“It’s A School Night.” (I Haven’t Said That Since May.)

Well, we stretched it out for as long as we possibly could, and we milked it for every ounce of fun it contained, but now we have to put Summer Vacation ’14 to bed.  It’s done.  It’s over.  It was great while it lasted.

Tomorrow morning, we’ll be running around our house in a state of early-morning panic, making ham sandwiches because someone refuses to buy his lunches at school, because he’s convinced the junior high cooks will poison him dead with hamburger that’s been stretched a little further by adding Spam and oatmeal and cornmeal, exactly like grandmothers in the Great Depression did things.  I predict that the phrase, “Will you just hurry up?” will fly out from between my lips thirty-nine times before 8 AM.  It’s why the Good Lord gave man the knowledge on how to invent the Keurig and blessed us with Starbucks.

(And all the people said, “Amen.”)

School starts tomorrow, and Hubs and I will officially own an 8th grader.  Don’t ask me how this happened, because just yesterday I was buying him size 5 jeans from Gap Kids, and now those pants fit him like an indecent pair of gym shorts.  The boy has grown up; he’s all legs and skinny shoulder blades and ENDLESS HUNGER, and he no longer pops out of bed with the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas morning when school begins.  In fact, I fully expect the boy to shuffle out of bed tomorrow morning, looking like Cousin Eddie after a rough road trip in the RV, and grumbling that the state has done him an injustice by requiring that first hour starts before lunchtime.

In other news, our toddler is also growing up, because, PEOPLE!!!  Let me just LEAP FOR JOY and FLING CONFETTI and ENCOURAGE THE CROWD TO APPLAUD!  After four grueling months of practicing with nothing but dry runs, Thing 2 really and truly TINKLED IN THE BIG POTTY FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS MORNING!!!

We had M&Ms in every color for breakfast, just to celebrate.

I won’t lie; I doubted that this day would ever happen.  Potty training the boy will forever be known as one of the darkest times in my life, when I wanted to pull my own eyebrows out, hair by hair by hair.  The boy would literally sit for hours on the toilet, but he REFUSED to do anything there.  He’d sit. He’d read books.  He’d talk to me until the rancher brought his cows in for the evening, but NOTHING would land in the water.  As soon as he got off of the potty and pulled the big boy, Star Wars underwear back up… he would immediately fill them with every manner of foulness.  In the end, I lost my marbles and asked our family physician for a referral to the asylum.  I threw my hands up into the air, and I announced to Hubs, with tears and snot running down my face in a bad case of Dramatic Hysteria, that I was GIVING UP on all the potty training, and that I QUIT.

Three days after throwing in the towel and putting the boy back into pull-ups, he potty trained himself.

And we were done.

In all honesty, the remembrances of those dark ages has haunted me since Thing 2’s second birthday.  We have been trying with him.  We’ve approached the entire issue on a much more casual basis, because Thing 2 is the second born child, so his parents’ enthusiasm has waned some.

And by some, I mean quite a bit.

And by quite a bit, I mean that it’s pretty much gone.  The thrill of the potty training train has left the building.

Hubs and I have sat Thing 2 on the big toilet every single day for the past four months, and he has shown every sign of complete and utter stage fright and performance anxiety in existence.  He has told us that the big potty is scary.  He has told us that he likes diapers.  And I have started to wonder if the cooks at the asylum stretch their hamburger a little further, with Spam and oatmeal kneaded into it, or if I’ll be getting gourmet cheeseburgers for dinners there.

And then this morning…

… Hubs plopped Thing 2 onto the toilet again

… and then he hollered out, “WE’RE GONNA NEED SOME M&Ms!!!!!  WE’VE GOT A TINKLER!!!!!!”

Prince would’ve been so proud of us, because we partied like it was 1999.  There was applause and whoops and hollers and cheers and hugs.  Thing 2 even got in on the action and clapped enthusiastically for himself.

And then this afternoon, he announced, “Go potty in diaper.”

I won’t lie.

I felt the nervous twitch return.

ANYWAY.

Our weekend was wonderful.

On Thursday night, our thirteen-year-old friend, Ciara, asked me to come snap pictures at her back-to-school luau party, and I didn’t even hesitate to shout out, “YES!  I will be there!!!”  The thought of an all-girl party delighted my soul to its very depths.  I never get to attend parties without stinky teenage boys.

IMG_7983 IMG_7804Not ONCE did any of these girls make a reference to body functions.

There was no obnoxious burping, followed by obnoxious, howling laughter.

There were absolutely no sulfur-like smells, as someone shouted out, “Must’ve been that four-pound burrito I ate for lunch!”

It was marvelous.

Cousin L was there, dressed in her finest grass skirt.  She’ll be starting junior high tomorrow morning, too, which freaks me out a little bit, because WHAT?!  I just changed her diaper last week and rocked her to sleep, while she smelled like lavender baby lotion, and now she has her own locker?!

IMG_7854(The honest fact is that Cousin L, and Cousin R and Cousin M will ALL be starting junior high this fall, because our family birthed three babes that year.)

(I feel like an old aunt.)

(An old aunt with a heart ache over these children growing up.)

ANYWAY.

There was a limbo at Ciara’s luau.

IMG_8231What I learned is that junior high girls can definitely limbo.  I was invited to participate, but the dispatcher and an ambulance would’ve had to get involved, had I accepted.

So I just snapped pictures.

The hips of the elderly don’t limbo any longer.

But look!  The Winner of the Limbo was lifted high into the air and paraded around the yard.

IMG_8314There were games where you had to eat sour stuff…

IMG_8133… and where you had to eat applesauce without the help of a spoon.

IMG_8065 IMG_8050 IMG_8046There was a game of pyramid-building…

IMG_7967… and a great buffet line.

(The best comment of the evening was this one:  “Um, I really want some grapes, and they’re in those sand buckets on the table.  I was just wondering if those are CLEAN buckets, or if they just came out of the sandbox.”)

(At an all-boy party, NO ONE would have thought to check on this before eating the grapes.)

(Thankfully, Ciara’s mom had purchased BRAND SPANKING NEW buckets, in honor of the luau.)

(Whew.  The grapes were fine.)

IMG_8171 IMG_7922 IMG_8359I had an absolute blast hanging out with this giant group of junior high girls all evening.

Then, on Friday, we turned right around and celebrated Cousin K’s 9th birthday a bit early.  He’s not officially nine until next weekend, but when your birthday falls over the Labor Day holiday, you’d better invite your friends over early, before they split town for one last Summer Hoorah.

IMG_8617 IMG_8618 IMG_8622 IMG_8634 IMG_8639 IMG_8645And???

Because there were BOYS at this party, someone gave Cousin K a…

… ahem…

fart gun.

(“I said DART gun!”)

(Bonus points, if you know what movie that’s from.)

IMG_8661 IMG_8660The boys used the new I SAID DART GUN nonstop for the remainder of the party, and laughed like hyenas at a comedy night.

Poor Sister is in for DAYS of hearing the battery-operated sounds of severe stomach distress, I’m afraid.

IMG_8645 IMG_8665 IMG_8675And?

Would you check this out?

Because look whose toddler ASKED FOR AN APPLE INSTEAD OF PIZZA!!!

I’m fairly certain this means I’ve got that Mother of the Year ’14 trophy in the bag.

IMG_8680And then, after partying like crazy on Thursday and Friday, Saturday dawned all dark and cloudy and rainy.

It was a STAY INDOORS AND DO NOTHING sort of day, which is exactly what happened.

The boys watched Donald Duck on the iPad.

IMG_8687Hubs and I watched a marathon session of Will and Grace on reruns.

I did a couple loads of laundry.

And I made a pot of cheese and broccoli soup.

Our Sunday pretty much looked like our Saturday, too, except Hubs and I dashed off to see When the Game Stands Tall at the theater, while OUR 8th GRADER BABYSAT.

AND THAT, people, was our weekend.  If you’ll excuse me now, I have to go get everyone into bed, because… DID YOU HEAR?

WE HAVE SCHOOL TOMORROW!

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