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Back to school: Frowns for kids, smiles and sighs of relief for parents

For most York County parents and schoolchildren, Wednesday is the first day of school. Kids in Chester County went back to class on Monday.

None too soon.

Although almost all parents love their children, and kids love the parents back, no child on earth wants a parent or two harping all the time over a dirty bedroom. And parents sure need to see that school bus roll up so kids can do something besides play video games, fight with siblings and eat up all the cereal and milk.

So kids now have to think up new excuses for the adults in their lives. Kids' summer excuse for parent: 'I didn't eat all the cookies, it was Sissy," will now be replaced by the excuses for teachers: "I did my homework, but the dog ate the paper, and then my baby sister threw up on my math book, and then the school bus was late and I had to walk seven miles to school uphill through the ice and snow and there were these three bears, see, and the daddy bear was a loudmouth and he..."

Adults no longer have to lock themselves in the bathroom for a few minutes of peace and quiet and sanity. On Monday, parents bought last-minute school supplies, to the surly looks of boys and gleaming smiles of girls.

Rosalyn Fulmore of Clover was one of those moms. Notebooks and pencils and paper for the fourth-grade needs of a Crowders Creek Elementary School student named A.J. Fulmore, 9.

"He's antsy, read almost all the books in the library this summer," Fulmore said. "I think he's ready for summer to be over. I know I am."

I asked A.J. Fulmore if he was ready for school.

"No!" he said.

"Homework," said his mother. "No child looks forward to that."

Then there was Nick Jungels of Fort Mill Elementary School, also 9 and headed to fourth grade. He got a new backpack Monday, but the backpack reminded him of school and homework. So he sulked. His sister, Delaney, 6, headed to second grade, got a new pink lunchbox and smiled.

"I love school," Delaney said.

"I hate it," Nick said. "I can't play video games all day at school. The end of my freedom."

"Brother and sister, can't agree on anything," said their mom, Stacy. "We had a great summer, but I am a stay-at-home mom. I need a break."

Then there was David Austin, 11, heading to sixth grade at Rock Hill's Rawlinson Road Middle School. He's ready to go to school because "summer was boring."

His mom, Mary Turner, said, "If he's not ready for school to start, I know I am."

Then there was Madison Hamm, 7, headed to first grade at Rock Hill's Finley Road Elementary School. She needed puppy folders for all her papers and the right markers and that glue that if eaten doesn't cause kids to turn green. Everybody remembers the kid in kindergarten or first grade with the cowlick and runny nose who ate the paste straight out of the pot like candy.

Don't laugh, that guy might wear a Dora the Explorer backpack and ride a bicycle to work and write stories for the newspaper. He might have snarling matches with daughters over wearing makeup to school, buying new clothes for school and the incontrovertible fact that all boys have cooties, even in middle school.

Valerie Hamm, Madison's mother, showed me the parental light.

"We had a great summer, enjoyed the time together," she said.

Valerie Hamm said that Wednesday morning around 7 a.m. she will tear up and cry as she puts her baby on the school bus.

"The end of summer, then the first day of school, means your child is growing up," she said.

At least kids grow up. I'm still working on not eating the paste.

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