Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tick. Tock.

I am a slave to the clock. I am a slave to the school bus. I am a slave to the beginning and end times of my children's activities.

Surely this is no new phenomenon. My parents went through it. My friends' parents went through it. My friends today go through it. If you have school age children - or ever did - you know exactly what I am talking about.

Although in no means was my life "PRE school bus" easy. Last winter and spring I had a four year old, his eighteen-months-younger brother, and a new baby girl to tote around the city with me. We struggled Tuesday and Thursday mornings to get Thing 1 to and from preschool. Where he spent 2 1/2 hours. Yet it took me longer than that to actually organize us all to drop him off and pick him up. Where on Tuesdays we could never find parking because the school parking lot was completely jammed due to another activity taking place at the same time.

Yet, outside of Tuesday and Thursday mornings we were fairly flexible in choosing our day to day activities. If we felt like going to the library on Monday afternoon, then that is where our little group ventured. Too rainy or snowy to play outside? I might have hit the indoor play area at the mall, looked for sales, and choked back a coffee while juggling three Things with the other, non-coffee-clutching, hand.

But, alas, this year is different. Thing 1 must be at the designated bus stop around the corner at 12:15 every single weekday. The bus comes at 12:18, so if by some chance of fate (or a dawdling, rock-kicking, leaf-inspecting toddler) we are late, the big giant banana-coloured bus would not stop to take my oldest son to his afternoon kindergarten class. Then what would I do? Trudge back the six to ten minutes it takes the four of us to walk a distance any grown adult could cover in two to three, buckle three kids in car seats in the van, and drive to school.

You get my point.

I'd rather not miss the bus. So in order to ensure we arrive at the designated spot, on the proper side of the street, at 12:15 every single day, all the stars must be aligned. We must all have eaten lunch, finished, washed our hands and wiped our faces, peed, pooped, put shoes on - sweaters or jackets as they become increasingly necessary - prepared, packed and zipped backpack, grabbed whatever *special* and crucially important "small useless toy of the day" each boy must have before we descend down the front steps of our house. Because if we dare leave the end of the driveway without "the helicopter guy with the blue hat" or "the Lego Star Wars person who is not actually Obi Wan Kenobi but who Thing 2 pretends is Obi Wan", the mother of all breakdowns will occur, rendering it then impossible for me to get us all to the bus stop on time.

Oh. I forgot to mention Thing 3. She may or may not be up from her morning nap at this time. If she went to sleep late, she could easily still be sleeping and therefore I need to jolt her from her peaceful, quiet, and happy world where no one is yelling "Hey, I got you", "No way, I got you first", "NO, I said I GOT YOU FIRST", "MOMMY, HE DID NOT GET ME FIRST", lift her from her soft, comfortable and protective crib, and plunge her into one of our two strollers (a single pram-type stroller from back in that very short time period that we had just Thing 1, or a sporty, double stroller we were given as a gift after we had Thing 2), so that we may make our way around the corner and up the street to . . . .

"the designated spot".

The previous details don't even come close to describing the bundle of stress and nerves I frequently become on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when we take Thing 2 to preschool at 9:00 a.m. and pick him up at 11:30 a.m. (because I was so adamant that I did not want to neglect my second child by not providing him with the same preschool opportunities his older brother had), rush home and throw lunch on the table while hoping and praying picky-eater Thing 1 eats enough to give him sustenance for his afternoon at school. And who am I kidding? Some days I just threaten him.

"You need to eat Peter, because X will happen if you don't."

"You only have two more minutes to eat, Peter, or else . . . ."

"I SAID EAT OR XYZ!!!"

And I get to repeat the aforementioned process at 3:15, when Things 2 and 3 and I must return to the designated spot to retrieve Thing 1 from the jaws of the big banana bus and begin to listen to the pleasantries of his day at school, on the long, slow and less frazzled walk home. Where the Things can stop and smell the roses, pick up stones on the side of the road, talk to neighbours, and chase each other around the front lawns that we walk past.

"Mommy, I learned how to print my name . . . and I made a picture on the computer, and I learned a new song, and madame read us a story, and I made two new friends . . . and can you even believe there are TWO Ryans in my class . . . do you think we could go to the park and play, and maybe read a story later, and then play Star Wars?"

He oozes excitement, pride, and happiness. He talks so quickly I can barely process his train of thought.

This is why I remain a slave to the clock, and will for every single school day until the end of June.

Totally worth it.

6 comments:

beth said...

Yes, yes, yes.

The constant time pressure. The way one leaky diaper can ruin an hour of perfect planning and progress. I can so relate to this.

Landerson said...

I'm exhausted just from reading about it! You're a good Mom Shannon:)

Jenny said...

This is too funny! I remember my mom doing the same thing. It was never on the half hour or hour. The bus always came at like 7:16, or 12:19. Oh..the things we go through as children and mothers. I do not know how some moms survive w/o a schedule!

amanda said...

totally and completely worth it :)

so glad you have that perspective friend - although i am sure it's not easy!

Kristen said...

I have to say this totally just made me a teensy bit scared for school to start. Maybe I am not so upset by spending somedays in PJ's in the house.

Glad it is worth it after all of that! WOW!

Megan said...

i bet it felt good to get all that out! whew!! and, so glad he is so oozing with excitement!!

Megan

 
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