Monday, August 11, 2008

Up in the morning and out to school...

from the song School Day by Chuck Berry.

I'm sorry that it's been a week since my last post. TFYO started kindergarten last week, and I was filling in on the night shift, to boot.

TFYO was very excited about getting to ride "the big girl bus". I was terrified. I'm sure I seemed like a helicopter parent, shouting instructions while she was getting on the bus, but I promised myself I'd let her go, and I would not meet her at the school.

As she was getting on the bus, I caught a glimpse of her clear backpack.* I realized she was missing something, something rather important, actually. She was missing her three-ring notebook which we were told at the school open house must absolutely, positively come with her every day. That binder holds her lunch money, her behaviour chart, notes from her teacher and any homework she's supposed to do or has already done.

In a panic, I fled back down our street from the bus stop, pushing the stroller at full speed. Baby J was less than impressed, and let me know by filling her diaper and spitting up all over herself. I must have literally scared the crap out of the poor kid.

So, even though I didn't want to, I ended up joining the horde of parents at the elementary school the first day. I had hoped to beat the bus, and make it to the classroom before TFYO. As I was speeding down the twisty two-lane highway, I noticed blue lights in my mirror. I began to pull to the side, convinced that I'd never make it to the school on time now, but he sped past me and pulled over the mom in the minivan filled with kids in front of me instead.

Now, normally I'm not the kind of person who rejoices in others misfortune. Not much, anyway. But I couldn't help smirking a little as I sped past her arguing with the deputy over how late her kids were going to be thanks to him. Hallelujah!

My joy was short-lived when I actually made it to the school, though. Traffic was already backing up at the entrance, and I could tell the parking lot was full. Wending my way through the throngs of tiny people carrying oversized backpacks, I managed to find a small strip of grass at the far end of the ball field that was not occupied by a pick-up truck, an SUV or a minivan.

Gathering up Baby J (who was howling with anger at being strapped in to the car seat), I huffed and puffed my way across the grounds until I could get in a door, where I was immediately told I had to go in the front and sign in.

Back out, and half way around the school, I pushed my way into the front entrance with seemingly every other parent in the county.

I was met with cries of "Sign in! We can't let you in unless you sign the sheet!" I scribbled something down on a line which may or may not have actually been my name. It was difficult to tell. Under reason for being there, I scrawled "forgetfulness", which was true.

Finally, notebook tucked under one arm, ten pound baby carrier containing thirteen pounds of baby straining the muscles of the other arm, I made it to TFYO's classroom. Her teacher looked puzzled until I displayed the notebook, unable to summon enough breath to speak. She smiled at me and asked if I wanted to say hi to my child before leaving. I nodded.

Was I met with a smile? Did I receive a delighted hug? No. All I got was...

"Tsk! Mooooo-ooom! What are you doing here?" And she rolled her eyes. My darling, sweet child, happy FYO...rolled her eyes at me.

Now that I'd managed to catch my breath, my answer was a bit tart.

"Well, I'm not here for my health. I'm bringing you the notebook that you forgot this morning."

"But Mommy, I'm too busy talking to Frankie to talk to you. Go home!"

"Who the heck is Frankie?"

"I'm Frankie!" said a little voice. It belonged to a cherub- faced boy with a mop of curls on his head. "I've got a loose tooth, see?"

Yeah, I could see. I could see that a loose tooth was much more important than mommy. TFYO gave me another look that plainly said "Beat it, ma. You're ruining me rep, here."

So, I slunk back to the car, trying not to sniffle over my first born baby, who no longer needed me. It was then that Baby J laughed out loud...and filled another diaper.

At least I know I'm still needed!

*County school rules state that all backpacks must be made of mesh or clear plastic. Same goes for pencil cases. Purses and makeup cases are subject to search.


Kaycie said...

My firstborn still clings and hugs me and calls me Mommy.

She's 17.

TFYO still needs you. Trust me.

Dumdad said...

Ah, been there, had the same reaction.

But Princess Perfect goes to Big School in September to join her brother, 14. So, she's already got her bus pass. Bus pass? That means I won't be taking her to school any longer. I'm not sure how I feel about that!

I remember when Brainbox first went to school on the bus on his own - and, like some super sleuth, I tracked him without him seeing me to make sure he was okay.

What fun it all is! said...

That's a great story. Laughed myself silly.

my two cents said...

My FYO cried everyday when I took her to kindergarten. Of course her kindergarten teacher made me cry, too! I am sure it is sad that she doesn't seem to want you, but before long you'll find that she does still need you. I am amazed at her independence, though. She's going to go far!!

my two cents said...

p.s. Baby J is AWFULLY cute!!!

WT said...

And yet another milestone has been reached.

Gurnal said...

Wait....I must check out and approve this "Frankie" character.

If that is his real name.

Jill said...

Hey Jen! Sorry I haven't commented on your little corner of cyberspace in the past little while... you know. Life and all.

I have to admit that I agree with Mr. Gurnal. Who is this Frankie person and why is he showing off his loose tooth to my little FYO??

And Baby J is FREAKING adorable. I can't believe she's 10 lbs. I'm convinced you're feeding her steak.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Ahh Jen what a nightmare. I shouldn't laugh but I love TFYO, she's such a star and like everyone says she definitely still needs you. Miss E just turned 8 and I still get fabulous cuddles occasionally.

This post brings back memories as Miss M was still a baby when Miss E turned 5 and started big school. It was bitter sweet as I loved the extra time with Miss M, but missed Miss E. She loved it though.

Teresa said...

Mesh or clear backpacks...not a bad idea. As a teacher I can think of plenty of reasons for that rule. I have had kindergartners bring: 1. matches(started a fire in a trash can before school) 2. $300.(got into mom's purse) 3. cellphones
4. a squirt gun (ALL guns are banned in schools) and miscellaneous, amusing things like HUGE painted rocks, pine cones, and of course various toys.