Can’t get there from here
“My calendar says I’m due in your classroom today, honey,” I said to my oldest this morning as I was packing his lunch.
I had checked it and rechecked it the night before, and even had the original schedule his teacher had sent home that outlined the dates for the book studies I was leading in the classroom.
Yet, earlier in the week, my son had been certain that “literature circle” wasn’t resuming until next week.
“Oh! Oh, sorry!”
“What are you sorry about?”
“I forgot to give you the book!”
“Well, when did you get it?”
“Hmmm….” I wondered how in the world I was going to find time to review a book before lunchtime when the book group meets, especially since it was looking increasingly likely that I would be keeping my preschooler at home that day because I’d just found out that the second of the three roads that lead to his school were closed (due to heavy rain and flooding), and I couldn’t afford the time to go the long way there and back and repeat on the back end (since last time I did that it wound up being a three-hour tour), that is if the remaining road would even be open. If it wasn’t, I couldn’t even imagine what route I’d have to take to get there. Likely it would involve an enormous circle through 4-5 towns and back again. Far less desirable than working around him for the day, even if that meant I had to take him in to my oldest’s classroom.
My son handed me the book. “Thanks, honey.” I looked at it briefly and set it aside. First things first. I could either check out the school website for the contingency bus plan for getting The Bigs to school or I could take a shower. I chose the shower, thus was surprised when a different bus coming from a different direction — that was ten minutes later than usual — stopped for the kids.
My youngest was delighted (but tried not to smile too big) when I told him I had decided to keep him home. He really has his phone manners down, so when I told him I had to make or take a call, he took the initiative to mute the TV or his Nintendo DS (he also learned how to use the “guide” and “info” buttons on the cable remote, not that he can read much more than the words on the buttons…).
At lunchtime, he accompanied me to the elementary school, a little bit to his brother’s chagrin, but not at all to his teacher’s; she was very warm and welcoming, as were his brother’s friends, some of whom gave him high-fives or asked him about the DS game he was playing. He sat quietly either near me or on my lap while we read and discussed the book. (I was able to wing it after sneaking in a few moments to scan the book in between calls.)
When were were done, I told my oldest, “I know some kids invite their parents to eat lunch with them in the cafeteria — and paused so I could revel in the horrified look on his face — but I’ll see you at the bus stop this afternoon.”
Relieved, he said, “I’ll be on bus xx today, make sure you tell my brother.”
“I can’t tell your brother, he’s not in class right now. Whenever I finish literature circle the lights in his classroom are off.”
I confirmed that as we walked by. My youngest has only been that far into the school on one other occasion, during a parent teacher conference where he tagged along, and so I took the opportunity to show him the music room, library, computer room, and gym, in addition to my middle son’s classroom, since this will be his school next year when he goes to kindergarten.
I mentioned the bus situation to the ladies in the office, who said, “No, they’ll be on their regular bus going home today.” They told me that they had to start school ten minutes late this morning because of the messed-up bus routes; that buses were just picking up kids where they saw them in order to help each other out. I asked them if they would be sure to clarify which bus to get on with the kids. I could imagine there might be some confusion on the way home, too, given there still are five roads just within our town closed, never mind the roads out of town.
Later in the day, sure enough bus xx (not their regular bus) roared around the corner coming from the opposite direction more than ten minutes after the time their regular bus comes. I am still not 100% clear how the kids got on that bus or if they were actually supposed to be on it but the important thing is that they got home. And that they could amuse their younger brother — outside because it finally stopped raining!