Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Seven New Masks for Syd

I know that officially, Syd's first year of public school was last year.

Last year, when we knew that she'd be learning online. Last year, when she started the school year with cocoa and buttered toast at the family room table every morning, and ended the school year by sitting up in bed and opening the computer just as first period started every morning. Second period was for making her way to the kitchen and making herself some iced coffee, and third period was back to bed.

This year, we actually went shopping for school clothes. This year, I bought Syd a new lunchbox and messenger bag, earbuds and socks. This year, we had an honest-to-god orientation at the high school, and got to walk real-live hallways looking for her real, live, in-person classrooms.

This year, I'm finally feeling what it's like to send the precious kid that I homeschooled for nine years off to public school. Just between us... I kind of don't like it? Syd is more or less my pandemic pet, and I doubt that there was a more codependent mother-and-daughter pair than us in all of online/virtual/digital school last year. Like, how am I going to know what she's studying if I'm not sitting next to her while she's studying it? How am I going to know if her teachers are doing a good job if I'm not literally watching them teach?

Do you think they'd all continue to livestream all their classes just for me?

Along with buying Syd pants from Hot Topic and shirts from Goodwill and highlighters, notebooks, and mechanical pencils from Target, about all the codependent parenting that I get to do this year is make my kid TOO MANY MASKS from fabric that I took her to Joann's to pick out. Surprisingly, if you remember my baby from back when she was three years old and insisted on wearing only the elaborate velvet and silk and lace party dresses that I hit up every thrift store in town to score for her, and unsurprisingly, if you've possibly experienced a year-long pandemic with a teenager of your own, all of her fabric choices were black:

The half-and-half look was an accident based on me not knowing how to read a simple, one-piece pattern, but Syd liked it, so I mix-and-matched several of her masks that way:

And check me out with the new pattern! Matt and Will still prefer the masks with ties, but Syd and I like the ones with elastic better, so I bought 1/8" elastic, adjustable metal nose strips, and silicone cord locks. I felt a little foolish buying all that when everyone in our family had just gotten vaccinated, because how long were we even going to need to wear masks after that, anyway? 

The answer: possibly forever. The first half of this school year, for sure!

So now my kid's all stocked up on masks. That, along with figuring out what breakfast foods I can force-feed her before she heads out the door each morning and texting my long-distance favorite friend a bunch of questions about whether or not kids in high school carry water bottles and still spread lice and if she thinks the student handbook is really serious when it says they have to go to the nurse to get Tylenol, is about all the prep work I can do for this school year. It's very different from the writing lesson plans and requesting library books and planning field trips that I like to do. But if Syd likes it, I'll be so happy for her, and if she manages to learn anything, I'll be even happier!

And just between us, if the whole state isn't back to online-only school by winter break, I'll be shocked.

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