Monday, January 25, 2010

It seems like most of the time we are holding things together pretty well.  The day goes as such: Mark gets up and goes to work; I get up and get ready; I get the kids up and get them ready; I drop them at daycare; I go to work.  I leave work to start making dinner at home; Mark picks them up; we are all at home (usually) for the rest of the night.  In the inbetween time, Callum’s in the toddler room at daycare, and Oliver has alternate days of daycare and Junior Kindergarten.  We juggle.  It sort of works.  Most of the time.  Well… It’s a house of cards, really.  So it just takes a small gust of wind, a sneeze, for the whole thing to come crashing down and for me to question why the hell we built it in the first place.

Oliver has to take a bus from daycare to school.  This, if I’m honest, has always worried me.  A three four year old riding a giant yellow school bus!  Ack!  But I can push that thought to the back of my mind.  He’s riding with a bunch of his friends, including older kids.  They’ll look out for him.  The bus drivers have loads of training.  Oliver got trained too (admittedly we were a little distracted that night as there happened to be TORNADOES destroying the neighbourhood the training was in) and clearly understood the rules (we quizzed him repeatedly).  The buses have safety features in case the awful happens and your kid is left alone.  So I can mostly mostly not worry.  Too much.

I wish I could drop him off and pick him up.  I do when I can.  It’s not very often – maybe 3 or 4 times since the school year started?  I wish we were walking distance from the school.  I wish we lived where we could have a nanny and he could get picked up from home.  Part of the worry is the middleman, the daycare – not because there’s a problem, but because it’s just another step, another player.

So it finally happened today.  He fell asleep on the bus (not surprising as he waited up until we got home from the movies last night and didn’t go to sleep until 10pm – nuts).  The bus stopped at daycare and he didn’t get off.  Some kid(s) apparently told the daycare staff he never got on the bus.  I don’t know why the bus driver didn’t clue in that he was on the bus.  But he pulled away and kept going.

Part of this is my fault.  A week ago I had to pick Oliver up from school as he vomited in gym class, and I forgot to call daycare to say he wasn’t getting off the bus.  It’s the first time he ever got picked up from school early and I just totally didn’t even comprehend that I needed to do it.  Daycare quickly called and asked if he was in my care, last Monday.  He was, and I apologized.

Today, just before 4pm, they called again.  And he wasn’t in my care.  And OH MY GOD where is my kid?

Daycare says they’ll call the bus company.  But he wasn’t on the bus, says the kids.  Maybe he’s at school?

I call Mark to tell him what’s up.  “Oh dear”, he says.

Daycare calls back.  Bus company is going to call the school.  I’m saying, surely the school would have called me?  To say no one picked up my kid?  Please LET NO ONE ELSE have picked up my kid!  Now I’m done with my normally cool/calm/collected in a crisis mode and I’m starting to cry.  I actually can’t even say goodbye to the daycare staff as she’s telling me he’s fine and this is going to work out.

Panic.  Panic.  Tweet.

Daycare calls back. He’s been found.  He was asleep on the bus.  The driver will finish his route and then drop him off.

Heart slows.  Deep breaths.  Can’t focus on work the rest of the afternoon.  Amazing twitter friends send amazing tweets of support, understanding why the hell I was freaking out so much.

And cue me spending the rest of the afternoon (the walk around the grocery store, the drive home) pondering the house of cards.  I am usually happy with my choice of working outside the home.  What if I shouldn’t be?  What if this isn’t good enough for them?  What if my choice puts him at risk?  Is moving house, so that we can live near a school and maybe have a nanny, enough of a change?  Can we afford a 40% drop in income?  Do we want to?

Have I put too many responsibilities on him, expecting him to be able to take a bus to and from school, to negotiate all those rules and roles?

Have I not put enough on myself?  That post explains that maternity leave makes me insane.  And I needed to go back to work.  But it’s different now.  They’re older.

I hate all this sometimes.

I’ll put the house back together for tomorrow, and try to protect it from the gusts and bumps and falls.  And I’ll talk to the other architect in this venture and see if we can do something differently in the future.  It’s all I can do right now.

12 Responses to “Responsibilities”

  1. Anne Green Says:

    Please, don’t let yourself worry so about this. Take a few days to breath. Make no rash decisions. Everything turned out okay and I hate to see you beating yourself up over this. The school and the bus driver should be feeling guilty not you. But even then, stuff happens. At least the bus driver did not let him off somewhere he should not have! Everyone makes mistakes but they should check the bus at the end of the run, when they arrive at the destination (school or daycare) to make sure everyone who should be on is on and everyone who should have gotten off is off.

    In the end, this will make a great story to tell his fiance some day. You’ll laugh… not yet, but eventually.

  2. Wow I absolutely would have freaked out – in fact, my heart was beating so hard just reading this post. You’re normal, you’re human, you’re OK. And if you didn’t question your “house of cards” you wouldn’t be normal. Let’s just be thankful that there are all these checks and measures in place. And I’m sure that after this, there will be one more 🙂

  3. magpie Says:

    that must have been awful! we juggle so much…

  4. Aurelia Says:

    Ok, now that I am reading this all in sequence, uh, what the hell? The bus driver should have been INSTANTANEOUSLY FIRED.

    Finish his route? WTF? After all that he should have gone back immediately.

    And the daycare? Shut them down. Like I said, a similar incident got the director of ours fired. And don’t even ask what i think of a school or daycare not having a clipboard and ticking off the names of each child as they enter and leave each care provider, you know, as required under the Day Nurseries act.

    This is not your fault. don’t you dare blame yourself. You have a right to live there and be safe. And don’t accept their bullshit attitude. They are downplaying precisely because they know you could sue!

  5. mancais Says:

    Blimey! I’d have been out of my mind.
    Then furious at the lack of communication between the school, driver and daycare.
    Good luck with any decision-making x

  6. Naomi Says:

    When I was in preschool, I fell asleep on the bus on the way to a field trip. Nobody noticed. Apparently. I missed the entire trip. I suspect my mother was quite upset.

    Fact is, kids fall asleep on buses.

    Fact is, it is the driver’s responsibility to check. NOT to take the word of some kids on a bus. That is where the problem lies. I would take this up with the bus company, and let them know that you expect some sort of protocol to be put in place should something like this happens.

    And demand to know why the bus driver didn’t check for himself. Ridiculous.

  7. clare riddiford Says:

    It’s all been said already and better than I can about the bus-driver and day-care taking responsibility and I’m really suprised that day-care doesn’t check everyone in and out when the bus arrives/departs.

    All I would say – if there is any-way you can move to be closer to school/day-care you can easily walk to then go for it, it would make your life so much easier (OK I’m biased as I moved to a place where I could in theory thow the sprog over the garden wall and they would land in the grounds of the nursery I want to get them into)

  8. Sandy Kerr Says:

    Awwww Em – I’m so sorry that you had to go through that nightmare, every Mom’s horror. Every Mom’s natural ‘could have, should have, would have, and on and on, BUT natural to think all that, but YOU were Not At Fault – that bus driver is at fault, as is the Day Care. How could they not have checked? Just like the bus driver that left the kid standing in a snowbank when he didn’t get on the bus, thinking he was just watching and not going to school that day. His mother Was at home, but she couldn’t see the him from the window, just saw the bus stop. Yes on the bus return trip, after day at school was over, the poor kid was still standing there, frozen solid. Don’t bus company’s learn? Kids are youngsters! Even at high school you have to report – before 9:00 a.m. if you are not attending that day, otherwise the school phones the parent, this is day care! Lot of real explanations and apologies needed here!.

  9. Cristen Says:

    honestly, I would change the plan to avoid the bus. No-one needs the worry. What a scary day!

  10. Cristen Says:

    can you change your hours so you pick him up from school?

  11. Jen Says:

    Emma that’s horrible!!! I’m glad he’s okay! What a terrible thing to go through 😦

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