8 In Thoughts & Observations

Running the Gauntlet

The good thing about blogging is that it (sometimes) forces me to go research phrases I’ve bandied about for years but never really bothered to learn the full meaning.  Running the gauntlet is one of them.  I’d always pictured “the gauntlet” as something like Indiana Jones in The Temple of Doom–a long hallway of spikes shooting up from the floor, axes swinging from the walls, and a ginormous ball bearing down on you while you run like hell for safety.

I wasn’t too far off the mark…

According to our beloved Wikipedia, running the gauntlet is a form of physical punishment where a captive runs between two rows – a gauntlet – of soldiers who repeatedly strike them.

Why am I researching this particular phrase today?

Because it’s the first day of school.

While my little darlings weren’t armed with pickaxes or swords, I’m not without my share of bumps and bruises.  Honestly, looking back at it from the quiet of my cubicle at work, I think I should pat myself on the back for all the stuff I knocked out in a forty minute span.

  • Got ‘em up (The hardest part.)
  • Picked outfits (Anticipate this to get worse as the school year drags on.)
  • Handled minor breakdown of six-year old who suddenly couldn’t remember where her class was located
  • Made their bed
  • Detangled two sets of bedhead (Second hardest part – Picture two Cousin Itts.)
  • Whipped up pancakes (Don’t get too impressed.  They were Eggo’s frozen finest.)
  • Double checked to ensure teeth were really brushed
  • Started the laundry
  • Cleaned the litter box
  • Made two lunches and loaded up backpacks with snacks
  • Straightened the house
  • Made coffee for my thirty minute commute (AKA – decompression time)
  • Kissed everyone goodbye and ran for it

Yep.  Not too shabby.

Over the last few years, I’ve learned there are two parental camps when it comes to the school year; those who live for summer vacation and those who celebrate when it’s over.  I am, unquestionably, in camp number one.

For roughly ninety-eight days, I’m released from coaxing the knots out of hair, the melodrama that accompanies attire selection, and the utter torture of afternoon math homework.  Yes, childcare is wickedly expensive while school is out, but the hubby and I happily shell out the dollars and wallow in every second of no fixed agenda.

What about you?  If you have or had little kids, which is your preference?  Even if you don’t have kids, are there portions of the year you’d choose over the others?  Where’s your happy place?

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  • Reply
    Marianna Heusler
    August 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I’m a teacher and I can’t believe how the summer flew by. Back to school next week. Oh my!

  • Reply
    CJ Burright
    August 19, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I really don’t know how people handle going back to school with more than one kid. I have one daughter, and as soon as school started, things got even crazier than usual. The lunches, the play dates, the after school activities…and me and hubby working full-time. Yeah, summer rules.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    I’m so glad you care enough to research your words. We used to have a woman in our group (a teacher) who would just get close without hitting the exact word.
    It drove me nuts. Naturally, I’d spend my time double checking when I thought she was wrong, because I didn’t want to point a finger and be the one in the wrong. And it wasn’t spell check making the mistakes for her.
    It sounded about right so she flew on.
    Enjoy your babies. They’re precious!

  • Reply
    Jackie King
    August 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    When my kids were school age I always celebrated both the ending of the school year and then, after three months of togetherness, I rejoiced when classes began once again. Everything in its season.

  • Reply
    Gretchen Wing
    August 22, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Another (former) teacher here: when I could get my mind off my own stomach-knots in August, I was always AMAZED at the multi-tasking abilities of some of those parents–especially the single ones. Or the older students who acted as the parent of their own siblings…I saw a lot of those, teaching high school.

    One thing I noticed, though, Rhenna: what about YOUR breakfast? Did you get one of those pancakes at least?

    • Reply
      August 22, 2013 at 11:32 am

      Gretchen, you’re a hoot! Breakfast? For me? Does coffee count? 😛

  • Reply
    August 26, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I just entered the season of sending a kid off to school! and wrote a blog post about it too. ha!

    I think I would say: Summer! But it’s too early to tell 😉

    I hope to balance both and live for both whatever season I’m in. It goes by too fast and not fast enough. ha!

  • Reply
    Shan Jeniah Burton
    August 31, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    I belong to the the third and uncounted camp – the one for parents who live as though school does not exist. My kids have never gone, and I couldn’t be happier about that (well, maybe if my state didn’t require so much paperwork….but other than that -)

    For us, there is one fixed agenda – living. Some days, that means going to an eighteenth century day at a local historical site, others it’s Minecraft, or a playground, or the state museum, or hanging out or Shakespeare in the Park, or snuggles and tickles while watching PBS or Khan Academy videos…

    Learning flows through every moment, in so many ways. School flows through none of them…

    So rather than getting them up and onto that school bus, we may be reading about slavery when it rolls by our house, because someone thought that book sounded interesting. We may be out for a long walk in the autumn air when it comes back… likely, we’ll be to engrossed in whatever we’re doing to notice it much.

    This summer, my daughter turned 9. My son will be 12 on Labor Day, two days before the start of the school year here (I think; I haven’t checked). We’ll spend the first day as a family at the WILD! Center of the Adirondack Museum, because my husband has a rare Wednseday off, and the museum has live otters, an indoor duck pond, specimens, and even a calving glacier! And it won’t be crowded, with school in session.

    I can’t imagine putting them on that bus, and not getting to be in the thick of their learning and growing. I wasn’t sure I would feel that way when my son was first school-age, but each year has been better.

    I’ve always loved watching children learn, and seeing them light up with new revelations. It’s even better when it’s my own kids, and I learn at least as much from them as they do from me.

    May you next summer come quickly, and linger deliciously! =D

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