I was prepared to be hated by the teachers at my kids’ elementary school this year. Really, I was. After Little B’s stellar experience in Pre-K, I figured there was some kind of pool amongst the Kindergarten teachers over the summer…you know, where the loser gets Little B. I get it. He’s a handful. I expected instant recognition when I walked into the school with him for the first time this year. We certainly got that. He’s well-known among the faculty there.
This morning, however, I became the subject of scrutiny and disdain by the other parents when I attempted to drop him off in the car line at school. This, I was not prepared for.
It all started about a week ago when Little A started going to a friend’s house to be babysat (babysitted?) while everyone else started school. Her pre-k schedule is staggered, and doesn’t start full-time until next Wednesday. Little B loves the lady who’s keeping Little A, and when he got wind of this little arrangement, he got pretty upset that he’s not getting to go over there too. This morning, when we were dropping off Ana, he restated his objections to the situation, and the entire way to school, he went on and on about how it wasn’t fair that Little A got to go there, and he has to go to school. He said that school was boring. He said that he just gets in trouble at school, and he doesn’t like it. I reassured him that he was a good boy and he would get better as time went on. He wasn’t drinking my kool-aid. I really thought that this would fizzle out by the time we waited in the car line for 15 minutes, inching up ever-so-slowly, because we have to, but also hoping the slow-going trip will help transition him into “school mode.”
It didn’t work.
Me: “Okay, you can take off your seatbelt now, baby, we are almost up there.”
Little B: “No! I don’t want to go to school!”
Me: “Look, you have to take off your seatbelt, the teacher is about to open the door.”
Little B: “No!”
Seconds before the door opened, Little B quickly snapped off his belt, and jumped across the seat to the opposite side. The teacher opened the door and said, “Oh, hello B.” I’d never seen this woman in my life, but apparently Little B’s reputation precedes him. After a few moments of gently prodding him, to no avail, I had to get out of my vehicle, and open the other back door. He sees this coming, jumps into the third-row seat.
Now, I don’t know how much you know about the Rules of Engagement in the morning car line at school, but it’s pretty specific. There’s a duty-officer there who is supposed to be enforcing these rules, but slip up once and you’ll see it’s the other mothers you have to watch out for! Your kid should be un-seatbelted and ready to jump out of the car when the door opens. There are 4-5 teachers standing in line ready to grab the kids and herd them toward the door. As they are closing the car door, you are accelerating as quickly as possible to make room for a new row of cars to unload. There are cars lined up for at least a mile, and they all have a clear view of the goings-on in the row in front of them. Don’t try to skip the line by coming down the opposite lane of travel in an attempt to supersede the line. It’s not your turn, buddy. No one is going to let you in. And if they do, at least one of the mothers in the real car line will get out and whoop both your ass, and the ass of the person who was stupid kind enough to show you mercy.
We held up that line this morning by about 1.6 minutes, which, when converted to Car Line Standard Time, (CLST) equals about 22 minutes. Of their lives. Gone. Forever.
I was so ashamed as I pulled my son by one arm from the back then drug him (ever-so-gently!) out of the vehicle, then pushed him (flailing and screaming) into the arms of the sturdiest teacher I could put my eyes on, that I ran and jumped back in my car and flew away, hoping (in vain) not be recognized. As I circled around, I tried not to make direct eye-contact with any of the Car Line Nazis.
I gave the school principal permission on at least three separate occasions last year to paddle him. They never did. (What the heck is it THERE for, if they are not willing to USE it? Are there WORSE kids at this school than mine?).
I bet they are re-thinking that whole “let’s not paddle B” strategy right this very moment.