Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Rookie Mom In the Drop-Off Line

I pick up my kids in the family jet, because I'm not a peasant.

Afternoon Readers,

You know what makes life great? Suspense.

Right now, I'm thirty-three weeks along and eagerly waiting to hear if I have gestational diabetes.

I've actually had three tests already, but as my beautiful, chocolate-brownie-loving body can't decide whether it's slowly breaking down, I get to head in for more evaluation and the possible threat I'll be eating celery until I show up at the hospital, crazy-eyed and drooling.


Luckily, I've had a plethora of things to distract me from any impending and unwelcome dietary changes. Yes, my nesting instincts are starting to kick into high gear, but even more demanding is the overwhelming need to understand the in's and out's of becoming a fully functioning school mom. How I even became a mom old enough to have kids in school is beyond me, but it's happened, and my urge to blend in is strong.

Please don't read the above as, "My urge to blend in is strong, so I get up, shower, put on makeup, and lovingly distribute bento boxes chock full of sandwiches in the shape of puppy faces."

No, I'm really just trying to figure out what time things start and the proper way to waddle through the cross walk, without losing momentum, sitting down, and waving the cars around me. The principal said she's only allowing one of those and refuses to drag me to safety again. I'm sure there are many, many other things I'll need to get the hang of over the next few months, but, so far, this is what I've observed about the drop-off and pick-up process at school.

The Top Seven Things You Need To Know To Survive When Dropping Off or Picking Up Your School Age Children  

1. Pull Forward 

It's really cute how you thought you'd navigate your Toyota Sienna to literally any place along the curb in front of the school. After all, there are the doors. Your kids need to go through the doors to get to the learnin'. 


Pull forward, damn it. All the way to the end. Nope, keep going until you can't see the school anymore. Follow that yellow line painted on the sidewalk, until your children see you disappear and think they've been abandoned to be raised by school staff.

You're actually nowhere near school anymore. The teacher must now hike to your minivan with the determination of someone who's going to climb Mount Everest in socks and a tank top. Knees to chest. Knees to chest.

2. Never Cut Anyone Off

I haven't done this myself, but there's a careful protocol for merging into the pick-up line after school. Last week, I watched two overzealous moms cut me off, instead of heading to the back of the line, in the attempt to pick up their kids three minutes before me.

It was blatant disregard for the sacred you merge/I merge tango all of us parents had been practicing relentlessly for four weeks, carefully embracing this Strictly Ballroom version of our lives. All of us wanting the trophy.

No sooner had I started sulking into my Cheetos, when a teacher barreled out of nowhere, knocked on the offenders' windows in turn, and gave a speech about common decency, taking turns, and possibly remembering to wash your hands after using the bathroom.

I promised myself I'd never be on the receiving end of that grey bowl cut and iron clad admonishment.

3. Kick Em' Out

The first rule of drop-off: kick your kid out of the car as soon as humanly possible. You may have carried them for nine months, but Susan McRange Rover behind you doesn't know that and needs you to keep it moving. She didn't even slow down as she launched her Timmy and Jimmy from a rocket launcher she keeps under her seat.

She's got yoga at eight. She also just drove over the back of your car and down the hood.

4. Round Em' Up

In the same spirit as sending your kids off for the day, it's also critical you be able to herd all of your offspring into the car as soon as possible. If they're old enough to just jump on the running board and hold on to the antennae, even better.

Is everyone clinging to a headlight? Let's go!

5. Timing is Everything

If you get to pick-up an hour early, you'll be waiting for thirty minutes for your kids.
If you get to pick up thirty minutes early, you'll be waiting thirty minutes for your kids.
If you get there when school lets out, you have the crappiest position in line but, thankfully, it'll only be thirty minutes until you pick up your kids,

6. People Watching

The pick-up line comes with a standard cast of characters. I enjoy every, single one of them and worry when someone is missing:

Mom who had to leave beauty pageant early to go pick up her kids
Dad with really cool car he likes to polish while he's waiting
Mom who ran eight miles with a jogging stroller uphill
Mom who takes picture of kid exiting school, every day (Presumably, this is for an upcoming YouTube documentary, A Batman Back Pack For All Seasons.)
Hot dad who may not be a dad, because you never see him with a kid, but could be peddling Axe body spray to the front office
Pregnant mom who stares too long and can't reach the Cheeto that fell under the glove compartment

7. Relief

Every day, I'm excited to see the twins when they get out of school. They make it through the day, and all is right with the world. As soon as we get home and I detach them from the running board of the van, I make sure to kiss them, tell them I love them, and enjoy the time we get together.

After all, tomorrow I have to tell say goodbye, again, and catapult them to enlightenment before someone drives over the hood of my car.

Until Next Time, Readers!

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