Back to School for Little Ones.

*Photo above by Colettine — a Portuguese brand with the most sophisticated clothing for little ones, including the dress seen above.

Are you sending your children back to school this fall? Or will they be in a distance learning program? Home schooled? Some sort of blended model? I have different friends planning on all of the above options. We’ve been running our own fire drills along these lines on a seemingly weekly basis. One wrinkle for us is that mini’s school is a subway ride away, but it’s looking like Mr. Magpie’s office will not be reopening in the fall, so the convenient drop-off that used to be a part of his daily commute will now be a ~60 minute there-and-back trek for one or the other of us in the morning. (Either myself or our caregiver always had to go down to get her in the afternoon anyway, so we’re used to that.) I’m sure we will figure it all out. I had a therapeutic chat with a friend of mine a few weeks ago and she said, “You know what? We just have to keep telling ourselves that these are extenuating circumstances, but they won’t last forever. We can put up with these mild inconveniences for the short term.” And she’s right. And it’s also possible mini may not even attend in-person; I’m keeping every eventuality on the table so I can mentally prepare myself. Mini’s school was just cleared for reopening in the fall, as NYC has enabled childcare centers to open their doors starting this week, but I remain cautious, especially with the spikes in coronavirus we’re currently seeing, and the possibility of future “waves.” Her school is also preparing intensively to offer a distance learning program for any families unable to send their children to campus for whatever reason. I’ve heard of other schools splitting class sizes, creating morning and afternoon sessions, and more.

Meanwhile, it’s literally beyond my comprehension that I will be applying for micro to attend the twos program at mini’s school in a couple of weeks. How is that possible?! He is still just a bitty baby! But life marches on, doesn’t it? Life finds a way. The mound of outgrown baby gear and too-small baby clothes continues to amass in a corner of our living room as I wait for a local charity to reopen so I can donate them: what was once just a discarded baby seat is now a four foot wide square of bags full of clothing, baby tubs, bibs, and more. I can’t wait to see these items out the door, as I would love for them to be used rather than gathering dust, and I also find them a painful reminder of how quickly the baby years are disappearing in our wake.

At any rate, ever the anticipator, here I am, planning for mini’s back to school gear nonetheless. Sharing below a few options for first-day outfits and accoutrements (many of which we already own).

FIRST DAY / LAST DAY PENNANT (THESE ARE ALSO CUTE IF YOU WANT THE GRADE LISTED ON THE PENNANT, BUT IT’S A PRICEY HABIT!! — OR THERE ARE THESE)

LAST YEAR I USED ONE OF THESE APPLE-SHAPED BLACKBOARDS FOR HER FIRST SCHOOL PIC, BUT RUINED IT BY USING A PERMANENT CHALK MARKER…IF YOU BUY, JUST USE CHALK!

MONOGRAMMED LUNCHBOX (LOVE ALL THE DIFFERENT MONOGRAM OPTIONS — MINI’S IS BLUE WITH A NAVY MONOGRAM AND PINK STRAWBERRIES)

I REALLY LOVE THESE “BENTO” BOXES (THEY FIT IN THE ABOVE LUNCHBOX) FOR MINI’S LUNCH AND THE YUMBOX FOR SNACKS — MAY ALSO GET HER THE FULL-SIZE YUMBOX THIS YEAR

PBK MONOGRAMMED WET BAG (IN CASE OF ACCIDENT/MESS, SO TEACHERS CAN SEND HOME IN BACKPACK)

MINI’S SCHOOL PROVIDES THE CHILDREN WITH SLEEP MATS (THEY SEND HOME THE SHEETS ON FRIDAYS FOR LAUNDERING), BUT HOW SWEET IS THIS MONOGRAMMED NAP MAT?!

MINI’S SCHOOL ALSO PROVIDES THE CHILDREN WITH A BRANDED BACKPACK, BUT IF NOT, I WOULD BUY (AND HAVE HEARD GREAT THINGS ABOUT) THIS STATE BAGS STYLE AND THIS LIVLY — BOTH GET STRONG MARKS FOR BEING A GOOD SIZE FOR TODDLERS, HAVING A POCKET FOR WATER BOTTLE, AND BEING AESTHETICALLY PLEASING

PERSONALIZED MOM NOTEPAD

FACE MASKS (WHAT A TIME WE’RE LIVING IN…)

For back-to-school outfits…

CPC KIDS MADDIE DRESS (MINI HAS OWNED THIS IN SEVERAL PRINTS — SO, SO CUTE IN THE PLAID; SIMILAR CLASSIC LOOK FOR LESS)

STILL DROOLING OVER THIS DRESS (SEEN ABOVE IN A DIFFERENT COLORWAY), WHICH I’VE HAD AN EYE ON FOREVER BUT THAT $29 SHIPPING CHARGE IS KILLING ME…HAVE IN MIND FOR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL (IF COOL) OR MAYBE THANKSGIVING DINNER…ALSO LOVE THIS NAVY BEAUTY

FOR YOUR LITTLE MAN: THESE CORDUROY OVERALLS

MINI WORE THIS EXACT JUMPER AND A RUFFLE COLLAR PIMA TOP SIMILAR TO THIS FOR HER FIRST DAY LAST YEAR

CLASSIC CARDIGANS (RUN SMALL)

YOU COULD DO THE SAME LOOK FOR A LITTLE BOY WITH THIS JON JON OR MY FAVORITE LITTLE BOY SHORTALLS (OR THESE CLASSIC JON JONS TOO)

IF YOU’RE ON THE MONOGRAM TRAIN, HOW SWEET IS THIS LOOK?? OR THIS PIMA DRESS?! OR THIS GINGHAM ONE?

ALSO LOVE THIS YELLOW GINGHAM JUMPER WITH A WHITE BLOUSE AND KNEE HIGHS

THIS IS BEYOND

FOR A BOY, MAYBE SOMETHING CLASSIC LIKE SEERSUCKER SHORTS, AN OXFORD, AND A FUN NEEDLEPOINT BELT

OR THIS LOOK, FROM HEAD TO TOE…PERFECT (BUILD THE LOOK FOR LESS STARTING WITH THESE LINEN SHORTALLS)

CLASSIC T-STRAPS FOR HER

CLASSIC SPERRY FOR HIM

WEE ONES HAIRBOWS

Speaking of fall clothes, let me put a plug in for Proper Peony’s new pima cotton collections. I think this is only the second season they’ve offered pieces in pima and I AM SMITTEN. They get the traditional look but are so much easier to launder (no ironing required). This is perfection.

P.S. Great toys for little ones and indoor toddler activities for those of us still essentially sheltering in place. Who else is burnt out on the latter? Yikes! Any new suggestions? We’ve done all of these a number of times.

P.P.S. For those traveling at any point this summer with small children: have heard great things about this folding travel baby chair. Unrelated but these inexpensive anti-skid socks get great reviews.

P.P.P.S. I bought these insect repellant wipes (note that DEET is not the same thing as DDT…something I confused myself before doing more research; The American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded that DEET is safe for use on children in concentrations below 30% but not at all on infants under 2 months), but am very intrigued by this non-chemical solution. (Note you have to set it up in the spot you’ll be 20 minutes prior, i.e., 20 minutes before dinner al fresco. Has anyone tried this?!)

4 Comments

  1. Ah, back to school. It’s the topic of every conversation I’ve had recently and I’ve had to make a conscious effort to limit my intake. I’ve determined every family’s situation is different and no one can question anyone else’s choice. We are waiting for our school district to make the last-minute decision in mid-August, but it’s looking like a hybrid plan of virtual and in-person. We are contemplating a big change to private school (which may require a housing change as well but I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself because the anxiety of it ALL is too much) not because of the school board’s decision, but strictly due to the lack of leadership that’s been exposed in the last 6 months. It’s disheartening, especially given that we are the number one district in our state. I feel for those who are in the margins and deciding between losing a job or sending their children to school. Certainly I would feel differently about our situation had I not already exposed my entire family to COVID (do you sense the guilt?). My children are middle school and elementary school and they are losing vital skills that I’m unable to replicate at home (in part because our virtual learning platform is terrible). We will likely not send my preschooler because if he isn’t in-person, then we don’t feel like it’s worth the cost and hassle to send him since he’s only there for the socialization at his age. It all feels so hard and I’m hesitant to make any decision out of fear it’s the wrong one.

    1. Oh, I hear you, Amy — “It all feels so hard and I’m hesitant to make any decision out of fear it’s the wrong one.” 100%. It feels like the stakes are so high and that there is so little clear leadership for any of us right now. In my conversations with friends, we all feel as though we are figuring this out entirely in isolation, on our own, with no scaffolding. Like you, I’ve come to the conclusion that every family’s situation is unique and that there is no right or wrong answer for anyone. I have friends who have had to send their children to daycare because their jobs require it, for example; some of us have forced hands. It is so complicated. I should have made clear at the top of this post that this blog is a no judgement zone. It is helpful to hear the thoughts of other parents, though — thank you for sharing yours.

      xx

  2. Oh, back-to-school time … it will be so different this year. Our little ones are not so little anymore (one in middle school, one in elementary) and they will likely be distance learning for at least the first semester. We’ve adapted to having them here while we work from home, but I am anxious about how this will affect their education. At first (meaning, last spring) I wasn’t so concerned, given that they attend a first-rate school district, but I came to realize that there’s only so much you can do at a distance, especially for younger kids. Ahhhh! Trying not to be too nervous about it.

    I love your picks for back to school clothing … right up my aesthetic alley!

    xx

    1. Ugh, I know – it’s so hard to know what to do and to avoid stressing over how this will impact our children. I am banking on the fact that children are resilient and that everyone is going through this right now; we as a generation will just have to be understanding that these are extenuating circumstances for students. I’ve been thinking about this w/r/t, for example, college applications, and star athletes, and test scores. All of that will be so haywire this year with no in-person sporting events and how will standardized testing even work?! I mean, we’re just going to have to adjust for / accommodate the weirdness of this year at all levels for students who are living through this.

      xx

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