Well, it's mostly going fine, except for Big J's raging learning disability. Which has become as obvious as the tattoo of the sushi restaurant chain on my very back. I vaguely remember 2nd grade being a gigantic kick to the testicles back when we lived through it with G; and along those lines, I'm pretty sure that this year, with premature twins and yet-to-be-diagnosed learning issues is going to have me begging for a good crotch shot, because this is shaping up to be more like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I sort of forgot that 2nd grade is the year they begin to encourage INDEPENDENCE, and coincidentally, how much I HATE independence--because I can do it FASTER and more efficiently. Needless to say, I have deeply-rooted, moral-type issues with the second grade, on top of the learning issues that Big J is facing, and this all came to a GIGANTIC boil last night over the "Number of the Day", and how I honestly didn't expect to have this kind of turmoil over something NOT related to drug use or teen pregnancy. But I'm going to save that post for next week, because I need to sort through some angst; and also because if I have a nervous breakdown over simple addition this weekend, it will only benefit you, dear blogworld.
In addition to the effects of the twin's prematurity, which are really going to challenge me this year, I am still *learning* the carpool system at our "kind of" new school. I say "kind of" new, because you might remember that we started there at the end of March last year, which gave us just enough time to get used to a new routine, before they went ahead and added an entire new wing, rendering our old ways obsolete. I know carpool seems like a relatively easy thing, but it's taken 2.5 weeks, and I still don't have an effective system for collecting my children--thus inspiring my new life slogan, "NO ONE dies in carpool" to remind me that things could be worse.
I started this logically, with Plan #1: The simple pick-up.
It doesn't help that we are the only family to have four children at this school; and that, on the first day, all four children came out of different doors at opposite ends of the earth. Such was the chaos of trying to collect my kids, which took approximately 20-freaking-minutes, with me circling the school in one direction and two of my kids going the opposite way, just like Bugs Bunny, except with a lot of rage. Parking the car and picking them up has always been our plan, and eventually, we got into a pretty good routine, until the day last week when the forecast predicted a hurricane, and then hell no was I getting out of my car.
Which leads us to Plan #2: How to pick up your children during a tornado.
I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but the suckiest time for tornado sirens to go off is 20 minutes before after school pick up, when Mike's at work and unable to assess the situation for me (and by assess, I mean turn on the television). So I found myself alone, and unprepared for the the issues that come with natural disasters, and the children, and their school that has no outdoor covering; and in that moment it occurred to me to ask--WHAT would Jesus do? Which ISN'T always relevant, because he would calm the freaking storm, or turn it to wine--but NONE of that is helpful here, except maybe the wine. So then, I decided to do what Mike always does, and turn on the television--but they CLEARLY didn't think a tornado was a good enough reason to interrupt Judge Joe Brown, opting instead to put a TINY storm map of I-don't-know-what, in the corner of the screen. Now, I don't know ANYBODY that has memorized a map of Missouri's counties, and can properly identify a small section of them, taken without the visual reference of the Mississippi River, the state borders, or even a simple LABEL. I *might* be overly pessimistic, but giving an entire city a map riddle and a televised hearing about a custody dispute over a chihuahua, while facing certain death, is NOT what I would consider helpful in this situation. We are, after all, a society that goes lawsuit crazy when our coffee is too hot, or our McDonald's is too full of fat--so I have very little faith that we, collectively, could understand the consequences of a tornado, and then WHO would we blame? Judge Joe Brown, that's who.
But then it turns out that the joke was on ME and everyone else, because the potential tornado was in Illinois, suckers. This realization came AFTER I booked it up to the school carpool line, and sat there for 25 minutes in the SUN. Which would make me seem pretty awesome, except that this is an inappropriate response to a tornado warning--and coincidentally, it put me in a prime spot in the carpool line, where my "Scarlet Letter" (translation: the ENORMOUS dent in my van) was clearly visible to all the other parents who don't scrape brick walls while driving. It's also worth mentioning (again), that we are the only family that has FOUR KIDS, one of which is still released in outer space at the end of the day; and so we held up the entire carpool line for 20 minutes, and still ended up with a particular six-year-old in tears, despite the fact that I was parked 5 feet away from him the entire time.
But. NO ONE DIES IN CARPOOL. And repeat.
Plan #3: If you can't figure it out, just get there EARLIER.
After the faux-tornado debacle, I figured that I would get up to school even EARLIER, and get myself into a spot in the carpool line RIGHT where Little J's class comes out. Now, I'm not sure how much knowledge you have of carpool lines, but let me tell you, this would be a feat similar to curing cancer or solving the national debt. At this point I'm sort of over my kid having a nervous breakdown over CARPOOL, so I would sit there all day to guarantee my exact spot-- or fundraise for a cure to CARPOOL, whatever it takes. And except for the part where I sat like a crazy person in the carpool lane for 40 minutes before school got out, this was a wonderful plan for keeping Little J calm; but at the end of it all, I STILL jammed the carpool line for 20 minutes at a MORE inconvenient spot, and it was beginning to become quite clear that picking my children up from the school that is 1.5 minutes away from our house was taking an ENTIRE HOUR, and defying logic on so. many. levels.
Plan #64: Dying unto myself.
I calmly wept, while I told the kids that I just COULDN'T sit in the carpool line for 60 minutes and STILL manage to back up traffic, while strangers asked me "What HAPPENED???" to my mini van. And then I told Little J that he was going to have to man up, because the reality was that I needed to arrive at the END of carpool. When all the walkers cleared out, and all the families with 1, 2, or even 3 kids had been picked up--then I would be there, with my dented, Haz-mat van, to collect my babies. On top of being constantly wrinkled, or unshowered, or failing to turn in school forms in a timely manner, this was the final nail in the coffin of my pride--that I would now also appear to be the perpetually late mother who is pulling into the parking lot at the last minute because she sucks at managing her time. Or she's making meth. Does it matter, really? And so, earlier this week, I managed to be almost the last car in the line, and I found my kids standing in the kind of quiet huddle that tells me there are many (many) years of therapy in their future.
But we didn't hold up the line. And NO ONE died in carpool, even though it's killing a piece of my kid's trust and confidence. So, in summary--I anticipate that school will continue to be fine, until we hit timed math tests, or we actually combust during carpool one day, in which case, my life slogan will no longer apply.