Let me start out with "I DID NOT CRY". So there.
I didn't cry because, well, I didn't have a chance to. Here's what happened:
I woke up. Realized I didn't hear Liam out in the living room. Panic! Find my glasses and squint at the alarm clock. 7 AM. Whew. Bus isn't coming until 8:21. I've got time to get everyone ready. But I don't hear Liam.
Panic! My mind is racing with thoughts. "Did Liam leave already? Is he outside?" I get up so fast I scare and wake Brendan (yes, at some point in the night, both he AND Sean climbed in our bed.)
Brendan is screaming. I check the door. Still locked. I go into Liam's room. He's asleep. In pure "Nemo" fashion, as Liam usually does to us, I say, "Get up! Get up! First day of school! First day of school!" He rolled over, "Still sleeping. Go away."
Liam is a child who has always been a morning person. He goes to bed at 8, he's up at 6. He goes to bed at 11 (if we have some event that keeps us out late) he's up at 6. Never fails. I always wondered when he'd be a "normal kid" that I had to wake up in the morning. I should have known, all it would take would be for him to be a student.
Kids get up, I get them fed, Daddy gets in the shower. I make my coffee and chug as much as I can before I clean kids up, change diapers and dress them. Thankfully I had laid all of their clothes out last night.
Daddy's still in the shower. I pack Liam's lunch. Turkey on bread (no mayo, no mustard--just plain), a Capri-Sun, Cheez-Its and a Rice Krispie bar for a snack/dessert/surprise (as I had written a cute note on it).I had to put a freezie in his lunchbox because I didn't want his drink/turkey to get warm. I tweeted the following: Sending Liam to school with a Medela breastpump freezie to keep his lunch cold. Cause that's how we roll. #breastfeeding #FirstDayOfSchool
Chug more coffee. Change a poopy diaper. Daddy's still in the shower.
I pick out my clothes and try to put them in the bathroom. Daddy's still in the shower. Door is locked. Coffee.
It's 8:00. Liam is supposed to be outside in 16 minutes. Bus will be here in 21 minutes. Daddy's still in the shower. WTH, Daddy?
FINALLY Daddy gets out of the shower. I jump in the shower. I go through all of the things over the last few months in my head. Since Liam was capped out of Jordan Creek, he gets to ride the bus for free. Bus service for Kindergarten is door-to-door. Mr T. is his driver. He is scheduled to be picked up at 8:21, but be outside 5 minutes before. Don't cry. Take pictures. Follow in the car so I can get pictures at school. Don't cry. It's an early out day so be sure to ask what time the bus will drop him off. Don't cry. I can do this.
I get out of the shower and get dressed. Record shower/dress/makeup for mom. Hair can air-dry. Dad takes Liam outside. WTH, Daddy! I don't want him to get on the bus without me seeing him!! Call Daddy and Liam back in. Daddy gets two little boys ready to go out the door as I finish up some things (checking to make sure bag is packed etc)
Time for the mandatory "at the door on the first day of school" picture.
Now, we wait for the bus.
So we sit on the curb.
It's 8:30. I figured the bus would be late on the first day, with all of the pictures and what not, but I tweet: "Wondering if the @wdmcs bus is late. Was scheduled to be here 10 mins ago. #firstday"
Get a response from Elaine, the Communications Director at the West Des Moines Schools (I got to know her well during #barngate #savingthebarn #movingthebarn). She said, "Two are running a little late, rest on time. Email (insert email address here)@wdmcs.org the bus number and we can do further follow-up."
So I sent her an email (from my cell-yay technology) with Liam's bus number. She said that was a bus that was running late. No biggie. Then I tweet: "Still waiting for the @wdmcs bus. 20 minutes late?"
5 minutes later, I tweet: "Liam thinks that there should be a tumbleweed going across the road as we wait for the bus. Lol. #firstday"
5 more minutes later, I tweet: "Liam is now questioning what horseradish is. #firstday #waitingforthebus"
20 minutes later, it was time for a nap.
Yes. He napped. And a few minutes later, little brother was having no more of waiting. So he had to be placed in the car/carseat.
He was not happy.
A few minutes later, I decide to call Elaine's cell. She said she was waiting for a call from the Transportation Department...and they called while we were on the phone. I opted to hold. She said that the bus driver was by, but we weren't there. Ummm...not so much. So she put in a call to make the bus come back and get him.
More waiting. Liam decided to inspect his lunchbox. And he found the note I wrote on his dessert.
And then the jokes started. I tweeted: "Oh Lord. Now we're telling jokes that are not funny. Where's the bus? LOL. #firstday"
Finally I got word from Elaine. Turns out, if you live in an apartment complex, door to door doesn't really literally mean "door to door". More like "Front of the Apartment Complex" to school door. Hmm. If you've ever visited our home, we are tucked away just about as far as can be from the road. Good for riding bikes, bad for bussing--now, I know I've seen a school bus come by our door, but that's only for special needs kids. Whoops. Liam is not special needs. Which means I get to walk him (and little brothers) to the road every day.
But Elaine told me she'd go ahead and call the school for me to let them know that Liam would be late, to no fault of his own, and to give him a pass to his classroom.
So I walked him to the front while Daddy drove little brothers in the car as the bus was coming back just for Liam. School has already started. Actually, it started over an hour and half ago. Whoops.
But, as promised, Mr. T and Bus #5 arrived. And he was thrilled. He ran to the bus and I could hardly snap off a picture before he ran on. But I did.
I didn't see him get to his seat before Mr. T took off. I couldn't see where he was sitting as we followed the bus. But he told me the bus was "cool". "It has red seats and I sat in one seat, seat number five, just like my age and the bus. But one other window was open, so I moved to that seat. And I stuck my hand out the window."
And then we got to the school. I asked Mr. T what time to expect Liam to be dropped off at the front, since it is an early out for Kindergartners today. He said that it wasn't and radioed back to base. They said that Phenix (Liam's school) and Hillside were normal out today. Hmmm...that's not what I was told by the Principal. And, being the "Question Authority" person I was raised to be (thanks, Dad) I smiled, nodded and headed to get more pictures.
I got another picture even though I knew he was missing "first day" stuff on the inside.
And then he and I went inside and went right to "the office". I talked to Susan (yes, the Principal's secretary and I are on a first name basis already). She handed me a "Pass" for Liam and told me that they wouldn't count this against him. Wow. My first kid's first hall pass. I inquired about the early out and bus ride home and she said she thought that the kindergartners WOULD get a ride home. I told her what the bus driver told me. She asked the Principal and the Principal said she was told that they would get a ride home as well. Time to call back to Transportation.
I walked Liam to his room and his teacher said, "There's my little Paleontologist," so I knew he was in good hands. They were lining up for something, and I said, "Have a good day, buddy!" and went back into the Principal's office. This is where I tweeted: "Already talking to the Principal. Awesome."
I inquired about the bus bringing him home. The Principal said that she has "kindergartners who are expected to ride the bus home" and I informed her that the bus driver said no. She called Transportation and I waited (for a bit) to hear back. I gave my cell number to Susan and told her to give me a call when she heard, either way.
Turns out, we did need to pick him up. It's a good thing I did question, because there were some parents who weren't expecting to pick up their kids.
They're doing construction at school which means it is chaos to pick them up. Turns out, according to a West Des Moines Police Officer that I was "talked to", we're only to stay on Locust street and wait to pick them up. Good to know.
So after two hours of Kindergarten, including lunch, Liam had a good day. When he was holding open a door for the boys to go into the bathroom, "some kid wearing a blue shirt punched me in the stomach" and "the lunchlady threw away my Capri-Sun and made me have Strawberry milk" but other than that, a good two hours.
And I didn't cry. You can see how busy I was. Tomorrow is also a half day but now I know where he needs to be for the bus to pick him up and how to pick him up at the end of the half day.
And this is why Communications is so important. I know I'm not the only parent of a Kindergartner to expect that door to door LITERALLY means "door to door". Maybe they should clarify in roundup/handbook that "if you reside in an apartment complex, the bus will stop at the nearest entrance to the apartment units"...or something along those lines.
I sincerely want to thank Elaine for the great job she did with keeping me in the know with what was going on, getting a bus ride for Liam and being so prompt with her tweets and emails. I also want to thank Robin, the head of Transportation for calling me this afternoon and apologizing for the mix-up and our patience.
Now? Mommy needs a beer.