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August 2015
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October 2015

September 2015

Pondered In The Carpool Line

The natural consequence of Caroline lying fully clothed on her bed staring at the ceiling while I rev the engine in the driveway is that Patrick is late for school. The alternative is that I stand at the bottom of the stairs yelling "Caroline! Caroline! CAROLINE! CAROLINNNNNEEEEEE" getting screechier on the ascending scale - all Fantine as her dreams turn to sha-aaa-aaa-aaa-AAAAAme - which annoys the bejeezums out of me and leaves her teary and reproachful, whispering, "You shouted at me."  

I am certain there is a middle ground - probably illuminated by Mrs Piggle-Wiggle in her boundless wisdom - but I was damned if I could think of it at 8:5ohmygodwehavetogonowCAROLINE.

There is, you know, a remote possibility that this might occur again so I should probably be prepared.

Note: I do the ten minute, five minute, two minute warning thing but it feels like I am just counting down to being zoned out.

Please advise.


Widdershins

Yesterday was the first day of school and it was a complete non-event for me and mostly a ditto for the children:

1. Edward said he was exhilarated. I asked him to tell me more. He said, "How do you do more than exhilarated?"

Fair enough.

2. Caroline told me about this and that and this and that that that and then said, "Oh! And then my friend E and I got locked out of the building and someone had to find us and let us back in again."

I had only been half listening to her but that got my attention. You got whatted out of the what?

"E had her shoe slip off and then it took her a while to get it back on again so I waited with her but by the time we got to the door it was locked and everyone was back inside."

I think it says a lot about my development as a neurotic parent that my instinct wasn't to clutch my pearls and contemplate the dangers that might beset two seven year old girls who are temporarily off the adult grid, but instead to imagine how their (brand new to the school) teacher must've felt when she realized she was down a couple of second graders and it was only the first freaking day. Like gakking. I expect she felt like gakking.

"Stay with your class, Caroline," I said.

"Oh sure!" she responded cheerfully. "Except when I can't. Like with E and her shoe."  

3. Patrick went to lunch twice and missed a chunk of his art class but I don't think it was entirely his fault.  Apparently the schedule is set up so that they go to half of their fourth period class, then go to lunch and then come back for the rest of fourth period. I swear Noelle explained this to me when she and her family came over on Sunday night and I had to have her repeat it three times and then have her confirm that what I thought she had said was true. But there it is. It sounded ridiculous(ly) (disruptive) to me but then I can only do one thing per day (watch football OR write something) and sometimes not even that so I'm not the best model for creative time management.  

So Patrick's schedule listed first period, second period, third period, lunch, fourth period etc with notes about block days and A B or C lunches. It also listed times for all of these things but I guess that was a little too detailed for Patrick so he went to first period, then second period, then third period, then lunch (which he ate) and then fourth period only to discover that his class was about to break... for lunch. He went to the office for guidance and she helpfully drew one of those two-sided arrows between lunch and fourth period to remind him that his printed schedule wasn't entirely in chronological order. 

I'm sure he'll figure it out.

4. Caroline and Edward's school decided to try and improve the admittedly dire parking lot situation by redirecting traffic. This is a very clever idea and I approve of it, but they weren't clear in explaining that the altered flow only applies to pickup and not drop off; so imagine, if you will, an opening scene in which dozens of cars are attempting to go clockwise while the rest are attempting to... not.

It reminded me of the Stephen Leacock quote, "Lord Ronald said nothing; he flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions."

PS   I knew as soon as my streak was broken I would start using every excuse not to write, like this weekend when I became temporarily unhinged by watching eleventy billion Euro qualifiers. I think I watched more hours of soccer than actually exist, having entered some kind of footballicious fourth dimension.

Oh. Yeah. As long as we're on the subject I might as well acknowledge: Chelsea is having an appalling start; absolutely terrible; cannot score to save their collective lives; defense is shaky; and just when you think Mourinho could not get any ass-i-er a new week rolls around bing! he surpasses himself. I would not be surprised to learn that under his management Chelsea jerseys are being woven from the pelts of the Smurf - La La La La LA LAAAAAAAaaaaaaiiiiie!

And in October Scotland has to beat Gibraltar (no problem. I could beat Gibraltar) but they also need to defeat Poland, which... hmmm. I mean, maybe! Is there a Scots word that means one is resigned to inevitable defeat while still retaining some painful vestiges of optimism? I'm sure there's one in German... not that they'd ever need to use it.


Overly Ambitious

I think Patrick's Back to School Open House (All Grades) agenda might have been the funniest thing I have read all year:

6:00 - 6:20 pm    This is the time for you to pick up your schedule, turn in forms, sign up for activities in the gymnasium, find your locker, and turn in donations to your 3rd period classroom.

6:20     School director will be in the gymnasium to introduce administrative team, speak about School and answer questions.

6:30 - 6:50    Meet the Department Chairs

6:55 - 8:00   Students/Parents will follow their class schedule. This will be an opportunity to learn about class expectations, curriculum and homework for each class.

    6:55 - 7:00 Period 1

    7:05 - 7:10 Period 2

    7:15 - 7:20 Period 3

Et cetera.

The [brand new] school director was going to introduce his staff, explain his vision and answer questions (answer questions. from parents) in ten minutes? Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha. Have you ever seen what happens when the head of a school asks parents if they have any questions? Fifty hands shoot up and they all want to know why their child is not in band after Spanish this semester because that schedule really worked well for Snowflake last year. And as for the... optimism behind the idea that entire families were going to navigate narrow and unfamiliar hallways to transition between classrooms in five minutes, be given useful information in another five and then zip off again en masse... bwah, I say again, ha ha. Bless their hearts.

Add to this frenetic pace the fact that the school has about 400 students, two separate buildings and - I'm being generous - about 80 parking spaces and it all becomes that much sillier.

At 5:55 I personally was about tenth in a line of cars that was trying to turn onto the street which eventually leads up to the school. People were parking a quarter mile away. I eventually bailed because I had to get back to pick up Edward from soccer practice and when we came back at 7 it looked like the circus had come to town with hundreds of people milling around outside. I can only imagine how smoothly the whole period one, period two, period three thing worked out. What a waste of time for everybody; teachers, parents, staff, students.

So the newest point in my anarchist parent manifesto calls for the abolition of Back to School night for middle school and higher with the exception of students who will be new to the school. Feel free to sign my petition.

PS You know, as I think about it, Patrick's school reworked parent-teacher conferences last year so that either the school or the parent could request a meeting that night if there was a concern but everyone else was off the hook. If the school thought your kid was ok and you thought your kid was ok then you didn't have to go. It was marvelous.


Can Also Start With A Single Evasion

It's hard to argue against time spent bonding with one's teenaged son while modeling physical fitness, respect for nature, healthy eating and self-sufficiency.

It's all good at 13400 feet.

Macisannoying

But before they left with their itty-bitty tube of toothpaste and their potable water tablets, I asked Steve a couple of times when he thought they would be returning from Colorado.

"Hmmmmmmmm," he answered. "Huuuuuuhhhhh. It's hard to saaaaay exactly."

Which, ok, Lesley Gore. You're not one of my toys. Stomp those Gogo boots. I don't own you. Got it. 

But

I felt compelled to point out, "You know Patrick starts school the day after Labor Day."

He responded, "What time?"

It's like being married to Auntie Mame.