Life in the Fast...Er...Carpool Lane
Today was the first day of school for my oldest son. When 2:30 finally rolled around, we were so excited to go pick him up! We hurried to the car and Little Kid, enthusiastically, started saying his oldest brother's name. "Yay! We're going to pick him up!", I replied. Big Kid's school is only about 5 minutes away, so we got there quickly, almost. I forgot. It's the first week of school. I knew, at that point, that it was going to be a while, but I was not prepared for what was going to ensue next.
After ten minutes of being so close to the school, Little Kid's enthusiasm turned to urgency, as he began shouting Big Kid's name. It didn't help that we were parked directly next to the neighborhood pool, so he threw in a few "Pool! Pool!"s for good measure. Not much time passed and Middle Kid "had to go". After his business was taken care of in the cup I handed him, Little Kid decided that there must be water in the cup. "Wa-er, Wa-er!" Sorry, bud, you don't want this water. So, I handed Little Kid a half-empty water bottle (yes, about this time, the bottle turned "half-empty" for me) which he promptly dumped on himself. Middle Kid fell asleep and we had moved exactly two car lengths in 15 minutes.
Little Kid's frantic state began to pick up a little, so I started searching the car for things to entertain him. It was kind of slim-pickings since I had just cleaned out the car for the sole purpose of not being embarrassed when the teacher escorted him to the car this afternoon. How about this board book? Nope, on the floor. A couple of legos? Nope, on the floor. iphone? Nope, floor. (I picked that one back up.) A box of tampons? Nope, floor. I was getting desperate so I dumped the pee out the window, swished the cup with water, and handed it to him. Nope, floor. That's just the way it was going to be. He was going to melt down and we were stuck, in the carpool lane, with no end in sight.
We were about thirty minutes in and, desperately trying to turn my thoughts away from the screaming baby, I needed someone to blame. In my angst, I found the only likely suspects had to be the kindergarten parents. I kind of felt sorry for them, not knowing that there should actually be two lanes forming, not one. Kindergarten right, everybody else left. This is not to be confused with "just make one line in the middle". Remember when we were in elementary and we had kindergarten buddies? You know, a fifth or sixth grader would "buddy up" with a kindergartner and mentor them, show them the ropes. I concluded that the only rational thing to do would be to create a "buddy system" for kindergarten parents, pairing them up with more "seasoned" carpool parents.
The next 15 minutes, rounding out the hour in the carpool line, were more of the same. Middle Kid sleeping. Little Kid screaming. Luckily, when the teacher brought Big Kid to the car, she opened the front door, instead of the back, so she didn't see the spilled box of tampons, pee cup, or the various other things that I heaved back there in my haste. I was so excited to see Big Kid! And, then. The phone rang.
It was my husband, in a foreign country, driving a car, with a phone without a functioning map. I quickly pulled into a Walgreen's parking lot. By this time, not only was Little Kid still screaming, the two older kids were screaming at him, like that was going to help. I put the phone on speaker so that I could pull up a map right about the time that my husband started using a little "colorful" language to describe the superior quality of his phone. Naturally, I started screaming "You are on speaker phone!" repeatedly. The only word that I can use to describe what that moment felt like is pandemonium. Let's take a moment to examine that definition so we can grasp it's full effect.
pan·de·mo·ni·um [pan-duh-moh-nee-uhm] noun
1. wild uproar or unrestrained disorder; tumult or chaos.
2. a place or scene of riotous uproar or utter chaos.
3. the abode of all the demons.