Photo credit: Freepik / For illustrative purposes.
This Tuesday is September 1. It is the day that, every year, significant changes are felt throughout the City of Brno:
• The tram and bus schedules change, with more options and more connections;
• Many construction projects disappear, with sparkling new roads or new sidewalks or new lights left behind;
•(This year) facemasks will be mandatory on public transport, in many public buildings and at indoor events with more than 100 people;
• Traffic will thicken noticeably;
• And, most importantly, the kids go back to school.
* * *
The start of school is the impetus for all of the Sept. 1 changes. For those of us who are parents of school-age children, it is a day that has been circled on the calendar for a long time.
I have two toddlers. It has been, let’s say, “fun” to have them at home for several weeks of the spring when the country was in quarantine and then during the summer break. But, now I am happy to, let’s say, “let them continue their education at school”. (I could easily insert other words, like “difficult”, and phrases, like “get rid of them”, to more accurately portray my feelings of finally being liberated of all-day childcare.)
It kind of feels like a bad-parent attitude to be happy that the kids are going to be away from roughly 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every weekday. But I am not the only one. I’ve had many conversations with friends and colleagues who share my enthusiasm. In the office the other day, I was surprised to see so many colleagues since most of the company has been taking advantage of home office. One said: Are you kidding? The kids are at home. I’d much rather be here.
For a more positive spin, with the slight chill in the morning air, it actually does feel like it is time to close off the summer. My family has done a lot of things and shared a lot of experiences, like going to the Brno zoo and a local parrot zoo; exploring Vida Science Center; hiking along mountain paths and climbing a rock peak; taking train trips; going on a sleep-over trip to a local town; playing in the Janáčkovodivadlo fountain; watching an American Football game; and completing many puzzles and building many lego structures.
Learning to ride a bike was the big highlight for both of the kids. Diving in a pool was a big obstacle that was overcome. Regularly sleeping through the entire night helped parental sanity. Simple arithmetic and more advanced vocabulary progressed nicely.
On the parental level, we also passed some important milestones, both good and bad: nobody pees their bedany more; both kids are now using the toilet; the child locks on the fridge have been deemed useless; and the television remote control is no longer advanced technology.
Those are some solid accomplishments, so it’s time to tie a bow on this summer and shift back to school.
* * *
This year, of course, will be particularly interesting for schools. They will operate as normal to start, but there is a back-up plan for the possible return of more extreme coronavirus restrictions. That is why everyone is to wear face masks on mass transit: suddenly having thousands of children crowded onto trams and buses could lead to new outbreaks.
Which, of course, would lead to more, let’s say, “fun” with the kids at home if we are unable to, let’s say,“let them continue their education at school”.