The little things

Kids making school lunches in kitchen

It’s that time of the year again. I feel a bit blindsided by the end of the summer holiday; I knew it was coming, and yet, suddenly, here it is, the first day of school. It’s over already in fact.

I’m not one for new year’s resolutions, but new school year’s resolutions I can certainly do. This year I decided it was high time for the boys to be making their own lunches. (Please don’t point out to my nine-year-old that he’s having to start five years earlier than his older brother – he honestly hasn’t noticed – or cared – yet, which surprises me!)

Young boy making his lunch for school

After lunches were made and breakfasts eaten, we sat out on the front porch with the dog while my older son walked to the end of the driveway for the school bus. He started high school today, and taking a bus is part of this change. We’ve always lived within walking distance from school, so it’s a fairly big leap (thankfully, it is close enough to cycle in good weather). After the bus departed, a full hour before we needed to leave for younger son’s school, we walked down to the treehouse to review our zipline progress and watered the plants in the greenhouse.

Before leaving to walk to school, we managed a photo of youngest with his backpack. If you look closely at his legs, you’ll notice that we don’t insist on long trousers when he’s adventuring in the woods and, man, does it ever show. Apparently he got a lot of questions today along the lines of ‘what happened to your legs?’

First day of school for a boy in grade four

When I was tucking this boy in for bed tonight, he asked me what my first day at school was like. I wondered if he meant today, and he clarified that he meant any of my first days at school throughout my school years (he further qualified this by saying he meant the weekend after Labour Day, and not any of the school years when my parents plucked us out of school mid-year to move to a new community, which they did a few times!).

Sadly, I don’t have any clear memories of any of my first days at school in September, but I will certainly remember today. The surprisingly slow and relaxed start to the day, taking a break from work to help our neighbour find her dog (who showed up at her back door moments after calling us for help), getting what felt like a huge amount of work done after the interruptions of a summer schedule with children at home, and enjoying a very simple lunch with some of our own harvest and some from our local farmers’ market. The apple chutney I made up yesterday, along with some of our favourite apple marmalade.


Garden fresh lunch plate

13 thoughts on “The little things

  1. I always loved when the boys went back to school after the end of summer. I guess maybe it was me who functioned better when there was a scheduled routine. Plus I always enjoyed helping them with school projects. PS: Very cute son!

    1. If I’m totally honest, I love the back to school thing too. As someone who works from home, it’s both a tremendous gift and sometimes a big pain in the butt to have them home so much! As I get towards the end of the summer, I always wonder if we packed enough in, but usually we have. You are an awesome mother if you enjoyed school projects!

  2. I agree that the enforced routine does keep me better organized, too. I hate the transition though – I like having the girls around…and not just for chores :), though they might not believe me.
    I’m very impressed that you’re getting them both to make their own lunches – my friend with 4 kids (age range 8-17), has them all doing it too, has done for a few years. I’ve tried a few times, but I don’t think my follow through is very good – I tend to let them down with stuff to put IN the lunches – when that happens when it’s my responsibility I can find something in the pantry like canned peaches or I might hard boil a couple of eggs or something while they’re getting up. They don’t have much experience with that kind of on your feet creativity, and I guess I’m not giving them much opportunity…maybe I’ll give it another go, now that you’ve led the way.

  3. The lunch change for me this year really came about as I love to make their breakfast before school, and I guess I realized that it was crazy to be doing both things, and I’d rather make them a nice breakfast. I hear you about not having what you need to hand to make it easy on the lunch front though! Giving kids the opportunity to be creative on the fly is a good idea, as you say, but I know that I restrict those opportunities at times too, and have to remember that it’s okay to let them fumble around a bit, while also trying to keep a bit of a guiding hand there. It’s not easy, is it.

    An honest update too: by day two my nine-year old was not so keen about the lunch making. He was tired (doesn’t sleep well during transitions), but I kept on him and now as we’re almost at the end of the week he seems to be pretty comfortable with it. I do need to supervise him more but it’s been worth it.

  4. Oh my goodness…is that a squash plant (maybe zucchini?) on your front porch with your son on his first day of school? Also, I had to make my lunches for school when I was a kid, and I thought it was fun. Probably your sons will think that as well.

    1. Yes, my husband thinks it’s a good idea to stick squash plants in the most unassuming, tiny places! (We do also have them in regular beds.) I think the boys are loving having control over what goes in their lunches (within the choices set by me, of course!), so I think that does indeed make it fun for them. Nice to know that you enjoyed lunch-making as a kid!

  5. Hi Dagne, I’m happy you had such a wonderful summer, and it was fun to read about your experience of back-to-school, as for the first time ever, we are in that stage too! My son just started kindergarten, and what a transition. He’s only going in the mornings, so he’s home every day before lunch, and I am so thankful for that. His sister and I have been walking him to and from school, and it is such a wonderful bonding time for our family. But so difficult to go from summer days to all the sudden school five days a week! We’ve never had that before, as even preschool for us was only three mornings. It’s a lot of fun, this big step, but it sure is taking its toll on our family downtimes. I feel so caught up in the school schedule, when I’ve been blessed to have the majority of my days free, since my son was born, to do whatever I liked with the children. (By free, I mean without school.) Even though my son is just in morning kindergarten, and my daughter will start 3-day morning preschool soon, it means that we can’t just wake up and do “whatever” we like. Hikes, bike rides — I’m not too keen on being so scheduled. But we’re trying to adjust the best we can, and at least we can walk to school, and have that outdoor time in the mornings. You know me, I’m a sentimental sap. 🙂 The important thing is that my son has a great teacher, and he’s a brave and happy little guy. I hope your own boys have a wonderful year, and look forward to reading about your upcoming fall days (it’s my favorite time of the year).

    1. It was such a lovely surprise to find your comment just now Melissa! I hope you’ve enjoyed a really special summer with your family. Wow, kindergarten – that is a big deal! I remember those days very fondly and gosh, they seem a long way away. Your walks appreciating nature to and from school sound so sweet, I can just picture it! I really understand your inner rebellion around routine; I’m so similar. While part of my personality thinks that good routines can whip me into shape, I shun routine so much of the time (I don’t think supper has ever been on the table at the same time each night for two consecutive nights!). Now that my kids are older though, routine does have its charms, in certain parts of life. I’m amazed to see how well my 14-year old does with routine (he has a regular job, as well as high school) and am sort of awed by how innately important is for him to be on time, etc. All good! Enjoy the ‘baby steps’ of morning kindergarten and preschool, which will gently widen the world for your sweeties, and hopefully many lovely fall days ahead.

      1. Thank you for the well wishes! They are lovely walks in the morning, that is for sure. We collected acorns the other day, and are in the process of making a centerpiece with them. This part of parenting is so natural to me, the silly crafts, that I hope my kids are kids at heart forever! Otherwise I’ll be the only one at the table with the glue and googly eyes. 🙂 (PS — Did I comment on your zipline post? It looks amazing. What a spectacular thing to have in your yard!)

      2. Those kinds of crafts are so sweet and you’ll love them all the more through the years. I don’t think I’m quite as crafty as you, but I did love painting and making things with the boys when they were little, and we’re still big homemade card makers. Now the 14-year old spends hours building model tanks and uses amazing craft tools that I’d never even dreamed of; I don’t think there is necessarily any kind of link to our earlier crafty activities, but it’s neat to see. Lovely to hear from you again!

  6. Sounds like a great first school day! Love that there was time in the morning just to walk around and enjoy everything… And that lunch looks great! Yeah, I don’t have any specific back to school memories either! (I guess the good thing is that they must not have been too traumatic!) : )

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