So, you guys knew I’d have yet another story…

by Ash on August 24, 2010

I’ve aired my frustrations with the drop off/pick up situation at Oldest’s elementary school on more than one occasion (here and here). Well, it appears that my name should now be added to the list of “Offenders.”

The shame.

To set the stage, from the outside, his school is more or less shaped like a large horseshoe – the kindergarten classrooms start on the far right followed by each consecutive grade moving towards the middle, with the cafeteria rounding out the horseshoe on the left. Main entrance/office falls in the middle of the “U.” For some reason, I guess because there’s  a wider section of sidewalk, the kindergarten and 1st grade classes walk outside from the right side of the “U” over to the cafeteria side at dismissal. They sit in a line with their teacher, waiting for mommy, daddy, nanny, whomever. Then they proceed to that specific corner of the “U” where a crossing guard is there to ensure everyone makes it home alive.

You following? (wouldn’t shock me if you’ve already clicked away.)

Anyhow, our little neighborhood school is smack in the middle of our subdivision. Sounds cute, right? Wrong. Massive pain in the ass, because, since most of the kids live in a one-mile radius, we don’t receive bus transport. We happen to reside at the end of the radius, across a major four-lane road, with no crossing guard ironically enough (you’ll understand the irony soon), so either I walk from the house to the school with Youngest in wagon tow (did I mention it was 105 today?), drive and go sit in a line that wraps the distance only slightly shorter than a trip to the moon, or drive, park close and walk up.

For yesterday’s first day of school, I chose the park-close-walk-up option, and gathered Oldest from the second grade classroom exit right on time. We turned towards the cafeteria-side of the “U” to make our way back to the car, and what I saw happening at the kindergarten/1st grade reclaiming area made that scene in “Titanic” (you know the one where James Cameron pans back after the ship has finally gone under, and all those people are in the water screaming and splashing) appear civilized.

Executive decision –  we head the opposite way, past the kindergarten part of the “U,” to cross to the opposite sidewalk there. Less crying children. Less chance of losing Youngest. Win/win.


I grabbed the boys’ hands and we began to cross, only to discover “The Enforcer” waiting for us on the other side. (for the record, as I was relaying this story to best buddy Mich, she said – “oh yeah, no crossing unless there’s a crossing guard.” Grasshopper still have so much to learn.)

And honestly, I completely agree. Seriously. I’m a rule follower. I file my taxes in February. I never surfed porn while in the corporate world. I follow the rules. So when I get busted for bending a rule, I’m chagrined and get a little defensive. But “The Enforcer” took it to a whole other level.

This is what was hurled at me as we almost reached the curb:

“Ma’am – our children watch us and learn from our example every day. Consider your boys the Father and the Son, and I’m the Holy Ghost. We’re watching your every move and taking notes. So tomorrow, I better bear witness to you hauling your hot, sweaty children all away around, through that gauntlet of 300+ cherubs, plus their respective gaurdians, remembering not to cross over the sidewalk red line denoting the no man’s land area about a foot off the curb, and greet that crossing guard over there with a smile on your face and a skip in your step. If not, there will be hell to pay. Now, run along little sinner, but remember, I’ll be sneaking into your home later, double checking that all the toothbrushes are damp.”

OK, so really only the first sentence was verbatim. The rest is just made up, because honestly, after that first sentence, there really wasn’t anything else I wanted to hear coming out of “The Enforcer’s” mouth.

They watch and learn from what I do every day, do they? Well, praise the Lord I decided to shoot up in the closet this morning. I know I’m being way too sensitive, and believe me, I totally get the safety issue (bad mama), but I wish I could’ve told her to save that self-righteous attitude for the next mama doing 40 in the school zone, while talking on a cell phone, with an unbuckled kid in the front seat. Oh yeah, I’ve seen it.

After reading back through this, I can admit I somewhat overreacted (in my head of course), but I’m only lashing out because of sadness. Sadness over said best bud Mich, who was my mentor for all things elementary school, has moved two towns over, and  now I have to make new school mommy friends. I don’t begrudge her a spec of the gorgeous new home she and her husband have worked tirelessly to build.

But, damn if I’m not pea green it’s on the bus route.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

tulpen August 24, 2010 at 6:49 am

Oh the daily torture. Poor you.

I was berated daily by the vice principal at son’s school when I picked up/dropped off as I was supposed to park in the visitor lot that was always full of STAFF vehicles so I just plunked the car in the middle of the lot and ran up to grab the boy when he came out of the building…. I gave her the same argument every day, and she had no response. Bitch.


Michele Renee August 24, 2010 at 7:28 am

Loved it! Oops, I mean sorry for the anguish on y’alls’ first day but I loved reading about it. I can’t believe you live across a big road and there is no school bus.
Bet you’ve thought of a million comebacks. Like, “Yes, my sons learn that God helps those who help themselves….”
I once took my kids in the drive thru drop off but my older car’s back right door was broken and can’t be opened from inside so the boys had to exit from the left side and I was berated for that and my boys died of embarrassment when I told the lady that the other door didn’t work.


mama-face August 24, 2010 at 8:05 am

bah! Crossing guards and their power trips. They scare me.

I have no school mommy friends…boohoo…guess I just don’t fit the demographic anymore…but yea for no more pressure to volunteer for every single well meaning cause. (“moms and muffins”…………………).

I adore the title of this post. 🙂


phd in yogurtry August 24, 2010 at 8:24 am

In all the years my kids were in elementary school, I never once drove through that gawd awful pick up line. I used to drive to the side where the buses waited, park, walk across the parking lot and between the buses, and wait for my darlings in front of their bus line. I rarely saw any other parents do this. I waited to be called out as bad mommy but it never happened.


Shell August 24, 2010 at 8:43 am

I’m not looking forward to the drop-off/pick-up craziness. We are on the bus route, though, so we’ll see…but if I drive(not taking into account the crazy line), it is 2 minutes. But, if he takes the bus, he has to get on the bus a half hour before school starts.


joann mannix August 24, 2010 at 9:00 am

My kids old school, the one they’d been in all their lives from preK to 8th was a great little Catholic school. Then our wonderful principal retired and the AP took over. Not only was she an enforcer, she was a Nazi, especially when it came to the car line. I understand safety first and foremost, but her enforced procedures went way beyond that into the boundaries of just being this tight fisted, warped control freak. The first week alone, so many parents complained about her and her rules, an emergency meeting was called by the Pastor and the parents went ape shit on her. She relaxed, but not by much.

I’m a rule follower, too, but I’m also a scrapper, especially when it came to this principal. We had more than our fair share of arguments over the car line. I pulled my youngest out in the middle of 6th grade, for so many reasons I won’t go into.

I will say, our new public school car line is the best because I don’t use it. My girl walks with a big group a little bit past the school where I am waiting in a parking lot. No rules against it. I love it.

Sorry to hijack, but this car line issue was a red hot button for me for many years.


gigi August 24, 2010 at 10:00 am

Oh God, the pickup situation. We just had a new process imposed yesterday on the first day. It was a nightmare. People going the wrong way down the now-one-way school road (but only oneway during dropoff and pickup)? yep. That would be last year’s PTA vice president and gladhander who didn’t read the new dismissal map and procedures. Lady who whipped a safety cone at a teacher because she couldn’t get out the way she wanted? Yep, that too. Guy who cut off 40 cars, including myself, to get a better spot in the pickup line, despite us having waited for over 20 minutes in the 105 heat? Yep, yep, yep.



J August 24, 2010 at 10:36 am

Pick up line is always tricky but I will say in Hawaii we had a great one… no hassle. Then at another school in HI it was so bad I got called into the VP office and was told they would ask us not to come back next year if I didn’t shape up. (both were private schools, the good one was Catholic , the snarky one was preschool.. we didn’t go back) But all that being said there is no way in God’s green EARTH I would let my kid ride bus to school. I have issues left over from when I was a public school teacher….bus line duty….gives me nightmares. After school care also gives me the willies but that is another topic.
Have a fun Fall.


Michelle August 24, 2010 at 10:50 am

Cracking up here! Seriously, nothing worse than the drop off/pick up line situation. happy to hear that you never surfed porn WHILE AT WORK!


mad woman behind the blog August 24, 2010 at 10:51 am

Beautiful bit of writing. And yes, I’m plotting and planning our next home’s locale based on bus routes.
The enforcer’s rant: GENIUS!

I don’t know if I mentioned, but I’m a fan!


georgie August 24, 2010 at 12:12 pm

LMAO not at you BUT only because i have been there and I think honestly we could maybe be related…I am so glad my kids are out of elementary and all the chaos that pick up/drop off

once i read You following? (wouldn’t shock me if you’ve already clicked away.) I knew this was going to be another stellar post!


Colleen August 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Ugh! I hate drop off and pickup. Is there anywhere where it ISN’T a complete, ridiculous debacle?

I’m a rule follower, too. So I share your chagrin at being “caught,” but I totally think the enforcer was out of line. I can’t stand holier than thou people. I certainly wouldn’t want my kids picking up THAT attitude from her.


Jo August 24, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Thank the heavens above for the school bus. Though we’ve had our own issues with that in the past. Youngest mooning the kids on the bus, TWO DIFFERENT TIMES, is not acceptable bus behavior.


quirkyloon August 24, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Those cross guards get power crazy. I’ve had some run-ins with them. They are an antsy and kinda crazy bunch of people. Hmm. Perhaps I should apply. Sounds right up my alley. Ha!

AND… we have a similar horse-shoe route and I’ve told my little guy. Mommy will be a little late. I promise I’m not forgetting you, but Mommy wants to wait til all the crazy Mommy drivers LEAVE first.



Jan Newman August 24, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Don’t you L-O-V-E self-righteous people? They’re not content to tell you you’ve made a mistake — they gotta rub it in with a scouring pad.


Melissa (Confessions of a Dr.Mom) August 24, 2010 at 7:20 pm

That does not sound fun at all…I would probably have done the very same thing! It annoys me when people start out with righteousness right off the bat…I think she could have been much gentler. It was 105 here today too…ugh. Luckily (well unluckily) my new kindergartner is home sick today (already) b/c he threw up yesterday…oh yeah, good times all around


Jen August 24, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Ok sorry but I am so confused by this post.

But this pick up/drop off situation does sound like a b*tch.


Lawyer Mom August 24, 2010 at 9:47 pm

I don’t think you overreacted. It’s the whole government, small bureaucrat with power thing. Which is to say, it’s extremely annoying, especially when you’re paying their salaries. What did Peggy Noon write recently? “We pay them to be rude to us” I think was the name of her column.


nicole August 24, 2010 at 10:29 pm

I get in the line just about every day, mainly because it is too much work to get three kids out of the car just to pick up three more kids. I read while in the line. The thing that bothers me? The moms who get in the line, only to park and get out of the car and find their child and bring them back to the car. If you are going to do that, why not just park at the adjoining lot and not hold up the line for the rest of us? I really don’t understand it. But maybe I’m not a hip mom who knows that is what the cool kids want their moms to do or something.


Elaine August 24, 2010 at 11:14 pm

That paragraph in which you simply elaborated on The Enforcer’s comment is nothing short of genius. And I love you for it.

B is about to start riding the bus home. Only been two and half weeks and I’ve already had it with the car line.

Sorry that’s not an option for you. Like really sorry.


Mrs. Mayhem August 25, 2010 at 3:43 pm

I hear you about the car line nightmares. How can it take 25+ minutes to pick up some kids from a school .7 of a mile from my house?? It doesn’t make sense.


tammy August 25, 2010 at 3:51 pm

I’m a rule follower too, most of the time. And I also hate it when parents who know the rules and know better, don’t follow them, but come on, it’s the first day! Give people a week or longer to learn the rules, then crack down. I always come up with the perfect response later too. I need to get better at thinking on my feet.


Michelle E August 25, 2010 at 6:15 pm

I can’t wait until I can actually take advantage of the bus route. I’m trying to set a good example and not have a bus let my children off at the construction site. But as soon as I CAN take advantage of bus, it means I no longer live down the street from you and that is too sad for me to think about. For now I ‘m just glad I don’t have to deal with the self-appointed traffic police


Shannon August 25, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Oh, don’t even get me started on the car rider lanes at the girls’ school…

Thankfully, I convinced mine to ride the bus home in the afternoons… they started this during the last month of school (back in May) and are continuing this school year. Not having to wage the car rider lanes has been bliss.

Now, I still have to deal with it in the mornings when I take them to school… but I can handle once a day.


michelle August 26, 2010 at 7:14 am

I never surfed porn while in th corporate world.


I would have punched that crossing guard in the head.


Bec August 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I used to teach at Grapevine HS (right outside of Dallas) and there was an elementary school on my route to school that had an obnoxious entrance/backlog of parents dropping off kids that would literally create traffic jams on one of the main roads in the whole town. Maybe TX needs to learn how to do this a little more efficiently, eh? 😉


Alexandra August 26, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I don’t know why, but I love these stories where these sweety sweet bloggers get so pissed at someone in real life.



Alana @ Domestically Challenged August 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm

My fave line:
They watch and learn from what I do every day, do they? Well, praise the Lord I decided to shoot up in the closet this morning.

LOVE it! My kids’ school is Nazi about pick up too. Bleh.


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