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A new learning curve on ‘Jon & Kate’

Kate Gosselin has some time to talk to the camera as the sextuplets start ''junior kindergarten'' on Monday night's episode.
/ Source: Entertainment Weekly

The new episode of “Jon & Kate Plus Eight” on Monday was called “School Days,” with the sextuplets, now five-years-old, starting “junior kindergarten.” (Twins Mady and Cara, being four years older, are in third grade and old pros at school, of course.)

New shoes and lunchboxes were bought, and as a Jon-less Kate led her brood out of the shoe store, there were civilian and professional gawkers on the sidewalk to greet them. Kate told us that she’s done “a major, major about-face” regarding the ordinary folks who want to talk to her. I guess she used to snarl, but now she said she appreciates “that people say, ‘We’re behind you, Kate!’ and ‘Don’t give up!”

Jon also showed up on the momentous morning: the 5:30 AM get-’em-to-the-bus time, to see the kids off. “You only get 18 years with your kids,” he said.

Meanwhile, there are news reports that, on Tuesday, the couple will meet with a court-appointed arbitrator to try and settle some of the “He drained the family account,” “No, she drained the family account!” squabbles the separated couple have been living out in their other media venues, the tabloid newspapers and entertainment-news TV shows.

Jon and Kate Gosselin

Slideshow  22 photos

Jon and Kate Gosselin

The reality TV tale about raising eight children turns into a tabloid nightmare for the couple from Pennsylvania.

I guess this is what other divorcing couples go through, on a far smaller, more private scale, of course. Still, there is enough emotional power supplied by the sight of these eight kids toddling down the driveway to give Kate’s comment about Jon being present but not with her — “It was strange not to have somebody to say, ‘Wow, we did it!” — some genuine poignancy.

The rest of the episode was dominated by Kate home alone, obliged to talk to the camera as though narrating her morning to herself. She did the laundry, some paperwork, and there was a slightly frightening moment when she went up to Mady and Cara’s room. She was “horrified” that it was a mess, and started throwing their dirty clothes down the stairs for them to gather later (“I won’t do it for them,” she said firmly). Kate said she cleaned out “six bags of garbage” from their room.

Good heavens, does this woman, who’s spent years cultivating her image as a neat-freak, not go into her eldest children’s bedroom on a regular basis?