Sunday, November 11, 2012

Carpool anxiety

I am a quasi-type-A-personality. It was beneficial in my job before kids. But I've tried to drop that portion of my personality as a parent. Maybe not drop, but I try not to be controlling. I fail sometimes. Mainly in the morning, when I'm trying to get Little Elvis ready. He does the same thing every morning, but manages to forget from morning to morning. From the kitchen to the bathroom. From the bathroom to his bedroom. I've walked into his bedroom several times to find him sitting on the floor in his underwear, reading a book, and attempting to put on a shoe. That's just him.

But I do it. We're ready. On the days I do carpool, my three boys and I are all loaded into the car and at our carpool buddy's house on time. Two of my boys can't really help themselves. But two have to be dressed for class, and I've changed out of pajamas. I do it.

Our carpool buddy has been getting later and later on her pick ups. I've called several times. Her husband showed up one morning just as I was loading all of us into the car.

On top of this pattern of them getting later and later, the school has kind of changed it's policy. They posted a sign about how the teachers helping kids out of cars will now leave at 7:40. If you arrive after that, you have to check your child in at the office.

I've seen this sign. It's very visible.

On Thursday I should have taken my child. They showed up very late.

I got a call at about 8:30 from the carpool mom. She said they were stuck behind a bus for 5 minutes, otherwise they wouldn't have been late. (They would've been late anyway.) There were no teachers. Instead of walking our children to the door, she let them out. There were other kids going in the door.

Her daughter went in. My son did not.

Apparently, another mother found him wondering around outside the school... in a not so hot section of town. She escorted my 5-year-old into the school.

The carpool mom found all of this out when she went back to the school to take Little Elvis his backpack. They were just about to call me when she walked in.

It took me all day to find out why he didn't just follow the little girl in the building. He's cagey if he thinks he might get in trouble. Even if I swear he won't. He was looking for his backpack.

I don't know why he was looking for it around the school, but he's a little space cadet.

I told him to go into the building if he was ever by himself again. I can replace his backpack. I can't replace him.

The mom said she knew she should have taken them in.

The principal sent home a note. They've now added another step to their policy. The man who directs traffic to the drop off will now stop allowing traffic to that area after 7:40. I'm assuming Little Elvis' incident was the cause of this.

I'm frustrated. And the more I think about it, the more upset I become. Little Elvis may be a lot like his daddy, but he gets his spacey-ness from me. And I can see him worrying and choking back tears when he realized he was by himself. I'm so thankful there was another mother to help him. I wish I knew who she was so I could thank her.

I did carpool on Friday. I always do it on Mondays. I'm not sure I want to continue. The mom has apologized, but her child wasn't the one wandering around the school. It was mine. My job is to take care of him. Carpooling is so convenient on the days I don't do it. I don't have to rush Baby Plum and Cheese Puff into clothes, only to come back home just a few minutes later.

The mom swears they will get up early. I haven't been mean or rude to her. But when I think about this, I get upset.

The semester is almost over. We have one more week until Thanksgiving. They're out that whole week. Then maybe 2 more weeks.

What to do? Am I overreacting? Something I tend to do.


Blogger Lainey-Paney said...

If you aren't super close with this woman, you say, "I hope you will understand, but this situation really freaked me out. *I* need to make sure he's at school on time, and I think we're just going to opt out of carpool for now. I hope this doesn't overly inconvencience you."

Then, you get up every day, and you take him to school.
You don't have to get the little ones dressed. Heck, YOU don't have to get dressed! Throw a coat/shawl/whatever over your PJs and hit the road. That's what I do 95% of the time.

Getting up every day and going is a pain, but better safe than sorry.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Lainey-Paney said...

PS: you feel how you feel. Don't apologize for it. You're not freaking out. If it had turned out differently, people wouldn't say that you are over-reacting. Luckily, he was okay in the end. I'm sure a lot of people learned from this situation....but, as the mom, you have every right to freak out!

11:28 AM  
Blogger Jeni said...

I agree, I don't think it's an overreaction to cut carpool ties. Clearly the situation was getting worse and this was just the (awful) cherry on top. Thank goodness another mother found Little Elvis. It's not always easy, but I think this situation definitely warrants you doing the uncomfortable thing and saying bye bye to this other carpool mom.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Ann Wyse said...

I agree with Lainey-Paney that you shouldn't apologize for how you feel. Also, I love Lainey-Paney's advice. And oh, Meredith, I would feel extremely upset too. I'm pretty sure I would end the carpooling. I just wouldn't be able to forgive myself if something happened, especially after an incident like this.

Doing all the drop offs might actually surprise you by making your life easier in the sense that you're not stressing out about Little Elvis being late or lost or loading children into the car at the last minute (because your carpooling buddy is late) and you'll have a few more minutes to get ready if you don't need to be at someone else's house (and, yes! you can now do drop off in PJs!)

11:49 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home