Unfortunately I got a little side-tracked with all of this music mania and had forgotten about the whole mothering thing. I used to pride myself on the ability to double-task; gone are the days of one-armed nursing, balancing the checkbook, talking on the phone while playing Chutes and Ladders for the twentieth time that day. My children seem to be waking up with minds of their own.
The same week The Tortoise and I recovered from our PMS smack down in CVS, a.k.a. the Gatorade “incident”, The Hare and I had words as well. It always comes in pairs, doesn’t it? Not surprising I suppose: two children, two problems. On friday morning I had the brilliant idea to let The Hare sleep in an extra half-hour and let her take the mom-mobile. Classroom donations for her school auction were due. I waited, of course, until the deadline to deliver the goods. It seemed like a reasonable idea: a little extra sleep, drive The Hare to school, walk her and the donations to the classroom. Just the night before her eyes sparkled, “Oh – Mrs. H will love this!”
I crawled into The Hare’s warm bed, snuggling down between covers, soaking in the sweet smell of sleep and kissed her sheet creased cheeks.
“Good morning little one – it’s time to get up.”
mmmmppphhh…stretch, yawn. Eyes fluttered open. The Hare wrapped her arms around my neck.
“I let you sleep in a little so that we could take your donation in together.” I said with a smile.
The Hare’s embrace dissolved as she sat straight up. Eyes glaring, “What!? NOOOOOO – I wanna ride the bus!”
Seriously? I was stunned. You have to be kidding me; perhaps she misunderstood; I had let her sleep in and avoid riding that stinky, cold, metal overstuffed box on wheels. She didn’t see it that way – I unknowingly had just changed the earth’s rotation.
“Well…you’ll have to hurry then since I let you sleep extra or you could just let me drive instead.” I waited cautiously.
Now The Hare was really upset. “NOW I HAVE TO HURRY?? WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?”
Do this to you? I thought – children are crazy. I, of course, am completely sane and rational and diffused the situation immediately.
“FINE!” I responded jumping up and headed out of the room. “YOU BETTER GET A MOVE-ON THEN OR YOU’LL BE LATE FOR THE BUS!”
Downstairs I sulked around the kitchen, randomly throwing things in her lunchbox, listened to doors and drawers slamming, feet stomping. Maybe another cup of coffee would calm the nerves. We sat in silence over breakfast; The Hare glaring at the clock shoveling dry Cheerios and slurping chocolate milk while I just couldn’t understand how riding the bus could be better than the very cliché soccer mom mini-van, minus the “my child is better than your child” bumper sticker. Perhaps they make a “I will trade my child for salt-and-vinegar chips and a Corona” sticker , I’ll have to check on that tomorrow.
After suiting up in layers of winter paraphernalia, I started to reach for my coat but was hit with, “I don’t want you to walk to the bus stop with me either.”
“Fine.” And shut the garage door.
Now don’t panic. The bus stop is at the end of our drive-way and is supervised by two other moms, a nanny and one stay at home dad. There is no shortage of adult eyes on this second grader. Besides, I can stand at my dining room window and watch the daily shenanigans of elementary school boys using my bushes as track hurdles or sliding down our ice-covered driveway on their knees without freezing my tail off like the other moms. My pride was hurt, no doubt, and as the bus pulled away I began to panic that perhaps I had stolen the joy from her day. Thus the plan to make amends.
About ten minutes before school dismissed I showed up at The Hare’s classroom door, arms filled with auction donations, and was greeted warmly by Mrs. H and a delighted second grader.
“Look what we got, Mrs. H!” beamed The Hare. My plan was working beautifully. Joy was restored.
Now there was only about 5 minutes of school left and all the kids had bags packed, coats on, chairs pushed in and were heading to the door for bus lines. Mrs. H very sweetly said to The Hare, “Why don’t you just go home with your mom today.” I held my breath – obviously I had been wrong about this morning, not everyone in the county had heard our very loud exchange – apparently CPS had not been notified yet that I let her walk to the end of our driveway by herself. I could see The Hare’s panic building, cheeks turning red. The earth’s rotation was shifting again.
“But I’m a BUSSER today!” Yeah – there it was…my OCD kid, and since I’m not an enabler, I just smiled, knelt down to face my daughter and replied calmly.
“I’ll meet you at home then.”
She relaxed and gave me a kiss before adding, “Will you wait for me at the bus stop?”
Good thing we live less than a mile from school.