I can’t believe it. On Wednesday, Mazzy entered the 5th grade and Harlow entered 2nd grade. Where has the time gone???? We waited until the last possible moment to return to the city. 1) Because we had such a great summer and didn’t want it to end and 2) because our apartment is still in the middle of being renovated (we’re talking plastic on everything and floor coverings) and ohmygod I just didn’t want to deal.

So. Suffice it to say, we did not do a great job of getting the kids back on their regular schedule. That last week, I tried desperately to get them to sleep at a normal hour, but summer habits are hard to break.

Still, Mazzy and Harlow both woke up semi-excited for the day. They had their outfits picked out and I made the very smart decision of taking their “first day of school” pics the day before. This is my favorite parenting hack. Photos with smiling kid is hard enough, without also adding the pressure of needing to get out the door to make the bus on time.

My other photo hack is to have the kids make silly faces first and then snap when they start laughing.

After 8 years of first day of school photos, I figured it out!

Another hack? Position the kids so that the block out the toilet behind them. Yep, that’s right, our guest bathroom is still not finished and the toilet is currently at home on the balcony. That was a fun discovery when we got home!

On our way to the bus stop, Mazzy finally let the excitement of the first day of school set in. “I wasn’t happy about going back, but now I’m getting really excited,” she said. That was how I always felt going back to school too. And I do really love getting back to our regular routine. Bus rides with the kids in the morning are one reason I love bringing up kids in Manhattan. It’s 20 minutes of stress-free quality time, whether we are running or late or not. As soon as we step on the bus, it is out of our hands.

Mazzy lucked out and has a ton of friends in her class, so when we arrived, she got a big welcome. There was hugging, laughing, outfit complimenting, etc. Parents just kind of stood on the lines and watched as our big kids moved on without us, happy and ready.

Harlow was a different story. She was not put into a class with any of her close friends, and even I was surprised by how many unfamiliar faces were in the room when we walked in. Even I got a little anxious as I looked around, because Harlow has a much tougher time adapting to new environments. Last year, the class had a few big tables and in the morning, all the girls would gather around one table for various arts and crafts. In her new classroom, the tables are all four tops and many of them were already filled, so Harlow ended up sitting at an empty table by herself.

Still, Harlow put on a brave face and said goodbye without tears. Well, there was a moment that looked like there might be tears, but then I promised her a doughnut after school (her favorite) and she managed to keep it together. It’s hard seeing her out of her comfort zone, but I know she will make new friends as always. She’s currently in what I call “her warm up phase.”

Full On Harlow will be introduced to the class soon.