Wednesday, September 07, 2016

First day setbacks

Before the first day of school for the kids, which was today, I put together a schedule which I felt would enable me to get everything done for their morning routine and get them to school on time, as well as my getting there on time to pick them up. Up until this week, I figured I would be dropping them both off and picking them both up at school.

That changed yesterday.

Yesterday was Jesse’s Meet & Greet, in which he met his new teachers (he has two and they take different shifts – and one of those teachers is a teacher which Jennifer had when she attended the school), saw his classroom and took care of other things he would need to be prepared for with the new school year.  One thing he had on his mind: Riding the school bus. Last year, he rode the bus for the Boys & Girls Club, but I didn’t sign him up for the B&GC this year because he was having problems with kids there. So as far as I knew: No bus this year. Jesse had other ideas! When we were there yesterday, and I was in the office taking care of his medical stuff with the school nurse, he asked about riding the bus to school. Last year, he was not allowed to ride the school bus because we live out of the school district. But we checked the school district website and it did say that kids living out of district can ride the school bus to the school now. Cool! Jesse was really excited about that. One of the secretaries seemed skeptical and she said if I could get Jesse to that bus stop, she would add him to the bus roster. I assured her I could do it. By car, the bus stop is only 5 minutes away. And I already did that one year, too! (Although there was a year that things got crazy because I was babysitting a child who attended another school and there was a scheduling conflict in trying to be in 2 places at the same time! Fortunately, my friend Martine came to my rescue. I am forever indebted to her for that!!)

So now Jesse has to leave the house at a different time to get to the bus stop in time. Before, he had 30 minutes to eat breakfast. (I gave him 30 minutes to eat because he takes FOREVER to eat. And do lots of other things…) Now, since we have to leave for the bus, he has 10 minutes to eat breakfast. I reminded him that this meant he could not fool around. He couldn’t play with his food, watch TV, chatter away about stuff or any other delays like that.

This morning, though, was the day the schedule was put to the test. All this time, we practiced going to bed and getting up according to schedule. But today was the Real Deal. It was pretty much when I was telling my kids, “OK, kids, time to hop to it. Remember your training. This is not a drill!” (When I’d first given them their new schedules, I told them, “Read it. Learn it. Memorize it.”)

So what happened?

Jesse woke up on time, but he ate breakfast earlier than planned. That gave him sufficient time to eat his breakfast AND brush his teeth before we left.

Jennifer threw a wrench into my expectations this morning when she told me that she didn’t want to buy lunch today; she wanted to take a lunch. I was soon in the kitchen, hurriedly preparing a school lunch for her. I reminded her that she needs to tell me these things in advance so that I can plan for them (instead of wasting time on the computer like I was actually doing until it was time to make her breakfast!). At least she gave advance notice that she would want to take lunches to school more often so we could buy things for school lunches at the store today. Fortunately, we did have what she needed for today. So now I have to factor in time to make her lunch in the mornings so that I can also make her breakfast in time! (I still managed to get everything done for her this morning and not only did we leave on time and I got her to school on time, but I got her there early!)

Then there was another debacle because of the bus. Jesse rode the bus to school this morning, but I think he got confused about what was going on later in the day. Like I had on my own personal schedule, I went for my walk this morning, spent some time reading and went to the gym. I got to the bus stop at the time I was supposed to be there for the drop-off.

But the bus didn’t show up!

One of the parents was there, too, and we waited on that corner for the bus to get there and deliver our children to us. I kept checking my phone to see the time and wondering what was going on. Why was it held up? I figured, first day stuff. Things are bound to go wrong on the first day of ANYTHING no matter how well you plan for it in advance. So maybe that was it. I kept trying to assure myself that the bus hadn’t been beamed up by aliens or that it had a flat tire or that the bus driver had gone crazy and took off with the kids still in the bus. (I told Jesse yesterday that I didn’t feel comfortable about him riding the school bus because, in the past, he got into fights with other boys and, also, I read all these stories of deranged bus drivers or accidents happening and it made me pretty nervous about putting my son on a school bus!)

The funny thing is, this morning, that same parent and I had been confused about what side of the street the bus would be on and we had been on the wrong side this morning. We figured we were on the RIGHT side for the drop-off now but even so, we both kept looking both ways up the street for the bus. (He even joked about it at one point.)

Finally, after almost 15 minutes, the bus appeared. We patiently waited for the bus to pull up and open its doors. I waited while kids started climbing off until I noticed Jesse was not among them. The bus driver, who Jesse and I both know from before, motioned to me and tried to tell me something but I could not lipread her. She grabbed a pen and wrote on a notebook of paper that Jesse had been confused about how he was getting home today. He thought I was picking him up so he didn’t get on the bus. I told her that was not the case and he was supposed to ride the bus and I thanked her for letting me know.

Wow, what a waste of time THAT had been! And all that time, Jesse had been at the school, waiting for me! Dammit!!

I drove to the school and parked the van in the lot. Before I got out of the van, I checked my phone. And NOW I got a text from the school about how Jesse had NOT taken the bus and was there for me to pick him up. I grumbled and mentally cursed as I got out of the van and ran to the office. Jesse was outside waiting for me and he ran over to hug me, smiling. There was a teacher’s aide with him and I told her that Jesse was supposed to take the bus home. I was not sure if I was supposed to inform his teachers. (Kids riding the school buses are dismissed a little earlier and put into separate lines heading out of the school.) I reminded Jesse that he DOES ride the bus now and we would tell him if that changed. (We would also notify his school office and teachers before dismissal.) I hope he will remember that from now on.

Other than those setbacks, everything else had gone just fine. I was able to get some lunch after I got home and have time to rest before leaving to get Jennifer. I got done the things I was supposed to get done.

The schedule sure was put to the test today. Despite slight changes to everything, it is still a schedule that works, so we’ll be using it from now on. I hope everybody just remembers all the small changes we have to make to it because of the last-minute surprises!

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