Sabotage: The Substitute Bus Driver

A friend emailed in this morning noting that they have a substitute bus driver and his two minute early arrival is making kids miss the bus. Ahh yes – sabotage in the form of the substitute bus driver. I know it well. Read on for an older post – but one about the delicate art form of the morning routine, my guess is you all can totally relate:

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One day in the late fall, the school bus pulled up to our stop about  90 seconds early. Behind the bus peeled up 3 cars and a bunch of kids none of us have seen before piled out and into the line of kids boarding the bus.

“You are early again today!” exclaimed one of the dads leading the caravan of cars tailing the bus. “You have to quit doing this to us!”

“Another parent said the same thing to me yesterday,” laughed the substitute bus driver in response.

“Every second counts” the father dead panned.

I’m always late. Always.

I was the parent who noted this to the substitute bus driver the day before.  Every minute counts. Especially in the morning. Clearly this new driver guy didn’t realize that none of us are kidding and we’re not amused. 8:06 means 8:06. Not 8:04:33.

A few years ago, I would have been puzzled over how a 90 second early bus arrival could send so many parents into orbit but no longer. Just this morning as I was still in my bathrobe and we were one minute out from the bus arriving, I was barking at my Kindergartener to stick her head out into the bitter cold morning air to make sure she couldn’t see the bus.

Kind of  like it’s no surprise that Christmas is December 25 every year, why does it surprise me that I need to have the kids properly dressed, lunches packed and out the door to the bus stop by 8:06am every day? It shouldn’t but it does, especially when my husband is on extended travel and I am flying solo for several consecutive weeks. Morning routines are especially difficult when you don’t have a partner to help with the flow, which really is an art form.

Partly to blame, in my view, is the propensity to daydream that afflicts elementary school aged children.  Case in point: this morning, as I’m horrified to realize it’s 7:52am and both girls are still in their PJs, I asked the older one to get herself dressed while I blow dry my hair, wisely delegating duties and using our time efficiently, I think to myself.  Naively, of course.

Somehow what she instead hears is “Slowly take a leisurely walk to the other room and glance around until something sparkly for your hair catches your eye or some useless watch set to the wrong time, beckons you, and try to affix that watch to your wrist. Don’t worry about getting dressed. It really isn’t important.”

I know. I should love the day dreaming, life soaking, happy-go-lucky view of a Kindergartener. I really should.

But sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes it is like nails on a chalkboard.

Like in the morning when I know there is yet another substitute bus driver who could pull up 16 seconds early and therefore wreak havoc on all of us as we come peeling out our doors and bolting down the street, barking at our kids to move faster.

One friend says she holds the gummy vitamins hostage each morning until her daughter gets herself dressed. I can see that might motivate my oldest one. And I’m sure barking orders at small children and holding vitamins hostage until they fulfill their assigned duties is what the experts would laude as amazing parenting.

But 2012 is the year of I am Awesome, right? And well, I’m not sure that always being late makes me awesome, but it certainly makes life intense.  In the meantime, how to get the children to focus in the morning….and to get the new bus drivers to appreciate that every second really does count. We live by the scheduled arrival time of that creaky old yellow bus.

Frankly, I’d prefer for it to be late. Or maybe I should start using a whistle and rule by intimidation?

“Like” moi on Facebook to keep up with more Captain Von Trapp whistle blowing ideas of intimidating small children.

3 Responses to Sabotage: The Substitute Bus Driver
  1. Bridget
    January 4, 2012 | 7:02 pm

    I do the morning routine every day by myself. And every day I say to myself “We need to be out the door by 7.” And every day we’re out no earlier than 7:10, whick gives me barely enough time to drop my son at daycare, peel out of the parking lot, and get my daughter to her school by 8pm, then myself to work by 8:30. Those 10 minutes make a HUGE difference, yet for some reason they elude me. When you figure out why, please let me know!

  2. Bridget
    January 4, 2012 | 7:03 pm

    I meant 8am, in case anyone caught that.

  3. JavaMom J.J.
    January 6, 2012 | 1:38 pm

    LOL, I LOVE this, “Somehow what she instead hears is “Slowly take a leisurely walk to the other room and glance around until something sparkly for your hair catches your eye or some useless watch set to the wrong time, beckons you, and try to affix that watch to your wrist. Don’t worry about getting dressed. It really isn’t important.”

    I finally decided to let my iPhone do the nagging for me. I have a “10 minutes until we have to leave” alarm and a “time to get out the door” alarm on my phone and the kids both know what they mean and they really start running when they hear them. Now, if only I could get them not to be the slowest-kids-to-disembark-in-Kiss-N-Ride…

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