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Fifth grade is the friendliest grade, and other first day lessons

First day of school photos are non-negotiable. They will happen, come zit or cowlick, come mismatched oddball fashion choice, come whatever. I’m don’t rush out and buy first day of school outfits because my choices end up being even more corny than how they kids already dress half the time, so they wear whatever strikes them and I’m cool with that.

Yesterday was the first day of school for most of the school-aged kids. They were happy and as-per tradition, I make them endure certain poses and expressions. Like, they have to hold up what grade they are about to rock. When Joel held up one hand denoting his status as a 5th grader, we laughed. “It just looks like I’m waving!” Yep. He looks like a friendly lad, maybe flagging down passersby to sell them newspapers or shine their shoes.

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3rd-grader Beatrix was pretty happy to get back to school yesterday, especially since over the summer they installed new playground equipment. She’s the Queen of the Monkey Bars and plans to continue her reign. I am amazed by how much she’s changed since last year, when she had baby teeth. Now, she has those adorable giant teeth she will grow into eventually. I encourage her to smile as much as possible because I find the giant chompers of mid-elementary school kids to be the best thing ever.

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With the older kids, I always ask them to contemplate the mysteries of the universe. Tommy, the 7th grader, delivered. I imagined he was thinking of light being both a wave and particle, but he was not. He said he was thinking about thinking about of the mysteries of the universe.

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Last, but not least, was Archie. There is no way to signal, through fingers, that one is in kindergarten unless you attempt to form the letter “K” with fingers or go full-on Alphabet Dancer and lay out on the grass, forming the slightly underrated 11th letter of the alphabet. He was happy, a little nervous, but mostly impatient with my photo shoot by the end.

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Of course, we had to get some group shots in:

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God bless their teachers! And like that, we were off for another year of learning.

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