Parent Survival Courses

Posted on | August 5, 2015 | 5 Comments

Kindergarten may kill me. I’m not quite sure why they don’t do like a “Parent Survival Day” a week before… a trial run to get us all where we know what’s coming, even if it means that some parents realize they’re lions and the rest of us realize we’re just the lame gazelle the herd tossed back to distract.

We started on Monday and drop off was a breeze. In and out in under fifteen minutes and my kid seemed happy and adjusted. I was at work on time, everything was sunshine and roses and I texted a friend and was all “This is so easy. I am so awesome at all the things.” She warned me about pick up and I mocked her. She said she gets there at 2, over an hour early, just to wait around for her kids.

“Lame,” I thought to myself. “How bad can it really be.”

So I left my office at 2:45 and drove 15 minutes down the highway to the school exit, lauding my ability to rock out at all of this parenting stuff. I pulled up to the stop light three blocks down from the school and realized… I was apparently already in the line for pick up. Three blocks back and it was already winding a maze of sadness down through a neighborhood. Parents were glassy eyed and twitchy, watching carefully for the side swiping vulture cars who think that the line is just a suggestion, or perhaps a convenient opportunity to show that they are above the rules. It took me about three minutes to go from totally relaxed and ready to see my child, to stressed out, gripping the wheel and following so close to the truck in front of me that I was basically cleaning their grill for the first football tailgate. NO ONE WOULD GET IN MY WAY TO SEE MY CHILD! NO ONE!

I left work at 2:45 for 3:15 school dismissal. My child didn’t get into my car until 3:50. The majority of that time, I could actually see him but was not sure if it was okay to get out of my car and get him or if I had to wait my turn. Other parents got out and got their kids. I never could quite figure out if that was frowned upon. When we finally got home, I wasn’t sure who was more traumatized so we basically just drank for dinner. Both of us. (Okay no, not really).

But because it’s what we do, we got up and did it all again the next day. Only this time, I dropped him off for breakfast, thinking it would give me extra time at the office. Little did I know what that entailed. On day three, when he refused to get out of the car because he hated breakfast time, I walked in with him.

I’m fairly certain prisoners have a better time during meals.

Someone, somewhere, decided that allowing children to talk during meals leads to choking hazards or maybe not eating or maybe it just annoys people. So there are no-talking nazis everywhere telling children at 7:45 in the morning that there is to be absolutely no talking at any time. They herd them into a room where they are seated “criss cross applesauce” in a single file line… silently… until the warden guard teacher announces their line can go get breakfast. Once they get their tray, they are ushered to a table where they sit next to anyone from K-5 in straight up silence to eat food. Well.. not exactly silence because while they eat, they are subjected to yelling like ‘YOUNG MAN ON THE CORNER? SIT DOWN. YOUNG LADY IN BLUE? NO TALKING.” I’m not actually sure what happened after that because I was suddenly too concerned I might drop something in the hallway and have to bend over to get it.

Ultimately, we ended up in the library, in the peaceful quiet of some good books and the tension in my kid’s shoulders dropped away. I was able to walk him down to his classroom and leave him in the hands of his awesome teacher without any further issues. It seems like there should be a better way for kids to start their day… some option like reading books in the library, or playing on the playground… something they can sign up to do other than be yelled at by Nurse Ratchet as they shovel poptarts and sugary cereal into their mouths. But what do I know… I’m just trying to not get eaten by one of the more ferocious foes around me and just make it through week one peacefully.

Until, you know, survival of the fittest at 3:15.


5 Responses to “Parent Survival Courses”

  1. Murphy
    August 5th, 2015 @ 1:03 pm

    This is a genuine question–do you get out of work at 2:15 or do you have to go back to the office? I don’t have kids but I’m worried about someday when I do–how to get them to and fro with a full time job.

  2. Law Momma
    August 5th, 2015 @ 1:25 pm

    For this first week, I’m leaving at 2:45 to go get him. On Monday I brought him back to work with me but yesterday we just went home. Starting next week, he will be in the after care program at his school.

  3. Michelle
    August 5th, 2015 @ 3:49 pm

    This is why whenever I did have to pick up my kiddo at school, I parked, walked in to get her, and beat the insanity as best as I could. It’s a mad jungle, be careful 🙂

  4. Jennifer O
    August 6th, 2015 @ 11:04 am

    I used to teach. I have had the luxury of being a SAHM while I raised my daughter. I am so NOT looking forward to what you describe. We literally bought our house because it backs up to an elementary and middle school and we can avoid the pickup mess. I struggle because she starts kindergarten and I have to pay $300 for her to go full day, WTF? They want to short change them in the important years, so frustrating. I am so scared that they won’t do what they said they will. I have been teaching her 1st grade math because she was ready for it and I don’t care for the common core. Now I am told she can go to first grade math but if they don’t I might pull her. I don’t want her to be at school 6 hours a day and pay them if I still have to teach the math lesson. My problem is I decided to try and get a job and know I might get trapped in the reality of paying for something that they won’t deliver on! I just didn’t feel right cutting her education back from last year, were she went four hours/four days a week. If you send them for the “free” 1/2 day, she would only get 2hours and 20 minutes of education… so for the ramble because I am not used to being the parent for my own kid. As a former teacher in the South, I used to make educational decisions for my students because the parents wouldn’t step up to the plate because they were uniformed. I hope things smooth out for you. I know the first few weeks was always hectic! BTW I am trying t avoid returning to the public education rat race because we all deserve better then what is happening now and if they fail my child I just might stick with homeschooling her because I can teach ALL the subjects and push her in the two hour 20 minute time frame but I would feel bad about her missing out on the socialization part! Decisions, decisions…

  5. Maggie
    August 6th, 2015 @ 1:02 pm

    During Oldest’s first four years of elementary school he had the best principal ever. She made before school waiting time in the cafe fun, she let the kids choose their own lunch tables, talking everywhere before school at during lunch was fine, etc. Plus she was an amazing administrator, but that’s not relevant here. Then in 4th grade they got a new principal and holy crap suddenly there was no choosing where to sit at lunch, no loud talking during lunch or else recess was denied, no one monitoring before school in the cafe so it was like Lord of the Flies in there until parents realized it and some SAHPs and others with flexible work schedules started staying and trying to manage things. She even refused to allow the 4th and 5th graders to pick their own teams for kickball at recess. Plus she was a terrible administrator. In short: it was horrible. In two years the parents revolted, documented nonsense, and harangued the school board and we got a new principal, who isn’t as awesome as principal 1 but MILES better than #2 and things are much better. I bring this up only because I wonder if the school has always been this way or if the current regime has ridiculous and terrible ideas about how to treat elementary school kids. If it’s the latter, there may be hope for the future if other parents find it similarly terrible.

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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