"Back to School" Recap

Submitted by ThreeFarmers

The twins are headed back to school and the tups enter Pre-K. Will the children miss being away from their parents? Or will they look at their parents and realize that through education life will give them many options that don’t involve exploitation, an inflated sense of entitlement, or the fraudulent solicitation of charitable dollars from people of lesser means than they? Time will tell.

It’s notable that, for the first time, Jon and Kate take to the couch separately. I’m interested to discover if Jon can construct a complete thought on his own and to see how Kate responds when she has no one belittle. They explain the situation by saying that their schedules are just too busy to be in the same room together.

Pre-school is three afternoons a week. For the first time the tups will learn to make friends who are outside of their sextet. This, to me, is startling. How can a young family with eight children living in a nice suburban neighborhood be so isolated that the children have yet to socialize with anyone their own age? Before school starts, they have to get their wellness checkups. During the weight/height check we learn that Hannah is the heaviest and Joel is the littlest. This is shocking to Kate because, in her expert medical opinion, Collin’s head should cause him to tip the scales. Kate later states, while the kids are being questioned about what foods they enjoy, that her kids will eat anything. That’ s because they are all very hungry, Kate. You’re vain. We get that, but you need to remember that you’re raising children, not hummingbirds.

Next, it’s time to pull out the sphygmomanometer and check everyone’s blood pressure then it’s into the gowns. Alexis gives Aaden a poke and he says “ouch” and Jon admonishes him for over reacting. For the first time in many, many episodes, we hear Kate tell Alexis to keep her hands to herself. Apparently, if their image consultant won’t allow Kate to hit, then no one else can, either. Leah has achy ears, so she got some antibiotics. Although Leah has been complaining about her ears for a while, Kate didn’t think a special trip to the doctor was necessary.

Speaking of that doctor, isn’t medical information supposed to be private? What sort of doctor would allow cameras in the room where a physical examination is taking place? Particularly when it involves children who are not old enough to give their consent. After the vision exam, we learn that Aaden’s vision is stable. The interviewer asks Kate about Aaden’s eye exam and she said she doesn’t know. Let’s rewind for a moment. When Kate was in NYC on her business trip she got snitty when Jon didn’t phone her to get her opinion about a tiny cut on Alexis’ head, but when asked about an issue at least as important as Alexis’ cut, Kate, who was there, albeit in another room, doesn’t care enough to learn the results. Poor Aaden, that’s the burden of being a boy in the Gosselin house.

Joel is despondent while being questioned about his likes and dislikes. He is sick to death of being last all the time. Kate does everything in birth order, which is her pathetically logical excuse for Joel’s place at the end of the line. She states that she might consider doing reverse birth order sometime so Joel won’t always be last. Hey, Kate. You’re mean. No child will ever understand your birth-order logic. How difficult is it to take turns? Teachers manage to do it with 20+ kids everyday because they understand that having the chance to be first now and then makes a child feel special. Kids are keenly aware of their place in line and in a family and to consistently put the same child last because of something as completely circumstantial as birth order, affects them deeply. If you knew that Joel was sad because he was last, then you knew enough to do it differently. I’ll say it again. You’re mean. By always using birth order, Joel already knows that he is last, no matter what.

Back in the driveway, the vans are parked sideways so there will be no drive-by gawking at the Gosselins. The kids play with a couple of remote controlled Tonka cars and Kate comments that since there are only two vehicles, the children will fight over them. Did you hear that? KATE NEEDS MORE THAN TWO! CARS SO THE CHILDREN WON’T FIGHT. I guess it’s easier to have six of everything than it is to teach the children to share. When I was a kid, we weren’t allowed to fight over toys. If there was a fight, the toy was put away for at least a week. Perhaps Kate should get her head around the fact that those cars only run on two frequencies so you can only have two running in the same place at the same time. If there are more than two, the trucks will all react to the signal coming from the remote that is on the same frequency and they will all run into each other. Perhaps the Gosselins should know something about the products they agree to endorse on the show.

Jon does a training wheel-ectomy on Joel’s bike and everyone gets a chance to experience life on two wheels. With one quick push Joel gets his first taste of freedom and he takes to riding that two-wheeler like Kate to fertility treatments. GO, JOELLY, GO! All the other kids get a turn on the two-wheeler, but gravity isn’t working in their favor. Some of the kids are quite upset, but I am tickled to death that Joel is FIRST in something that is totally out of his mother’s control. Good for him. May this be the start of many exciting firsts in this little boy’s life. J&K have to mention that Joel was whining the whole time he was riding his bike. I don’t suppose it would have anything to do with his lack of confidence that comes from being last all the time, would it? Maybe it’s because every time he does something well, his parents have to find something negative to tell the cameras.

Too much fun and everyone is late for school. It’s a mad rush for the van and they make it just in time to be greeted by Miss Kimberly, their teacher. We don’t see any other children there so we really don’t know how the tups are socializing with other kids. Kate goes over the green/yellow/red method used for monitoring behavior in the classroom and lets everyone know that her children would probably never treat other children as badly as they treat each other.

It’s right about now that Kate slips in another of her made up words. This week’s entry is “stampled” which seems to be a mutation of “stomped” and “trampled.” It’s time that we start making up words to describe Jon and/or Kate. Here’s my entry: egophile- someone who is so enraptured by their own over-inflated self worth, that they fail to recognize the damage they are doing to those who are placed in their care.

As the show comes to a close, I look back at the title, Back To School, and notice that the only children going back to school are the twins and they weren’t seen in the episode at all. Did the twins get a break from filming or was their footage not interesting enough to save it from the editing room floor? I don’t know, but for some reason, they were omitted from an episode that was obviously named because of their perspective.

Jon is glad because the kids are getting bigger, doing things, and going places. He admits that time is flying. Kate tells us that she can still see “baby” when she looks at them. I would imagine that would have something to do with the bibs around their necks. That, and the fact that the children have the self-control of two-year-olds. She says that as they get older (like Mady and Cara) and start getting attitudes, she’ll be in trouble. That’s true. Exploitation does require some cooperation on the part of the children.