Just thought I’d try this whole “Thursday Thirteen” thing on for size.

1. When Nikki packs her school bags, she makes sure everything fits in an orderly fashion. Before she went to bed last night, she came to see me to list off all the things she’d packed to make sure she didn’t forget anything.

2. When Julie packs her school bags, she’s just happy if nothing is dragging so low that she’ll trip on it. And even if she DOES trip on it, no big deal.

3. Maddie is very proud of her new pink lunch bag. She felt like one of the grown-up kids when she packed her lunch last night.

4. Nikki went to school wearing her new pink skirt and top, re-did her ponytail about five times, and stressed about the tie on her blouse not being quite right for first day of school pictures on the front lawn. When I kissed her, I could tell she’d applied lip gloss. Her ensemble was complete with her beloved Crock footwear on her feet.

5. Julie went to school with her torn-on-purpose jean shorts and a blue tennis shirt, looking a little like the punk rocker/tomboy she aspires to be. She barely combed her hair for the first day of school pictures. She gave her sister a hard time for re-tying her bow.

6. Maddie hopped out of bed this morning when she realized it was her first day of daycare and she’d have a golden opportunity to make new friends. She was content to wear whatever I pulled over her head, though she wanted flip-flops on her feet instead of the sturdier shoes I insisted on.

7. When we met with Julie’s teachers, and they asked if there was anything they should know about Julie, one of the things I mentioned was that Julie finds school a little too easy and needs to be challenged a little more than she was last year. Marcel mentioned that she read ALL of the Harry Potter books by the time she was eight because she devours books faster than we can get them from the library. Julie sat beside us trying not to let them see a little grin sneak onto her face while we bragged about her.

8. When we met with Nikki’s teachers, and they asked if there was anything they should know about Nikki, one of the things I mentioned was that Nikki is very diligent about getting her homework done and never has to be reminded to do it, especially if it is a big project and it’s not due until next week. Marcel mentioned that she particularly likes history and politics (like her dad) and impressed last year’s teachers by how much she knew. (Do YOU know all the leaders of the political parties?) Nikki sat beside us trying not to let them see a little grin sneak onto her face while we bragged about her.

9. When I filled out Maddie’s registration form for daycare, I said her favourite foods are peanut butter and bagels with cheese. I also said that her favourite activities are making new friends and playing on play structures. ANY and ALL play structures. What I didn’t add was that Maddie can spot a play structure miles before we pass it and tries to convince us to stop at ALL of them. There are a few play structures close to our house, and she prefers going to the one where there’s the highest probability that there will be other children there.

10. Nikki was worried that we didn’t have enough money to cover all the school and daycare fees we need to pay.

11. Julie told me about 5 times that she has “butterflies in her stomach” but that she couldn’t WAIT for school to start.

12. Maddie is already convinced that daycare will be the GREATEST PLACE ON EARTH because her sister told her they sometimes got to go to 7-11 for Slurpees when she used to go there. Oh, and there’s the “new friends” thing.

13. Okay, this last one’s not about the girls. Marcel is back in school too. He’s been at the school where he’s doing his first student teaching for a few days now. He’s almost as excited as the girls. So far, he seems very happy about the prospect of becoming a teacher. He’s student teaching at the school that’s right next to Nikki and Julie’s school, so he can drive them home on the days he’s there. I forgot – I should have included him in the “first day of school” picture this morning.

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