the mommy shopping brigade).
Even though my son had opinions on what kind of things he will or won’t wear this year, we did have the ever present school dress code to use as a guideline. Dress codes are a good thing and kids should dress in a manner that keeps them safe and, hopefully, morally restrained. Overall, I agreed with every item on the list… There’s no reason to wear t-shirts with graphic images or offensive messages, especially when what flies out of their face is often graphic and offensive enough. Outrageously provocative clothing is never appropriate, knowing how distracting it could be in life, much less a classroom situation. Not wearing footwear that invites injury? Well, duh. You’d somehow think they’d want to keep their toes attached. Hairstyles or jewelry that pose a hazard or distraction? Well, double-duh. We used to warn that running with scissors could put an eye out. These guys could rip out a nose ring or lip piercing just sitting still.
One fashion item that I really wish would go away is baggy-saggy boy’s pants. Boy’s Pants have been on a downward, sagging trend for the last 10 years or so and I, for one (surely not the only one either), wish it would stop. It’s not cute on the toddler’s with diapers that obviously need to be changed and it’s definitely not attractive on those 12 years old and up. There’s a part of me that thinks the textile industry wants to compensate for selling less fabric in the female market since our pants seemed to have lost about five inches pushing our waistbands down to our hipbones. Really? I haven’t met a backside yet that has been particularly enhanced by the whole plumber’s crackage and every pair of pants, male or female, seems southbound-bent on getting there. Darn it.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve looked around and I’ve seen what kids are wearing and honestly, when these kids get to be about 25 or 30 years old and see photos of themselves I have to believe that they’ll wish we had enforced a much stricter dress code.
With only six days to go (not that I’m counting or anything), we are settling down for the last lazy days of summer and gearing up for the upcoming sweltering days of school (from now until October – welcome to the desert). We will watch the ads of kids in plaid and sweater sets and laugh, knowing that we are all done with our back-to-school preparations. We are ready (RED-y, really) and waiting with smiles on our faces (some of us with visions of Coco’s poached eggs and toast dancing in our head).
To those of you celebrating, Happy Back-to-School to you and yours! xo – t.