This week I have noticed my kids are tired when I get home from work. That manifests in different ways — crankiness, laziness and hyperness. It depends on the child, and on the day.
But make no mistake, they are tired.
This week they have all been in school every day. A real blessing. They have been busy learning — whether that being the traditional R's of education or making new friends.
For my oldest two, the new friends thing has been important. In both of their cases, their best friends from school are no longer in school. Parents have moved, and children with them. That leaves a void behind that our children have been working to fill.
It's not that those friends have moved overly far away and we will never see them again — they have not. However, the move has meant those children are in different schools and/or school districts this year. To get time with them takes a concerted effort by parental units. We have done our best to make sure those things happen.
For my youngest, this is year one for school at the elementary school level. His preschool friends have been scattered to different elementary schools. In the days leading up to school, he was nervous.
He was convicted of a couple of “facts.”
1. He would not know anyone in his class.
2. He would not be able to make new friends.
Both of those “facts” turned out to be not true. A few days before school we learned that a little girl from church, and my son's Sunday school class, would be in his class at school. That meant he was going to at least know someone, even if it is someone he does not play with on a regular basis. He knows her.
That was a blessing. As we talked about my good friend's daughter sharing class with my son, my son began to get at ease. Maybe this first year of school would not be so bad.
Then the first day came and went. He made new friends. They played on the playground. He likes his teacher. All of that left him excited after day one — and tired.
My oldest two have been working at learning about new people. The truth is that every year people move in, and out of, the school district. Every year there are new people in class. Sometimes that means losing a good friend — which both of my eldest children did this year — and possibly making a new one. Both are doing that.
And right now, with just one week of school down, that has only added to the excitement that comes with school.
That excitement with school will wane. It always does.
That excitement surrounding school also means extra expended energy. The kiddos in my house have been tired. They don't think I know, but I do.
For at least one of my children that tiredness has manifested in being hyper at bed time. Lots of giggling and laughing. Lots of jokes that only a child can find funny and love. Lots of playing around with siblings.
It's strange. He is tired, and the one thing he needs to deal with that is what he avoids and stalls — every night. It is difficult to get him to actually go to sleep.
For my daughter, that tiredness leads to crankiness. She's the classic child that saves all her bad behavior for home. Her teachers and others would not believe how she acts at home. She is noisy, nosy and will not leave people alone. She's tired, and this is how it manifests. Once we can finally convince her to lay down and relax, she goes to sleep pretty quickly.
For my youngest, it can run the gamut. Some days he is just cranky and whiny. Others he is clingy. Most days he spends an inordinate amount of time playing with his big brother, getting them both really riled up and preventing any hope of a decent bed time. That noise that comes from their end of the hall isn't all older, hyper brother. It takes two to tango, and they can tango pretty well — better than Johnny and Baby, in my opinion.
All of that has led to some pretty tired parents. I know exactly how that manifests. Motivational issues at work, crankiness at home. Pretty simple.
This, however, will pass. It always does. The excitement of a new school year will wear off, and things will calm down.
If not, God save us all.
— Chad Frey is managing editor of the Newton Kansan. He lives in Newton with his wife and three children.