I try hard not to be that frazzled mom. You know the one - always late, hair all disheveled, with a kid on one hip and another trailing closely behind with mismatched clothing. No, I try to keep organized, arrive early, speak politely, and maintain a relative sense of calm.
Not happening today.
It started out as an ordinary day. We had breakfast, watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and played downstairs. We left the house around 9:45am for Braden's OT appointment. I told his OT that I wanted to pick him up ten minutes early (at 10:50), so I could get him to school early. After all, it was his first day eating lunch at school, and I wanted to arrive with ample time to get him settled.
I had tracked my route ahead of time, accounting for traffic, construction, and traffic lights. If I timed it right, I would get there ten minutes early - at 11:20 - enough time to park, take him to the bathroom, and find the classroom.
All was going swimmingly until I got on the Beltway and realized that the exit for Connecticut Avenue had a major back up. After sitting practically still for 10 minutes, I started panicking. It didn't help that the woman in front of me (in her sixties driving a BMW) was texting on her phone, didn't see traffic moving when it was, and kept letting people get in in front of her. I finally ended up honking, at which point she opened her door, got out of her car, and told me to "Fuck off."
After 25 minutes we got through the traffic, and I hightailed it to Braden's school. I am the first to admit that I have an irrational fear of being late, particularly when it comes to my kids (my mom was always late growing up and it still haunts me). I went 45 in a 25, knowing there were speed cameras (sorry, honey). I wove in and out of cars. I continuously checked the time, calculating how late we would actually be. With each passing minute, my anxiety got stronger.
I started to breathe a sigh of relief when I was a few blocks away from the school, only to nearly get into an accident when some woman in an SUV completely cut me off. I honked again (Braden and Casey were loving all this honking). She gave me a dirty look, and I proceeded to follow her all the way to the school, where it dawned on me that she obviously has kids that go to the same school. Great. Making friends, making friends.
By the time we pulled up it was 11:39 and I was in a frenzy. What kind of mother am I - his first day and I am almost ten minutes late??? Everyone else will have started their lunches already! I imagined all the kids playing outside and Braden sitting all alone eating his jelly sandwich. Or worse, joining the other kids and not eating at all.
I rushed both kids out of the car, and did a light jog up the street to the school. I pulled Braden behind me, urging him to "come on!" I dragged him so much that when we finally approached the entrance, he accidentally dropped his lunch box and all the contents came spilling out.
At this point, a teacher and the director of the school were watching me. I put Casey down and apologized, frantically putting everything back into the lunch box. I looked up and saw Casey about to approach the street; thankfully the crossing guard was on the ball and saved his life. (Okay, that's a bit dramatic but still - parenting fail.). It's official - I was that frazzled mom.
I picked Casey up, grabbed Braden's hand, and proceeded to run into the school, when the director stopped me and told me that I was going in the wrong entrance. I think they send out a newsletter to this effect; I apparently didn't read it. (Another parenting fail). She walked us around the building to the correct entrance, with me apologizing profusely, Casey on my hip, my glasses about to fall off my nose, and Braden trailing behind. Frazzled.
We finally got to the room, and of course Braden tells me he has to pee. "Okay," I said, "But Mommy has to go. Lets let your teacher take you."
Oh God, please not a meltdown.
I took him.
The bathroom is one of those communal type bathrooms (one big room without stalls), and since it was lunchtime, all the kids were in there washing their hands. I fought my way through a sea of children, with Casey still on my hip, and brought Braden to the toilet. He peed.
Oh, and I should mention that Braden has an irrational fear of toilets flushing. Lots of loud noises, actually, but toilets flushing are the worst.
So after he peed, he started having a panic attack about flushing the toilet. "Calm down," I told him tersely, "Lets pull up your pants first, and then you can leave and I'll flush the potty."
But he did not calm down, instead he started running out of the bathroom with his shorts and underwear still at his ankles. Mind you, these kids are only 4, but still - at this age it's not exactly normal for a kid to be running around a classroom with a bare butt. I pretty much tackled him (Casey was hanging perpendicularly from my hip at this point), and pulled his underwear and shorts up, no doubt giving him an enormous wedgie in the process.
When I returned to my car, I saw that I had left the front door wide open.
It just wasn't my morning.
Now I am home. Casey is sleeping. I had chocolate chip cookies, sparkling water, and popcorn for lunch. I'm watching "Heroin Nation" on Discovery Health.
We'll try again tomorrow.