Back to school

Marc Lalonde
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Homework for parents is no fun at all


Do I have to write a cheque for that ?

It’s yet another reason that the end of summer is a frustrating one, because not only is it the time of year where routines must be re-established, bedtimes more strictly enforced and personal hygiene must be attended to – yes, that means baths and showers more than twice a month (a tough sell for our stinky little ones).

The back-to-school period, though, wouldn’t be complete without the approximately 278 forms that come home from school on the first day – everything from emergency-contact sheets (can’t live without them) to pizza lunch order forms (our daughter can’t live without them) comes home, each with a different delivery deadline and accompanying correspondence. That’s not even mentioning the cheques that go along with the back-to-school period. School fees, consumables fees, fees of all kinds that go along with sports, dancing, afterschool activities lunchtime activities, lunch programs, clothing and school supplies and whatever else requires payment by cheque. Between the forms and the cheques, my wife and I felt like we were back in university, pulling an all-nighter.

I can no longer feel my hand. Every pen in the house is now out of ink, and we’ll have to pay for my son’s day care this month with refunded pop cans – but no matter.

Pretty soon, the hubbub will die down and I’ll find something else to complain about, but like everything else in the school-age universe, we’re starting to get this one down. I can only imagine, though, what parents of multiple children have to do when that mountain of forms come home.

We have friends whose six boys – yes, you read that right. Six. – go to our daughter’s elementary school. Dinnertime at their house is always a bit of a free-for-all, I’m told, so I can only imagine what the first week of school entails for them – and their chequing account.

From our end, our house calendar (with extra-big date spaces for writing down all the appointments our children have) is now covered by the dates and amounts of each cheque written, just to keep things straight, much like I imagine many other parents’ calendars look. The best part? Most of those cheques (except the ones that had to be post-dated for February – yeesh) will run their course in the month of September, so by the end of the month, it’ll all be done – just in time to start saving for Christmas.

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