September 19, 2006

Mother of the Year

I’m not going to win Mother of the Year.  There truly is no hope for me.  I took Big I to her acting class after school yesterday.  It was the second week of the class.  Her class, according to the schedule when we signed up, is scheduled for 3:45-4:15.  When we arrived the first week, they told us they were moving it back a bit.  I thought they said the class was going to now go from 4:15-4:45.  So, I took Big I to class and when we walked in at 4:15 the door was shut and the other kids were already in there.  The parents of these kids were sitting in the very small waiting area.  I said to Big I, "Ooh, it looks like we’re a minute late. Get in there" as I opened the door for her.  It was 4:16 and I figured I had 29 minutes to kill.  Lil C does not sit well in small waiting areas, and I would prefer her not crawling around on the floor or walking in unfamiliar territory so we went to the park a few blocks away and did some swinging. 

Without a watch on, and without my cell phone I was paranoid about being late to get Big I.  So Lil C and I spent a very short amount of time at the park (she was bored with the swings after 5 minutes anyway) and went back to get Big I.  I parked my car in front of the building and the time was 4:35.  I thought I’d wait five more minutes and then go in to get her.  I wanted to be five minutes early, just in case. 

So, you can imagine my shock when at 4:38 I looked up and saw Big I plastering herself to the glass doors of the building entranceway in a fruitless effort to open the doors and get out, tears streaming down her face.  I ran out of the car and up to the door to let her out.  "I was so scared," she said as she sobbed into my stomach.  "What do you mean?" I said.  "You’re not even supposed to be done yet."  "Well, they let us out and I was just sitting on the steps waiting for you and you weren’t here and everyone else left. . ." 

I walked over to the car and opened the door for her and then something snapped.  "No, we’re going back in there," I said.  "We’re going to find out what the hell is going on here."  So, with Lil C in my arms and Big I holding my hand, I went into the school to raise hell.

When I walked in, her acting teacher was already teaching another class.  I went up to the receptionist and demanded to know, "What class is that?" as I gestured towards the classroom door.  The receptionist told me that it was the class for 8-10 year olds.  "Then exactly WHAT TIME does the previous class finish up?" I barked.  I was getting more upset by the minute.  ANYONE could have come along and grabbed Big I while I was returning from the park and waiting to go in and get her. 

The receptionist looked at Big I’s tear streaked face and asked what happened.  "Last week, someone told me this class was going to be 4:15-4:45.  So, I drop her off and leave and come back 10 minutes early to get her and she’s at the door sobbing.  What is going on?"  I said.  "Oh honey," the receptionist says to Big I, "You should have told me.  You can sit with me until your Mommy gets here."  That’s all very fine and good, but the point is, I am not EVER late to pick up my child.  I’m the one who stands at the bus stop five minutes before her class is even dismissed.  I’m the one who during summer acting camp, sat outside 20 minutes early every day JUST IN CASE. 

I said to the receptionist, "That’s very nice of you.  But I won’t be late again, if you could just tell me the correct time that this class starts and finishes." 


I wanted to scream.  "You people really need to get your schedules straight," I said and walked out of there.  Then I started thinking, did the other parents there not hear me?   I mean, how could they not have?  The waiting area is tiny.  They were all looking at me as I let Big I in.  Couldn’t one of them have said, "No, you’re 15 minutes late.  This class started at 4:00."  Not one.  I would have spoken up, especially as I watched the Mom leave the school, knowing full well they wouldn’t be back in time.

And what’s up with the teacher just letting my 5-year old child out of the classroom without making eye contact with a parent to know that she’s now in someone else’s care?  Next week I’m saying something to the teacher.  Not that it will ever happen again, because from now on I’ll probably just stand outside the door watching the whole class, but they should be smart enough to not allow a 5-year old to leave the class completely unattended. 

So, with my heart pounding and apologies to Big I running on a repetitive loop, we got back in the car.  Because I had pulled Lil C in and out of the car six times now in the last 40 minutes, she wasn’t having any of that.  She made herself into a human board and REFUSED to bend.  It’s amazing to me how an 11 month old baby can be so strong that her mother can’t make her sit.  Insane.  It happens with the high chair everyday, but now the car seat too???  So, in an attempt to get her to bend, I lifted her up a bit and brought her back down again to let the back of her legs touch the seat so she would sit.  It didn’t work.  I tried it again and I bumped the top of her head on the ceiling of the car.  Instant tears. . .

. . . for Lil C too.

That was one half hour I hope to never relive.  And now, because Big I will be dismissed from class in exactly 18 minutes, I need to go stand at the bus stop so that I’m there a full 20 minutes before she even boards the bus. 

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