I recieved more than a few comments or messages that the post about my new Fuller Friction Brush might have been a little overstated. I mean it’s just a fancy broom right? Yeah I guess, if you’re a knuckle dragging clod who can’t appreciate perfection, then it’s just a fancy broom. Well fancy broom folks this post might be a little disappointing as well.
I was rightly called out on my last post as well. My little rant about spanking drew the comment, “Spanking, schmanking. You are disappointing your readers who are anxiously awaiting a “hurricane AM” hits preschool story.” Well ok then. Maria you get your wish, or demand, or whatever. A pre-school update is forthcoming. First you’ll have to sit through a story about my bondage and subsequent deliverance from the chains of the Car Lobby Pick Up Lane.
When I say bondage that’s not hyperbole. If you pick your kid up from school, you are absolutely a slave to the car pick up line. You have to schedule around it, pack some sort of sustenance, plan out some meaningful activity to get you through the hour to hour and a half wait, and you better make sure your vessel is sea worthy.
Can’t go breaking down in the car pick up lane. You sure don’t wan’t to lose cabin cooling during that wait and to that end you for sure don’t want to go empty in the old tank. Scorn and derision will rain down upon you. Help will not be forthcoming mind you but you’ll learn some new epithets from your christian brothers and sisters. Of that you can be assured. For the full experience click here Car Lobby Pick Up Lane.
Breaking free of those chains was not going to easy. Escape has to be planned, orchestrated, and finally executed with precision. You don’t just walk away from the car pick up lane. So we planned. By that I mean I planted the seed of doubt in Frank’s head about the pick up lane at the same time I was talking up how the other kids in the hood love riding the bus. What I found out was this kid of mine is no weak minded fool. It was going to take more than a Jedi swipe of the hand and the power of suggestion to get him to ride the bus home.
That’s key to the plan. He only had to ride the bus home. No need to get greedy. The drop off line moves light years faster and taking him to school at 7:10 in the am actually helps me get moving in the morning. A lot of would be master criminals have that one fatal character flaw; the overreach. I just got away with stealing a million dollars, why not go for two… annnnnnnd boom, welcome to the Spring Hill Penitentiary for the criminally moronic and greedy. No, moderation would be the key to this escape. Moderation and hope in a promised deliverer would be the oasis at the end of what was shaping up to be a 40yr march through the desert.
The seeds were planted, now we needed to water them. I mean that literally. The second part of the plan unfolded at the neighborhood pool. The Saturday before the plan was to be executed I took Frank to the pool. At that precise time some of his friends, pre-positioned of course, would ask Frank why he doesn’t ride the bus and then go on to extol the virtues of said bus ride. Several parents joined in. It was like a tidal wave of brainwashing.
Frank jumps into the pool and a parent is waiting when he comes up to ask about riding the bus. Frank swims over to a friend and the kid goes on and on about how much he’ll love the bus. The way the kids spoke in the past tense as if the decision was already made was a master stroke by them. Not part of the plan at all, but it was a great ad lib. I’ll grant you this wasn’t the most subtle thing I’ve ever tried but I felt like it was the most effective option.
However, much like Ramses II (the Pharaoh from Moses time), Frank was obstinate. As time was becoming a problem I skipped the parlor tricks of the seven plagues and went right to the big kahuna. Although the flaming hail storm has its appeal, ain’t nobody got no time for that. I had no choice but to send in the angel of death in the form of “Because I said so!” Thankfully for me Frank had failed to spread the appropriate goat’s blood on the lentil post and it was curtains for him. It went a little something like this:
“Daddy I don’t want to ride the bus. I want you to pick me up.
I will be picking you up Frank, at the bus stop.
But I want you to pick me up at the schooooooool.
No bud, you need to ride the bus home. The line to pick you up is too long for me to wait it. Daddy gots things to do!
NO Frank! You are getting on the bus tomorrow. Sorry bud but you are going in, I can’t stop that now. (That’s a line from a courtroom movie I use on him when Frank has exhausted his appeals about anything I’ve asked him to do.)
Besides Frank, I’ve already talked to your teacher, she’s putting you on the bus.”
So shall it be written, so shall it be done!
Man, the look that kid was giving me. The rear view mirror almost melted. It was that withering. After assuring him I would be right there waiting for him as he got off the bus he accepted his fate and I felt the chains of bondage begin to lighten. The deliverer was getting closer but we’ve not reached the Well of Median yet (watch the movie). One thing being a parent has taught me is nothing happens until it happens. Another thing I’ve learned is kids have incredibly short memories.
By the morning ride to school Frank had forgotten all about riding the bus home. I decided to wait till precisely the right moment to remind him about his new afternoon chariot. That moment, I decided, was just as Frank was jumping from the Frankerprise to head into the school. Yeah, cowardly I know. Sue me.
I was like a new man. A new free man. The time was mine until the bus would drop him one block from our front door. If this ride went well it would mean the end of lining up at 1:50pm for a 2:45 pick up at school. No more packing food for the wait, no more scrambling to find a babysitter incase Anne Marie was not up from her nap, and no more dealing with a whiny inconsolable child incase Anne Marie was not napping and instead waiting in the van with me.
If you’re scoring at home this is where we are currently:
The sea has been parted but we’re not to the other side yet. That wall of water could come crashing down at any moment. Just ask Pharaoh. Well, you could ask him if the water had not crashed down on his whole army and all that. Tough break for him.
Anyway, the moment of truth was fast approaching. I started out a little early. The last thing I want is to scuttle the whole deal because I was not there waiting for him after I said I would be. He’d be able to walk home no problem but it would be hell talking him off the ledge after I broke a promise I made to him. Crazy kid takes that stuff I say seriously.
Of course it was hot as blazes that day and I’m almost 10 minutes early. What to do. Oh yeah, let’s figure out a way to get Frank to walk back to the house by himself. Then I could save this ten minutes standing outside in the sun without a golf club in my hand.
Just as I was formulating some thoughts on that matter I heard a faint but distinct rumble. My savior had appeared. It was freakin beautiful man. All yellow and coming toward me instead of me having to drive to the school. Yeah I might have shed a tear or two. I caution you, experience the pick up lane before judging me.
There were moments of truth inside of moments of truth. He rode the bus. Now lets see what happens when he gets off, or if he gets off. Until I see him, he’s not really there. Read Aristotle. Oh, there he is. Immediately I realize his back pack is 400lbs too heavy for him. But he doesn’t look upset. This might be good.
Something else I noticed, the bus driver looked like he might actually be Moses, or at the very least his idol making brother Aaron. Wow he was old. Moses managed a slight wave. I thought, oh no bro, save your energy for the drive. His bones looked so brittle I thought the arm may drop right off as he lifted it from the wheel. He was able to reaffix his hand to the wheel and off he went. Leaving us in the freedom dust of my yellow savior.
Now the walk. No talking for the first 50 yards. A little awkward but this exchange was going to be critical. Patience was going to be key. Half way home I asked to carry his backpack. He was happy to shed it. And damn, it was heavy. No idea what I put in there to make it so.
He broached the subject first.
Daddy, you know when I said I didn’t want to ride the bus? I really did like riding the bus. But I like the van better.
First of all it’s not the van, it’s the Starship Frankerprise. Secondly, well duh who wouldn’t like riding in the command chair of that beauty. But the bus was pretty cool wasn’t it.
Yeah, it was.
Woo Hoo! Promise land baby!
Subtlety people. Had I immediately jumped on his statement about how he liked the bus without throwing some sarcastic comment about the van he would have know I was working him, trying to get him to ride the bus all the time. And he would have all of a sudden hated the bus. The dance continues.
A week later he turned the tables on me. Told me it would be better if I didn’t walk home with him from the bus stop. He said it was because I walked too slow. I know it’s because all his buddies walk home by themselves. He’s embarrassed by that I guess. I get it and I’m glad he’s feeling independent. I’m still going to the end of the street to see him get off the bus. I get just close enough to see him without him seeing me and then I haul the mail back to the garage and make it look like I’m working (ha!) or cleaning up. He has yet to ask me why I’m in the garage everyday.
Mrs Frank’s Place and I are having different reactions to all of this, but yeah man. Promise Land!
Francis you outdid yourself on this one…classic! Glad that Frank likes the bus, tried a little reverse psychology on you (I really wanted to ride the bus), and your out of the hell of the pickup lane 🙂
Thanks Chief. It really was hell on earth. I know people that have been doing that for their kid from Kindergarten to 5th grade. How they have not gone insane is beyond me.