Friday, August 06, 2010

Big News from Big School

Yesterday was registration for Big School. I was pleasantly surprised that they had evening hours during which you could do this as I’ve been less-than-impressed about their accommodation of working parents on other things. I left work a few minutes early so we wouldn’t be rushed. Mrs. Marie was staying late so Mr. Long-Suffering could work late. The plan was that the kids and I would walk to the local school. It’s only about 2 or 3 blocks away (maybe 4 if you walk around to the front of the building to enter the main door) and do the registration then play on the playground. Mrs. Marie offered to stay with Bobo, but I assured her I was fine.

Well, just as we were getting ready, I realized I was out of checks. Like completely out. No more checks in the checkbook and no more in the box of replacement checks. How did that happen? I hardly ever write checks. Well, I had cash and a different account’s checkbook, so crisis averted.

We started to get shoes on. Bobo pooped. OK, shoes off, change diaper, “Chuckles go potty before we go”, etc. Chuckles went potty, so did I, we all washed our hands, then Chip took a tumble down the stairs and came up crying. He hit his legs on the ceramic tile floor. He might have bumped his head. He needed some special snuggly time with mommy, and he needed his blankie. “I want my DING.” He hasn’t cried for his ding in months.

At this point, I decided that maybe he was in no condition to walk to the school, so we drove. That’s right. I drove my SUV 3 blocks. I did.

Smartly, I had thrown the umbrella stroller in the back of my not-a-mini-van before we left so I’d have some way to contain the whirling dervish while I filled out paperwork. And boy, was there paperwork to complete. They had stations set up. You went to the first station and got a packet to complete, then on to the gym for stations 2 through 6. I had to sign a waiver of photography release, an acknowledgement of receiving the code of conduct book, I had to attend a 5-minute lecture on how to drop off and pick up students if I drive them with my car, sign up for bus, look at Spirit Wear, the PTO, review getting a cash back credit card that pays your school money, ability to purchase kits of school supplies, Boy Scouts, and go through a criminal background check in case I want to volunteer at the school. Then, on to the cafeteria to look at menus and talk about pre-paid lunch cards.

I am now a member of the PTA. Heaven help me, I hope it’s not clique-y. The meetings are at 9 am on Tuesdays once a month so I feel like maybe they don’t want my help, but I volunteered for a team already since they kind of encouraged you to do that. There were choices like 5th grade graduation something, talent show, DARE graduation, selling popcorn at something, Market Day coordinator, field day picnic, and others. I’m going to be sorting, counting, and bundling Box Tops for Education. I think I will be good at that. It seems like a solitary and math-oriented activity.

There will also be a lottery to see who gets to be room party mom. I did not volunteer for that. A party fee will be assessed for all students during the first month of school. OK, then. I also signed my living heart up to ride the bus. He won’t need it all the time, but there will be days he will have to take the bus. And WHAT AM I DOING? My baby! Ahem, anyway, are my neuroses showing?

They can’t tell me whether he gets half days, and they don’t know why I didn’t contact them sooner. Uhhhh, let’s see, I called every half hour all day for three days and no one ever answered the phone. I definitely have a tuition-paying spot in the all-day program though. I did not bother signing up for the lunch card thing though (apparently, there is no cash to be carried so they get these photo ID cards that you load with's all very plastic, debit card carriers of the future...divorcing spending from actual cash that they can see seems like setting them up for huge credit card debt later).

Obviously, this was boring for the kids, so Chip was pushing Bobo around the gym in the stroller. He was being a little wild, but all was well. I told him to get all 4 wheels back on the ground. When we went into the school office to pay the bill (almost $200, all told), Chuckles couldn’t take the large turns with the stroller he had been, clipped a corner, and tipped the stroller over crushing my baby (all was fine…it was the umbrella stroller so it was more of a figurative crushing). If we’d have walked, we would have taken the good (heavy) stroller. Then I wouldn’t let him push any more (or made him push while I also held the handles because I am a mean mom who tries to rob fun from life). Meltdown ensued. We still had to drop forms at the school nurse.

Chuckles refused to look at anyone and when asked questions, turned his back on people. I have a hard time with this shyness thing. He is painfully shy and takes a LONG time to warm up to people. Even people like his grandparents (although, tellingly, he warms up to Mrs. Marie within 2 minutes of her being at our house). So, I want to give him the space to warm up to people on his own, but at the same time, turning around when asked a question is RUDE. I mean, that’s rude. I don’t want to force him to answer, but at some point, he’s going to need to speak to people.

On the way out, I distracted him with the playground. There were other kids there! They played, they ran, they climbed, stooped, and jumped. He ignored them and then complained that kids were talking to him.

Good news: the secretary from the school just called me and left a message. I returned the call (and she answered after one ring) and we got half-day and they’re refunding our $200 deposit for the all-day spot. Woo-Hoo.

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