The problem with having three kids in school with three different pickup times is mostly in finding a good ‘groove’ to go with.
Yesterday, I tried the “park and wait” method. In this method, you find a parking spot (usually approximately six miles away from the school), and then walk everybody back and forth. So Captain Adventure and I parked, walked over and got Eldest, then walked back to the van and camped for half an hour, then walked back and got Boo Bug, and walked back to the van (mostly because otherwise we’re in the middle of a LARGE stream of hyperactive 3-5th graders), waited another ten minutes, then walked back and got Danger Mouse.
Then, we walked back YET AGAIN to decamp and head for home.
It…kind of sucked. Captain Adventure doesn’t like getting in and out of the stroller so many times, and got very, very vocal about it. Eldest did nothing but whine and be told to shaddup already, and Boo Bug is about to be renamed “Dawdle Bug”, because she is the slowest walking child in the Universe!!
So today, I tried the “continual pickup line” route. I intentionally hung back until the stream of cars had gone from a flood to a trickle before zipping into it. Pulled around to the front and got Eldest, then simply and (mostly) calmly, got back into the floodwaters of the people arriving for the 3:00 preschool and the 3:05 “big kids” pickups.
THEN, when I got Boo Bug safely into the van, I pulled forward and parked right there at the very front of the line for the ten minute wait until Danger Mouse got out. At which point, I still had to make the full circuit one final time because the preschoolers are brought out to the very front of the driveway, while the kindergarteners are corralled at the very back of it.
It sucked less than the back-n-forth hiking method of child-retrieval, but it still sucked. At least, I could put on a Baby Einstein tape for Captain Adventure to stare at while we waited, which minimized his overall pissiness – which is excessive right now because he is a) sick and b) teething and c) getting too big to just sit there and stare in wonder at the back of my seat.
See, these are the moments when paying for the local Montessori starts to sound really, really good. Drop all the girls off at 7:30, pick them all up at 4:30, done deal. Same daily schedule, same vacation schedule, no minimum days, no early release days, no National Squirrel Appreciation Schedule to keep track of. Just, drop them off at 7:30, be back at 4:30 to get them.
Let’s see. It would only cost me…$1840 a month. Heh. That’s all. Just a measly $1840 per month to get a synchronized schedule, plus music and art as curriculum. Cultural studies. Language studies. “Tea time”! Oh yeah! I am so incredibly down with afternoon tea!
Hmm. $1840 per month, huh? Oh, and this just in: I could actually drop them off as early as 6:00, and the pickup time ends at 6:30! Which is great, because in order to pay for this, I’d have to go back to work ASAP! In which case, I’ll probably have my husband take them to school because I will have been on the road for hours by 6:00 in the morning, and he’d likely have to pick them up once in a while…or maybe every night…because I’ll be stuck in traffic somewhere or in a meeting or something and unable to make it on time…no big, because they’d be enjoying their Inside Time with Day Care Materials and Art and probably not thinking about me and my pathetic box of broken crayons and cries of, “Glitter glue, are you NUTS?! The last time you guys had glitter glue it took me six weeks to (blah blah BLAH BLAH blah glue blah mess blah sticky blah and another thing blah)” one little bit…