This is a one-hour ordeal of hurrying up so I can wait. HURRY AND GET TO THE SCHOOL! If you aren’t there by 2:02, you will not be able to park within a five mile radius!!
Aaaaaand wait until 2:20, when the little darlings flood forth demanding snacks.
HURRY! Grab yours off the curb! Go-go-go!! Otherwise the crowd will become intense and you’ll never find their little selves among all the rabble!!
Aaaaaaaaand now we’re going to wait again, until the second set get out at 2:55 and 3:00.
So at 3:00, I threatened the middle two with severe punishments if they horsed around while I walked the twelve feet to where Captain Adventure was being led. I stood there and listened while his teacher told me he had “listening” issues today (no, really? I never would have guessed, after all, he was only completely intractable all morning…) (cute! But intractable…) and that he had to sit in time out after recess because he forced a teacher to physically chase him down and haul him bodily into the classroom.
I stood there and looked quite serious and nodding a lot while actually looking around for Eldest. Where the heck was she, anyway? It’s going on 3:10, and she gets out at 2:55, and I have given her an earful on many occasions about hoofing it on out right after class, WHY! Just last week, hadn’t I given her Lecture #412 about Courtesy To Others, Timeliness Edition?
Where is the child?
When the teacher ran out of commentary, I started walking around with a very disobedient Captain Adventure
She is nowhere to be seen.
My back is throbbing, so I take Captain Adventure back to the van and buckle him up. Surely she will be coming out any second now.
She is not.
The 3:15 kindergarteners swarm out and are sucked into minivans. Still no Eldest.
I have no stroller, and Captain Adventure is in one of those Really Disobedient Moods. Trying to carry him is a nightmare right now. He thrashes and yells and tries to hit and bite me. He wants to run off. He is very strong, and doesn’t pause to consider what would happen if I suddenly let go and let him drop to the pavement. He’ll take his chances. He wants freedom.
Damn it. Where is that kid?!
I’m gonna kill her. I’m gonna KILL HER.
3:30. No Eldest. @*^&@.
I pull up in my van to the front of the school and ask a teacher if she’s seen her. Noooooo. Nobody has seen her. Is she in the bathroom? No. Her classroom? Nooooo, the classroom has been locked up.
What the HELL?!
Meanwhile, the middle two are whining copiously about snacks and needing to go potty (they lock the bathrooms right after school, so we have to go home for that) and Captain Adventure has gone into Super Meltdown Mode, Animal Style. He is screaming in a way that dying horses scream. His face is turning purple, and he is straining to burst the restraints on his carseat. People are staring into the van as they pass, wondering what I’m doing to that poor kid.
I need Advil, and I need it bad.
OK. I’m getting backup.
I shut the van’s doors and threw it into drive. Immediately, there’s a chorus from the back: “What about Eldest?”
“SHUT. UP.” I yell. I drive home with my knuckles white and my stomach churning. I am leaving my daughter at school. I am driving away without one of my children. @*^&@.
I get home. I storm into the house. I throw open the door to my husband’s office. He holds up a finger to tell me he’s on the phone. I ignore him.
“I have to go back to the school, Eldest is missing, you’ve got THEM,” I snap. I grab my previously-forgotten cell phone and run out the door.
Back into the van.
Back to the school.
I pull up as the last of the kindergarten parents are leaving. I see a parking space, and I’m heading for it when, up ahead, casually sauntering up to the front of the school, I see…Eldest, and Best Friend Forever.
I always thought that thing where your eyes go all spinny and steam comes out of your ears and whistles like a tea kettle was merely a cartoonist affectation. It’s not! Somewhere in the distant past, some cartoonist was probably late coming out of the school and saw his mother staring at him with her eyes all googly-crazy and literal physical steam pouring out of her ears and it branded itself on his memory as what people look like when they are well and truly pissed.
Do you know where my daughter was, for forty minutes after school?
Guess what she was doing. For forty @*^&@ing minutes after she was released by the bell? For FORTY MINUTES, when she knew that we were sitting in the van, in the parking lot, attending her pleasure?
Her teacher had written out a ‘perfect attendance’ certificate for her, but told her she couldn’t have it until she had cleaned out her desk. Eldest has a Certain Problem in the organization department, and her desk has repeatedly been declared a Federal disaster zone, and hazmat teams are regularly called in to clear out the waste.
So. Eldest did it right then and there. Because she was excited about her certificate and wanted it. Best Friend Forever hung around to help her, which probably added at least twenty minutes to the process.
Have you seen those desks, the ones they give fourth graders? They are smaller than a @*^&@ing bread basket, but it took my daughter, my Genius Level IQ daughter, forty minutes, to get it clean enough to claim her prize.
Amazing how ‘thank God you’re all right!’ and ‘I’m gonna KILL YOU!’ can exist with equal fervor in one’s mind at the same time.
But! We're all home now. Safe and sound. And soundly lectured, too. And now I have a new lecture in my arsenal: #1262, If You Ever Do That Again So Help Me God I Really Mean It I Will KILL YOU DEAD.
I wonder how many times I'm going to be using this bad boy...