This is a big year for the BeAGoodFamily! The twins are in 6th grade (last year of elementary school) and Giggles is in 1st grade. Its our one and only year where they all ride the same bus, to the same place and stay the same amount of time! I sent them off this morning with the special lunch they requested (by committee): cold cheese pizza, carrots and oreos.
Pookie got Geetle’s old 5th grade teacher this year; the teacher moved up to 6th grade. He’s a nice guy so we are happy about that. Judy Blume will be back with Pookie for another year….very happy about that! Most of Pookie’s friends are in his class this year, which will make him very happy. I happened to visit school today (more on that below). The office asked me to hand deliver a bus list to each classroom. When I walked into Pookie’s, several of the kids recognized me and spun to look at Pookie in the back row. Pookie loudly whispered “Oh No. Mom is here!” I smirked at him and delivered the bus list with a wave.
Giggles got the other 6th grade teacher, which was what she was wishing for all Summer. In her class you get to sit in office chairs, bring in a blanket if you get cold in the winter, eat your snack anytime you want and listen to music during work time! They might get to go to a musical in downtown Chicago this year; they’ll have to ride the train in! Geetle also told me that I may cancel our newspaper subscription because she’ll be reading it at school this year. She didn’t get any homework today, other than a homework and behavior contract that she has to sign.
Giggles is in Dual Language 1st grade. I don’t think she will notice, but her teacher is a Spanish-speaker from Spain this year, rather than the more common (here at least) Spanish-speaker from Central America/Mexico. I am told that he speaks with a different accent and uses some different vocabulary. I don’t think that will be a problem for Giggles at this point. In 1st grade they are 70% Spanish and 30% English. Her teacher has a “magic neck tie” that he wears when he speaks English, and takes off when its time to speak Spanish in the classroom. Giggles thought that was pretty awesome. She is a little bummed out that her teacher’s room is in the preschool wing and therefore has cubbies instead of lockers, but she will adapt.
I volunteered at school today to help with all-school dismissal at 2pm. About 10 other parents and I were assigned the job of standing in front of each bus with a numbered flag and checking bus IDs as every kid got on. I am proud to report that only bus #6 kids got on my #6 bus! It was crazy though…750 kids…all looking for their buses in a giant wave of tiny humanity.
Since I was volunteering at school, I sent emails to the kids’ 3 teachers telling them that I would take the kids home in the car with me when I was done. Pookie and Judy Blume came out first and she handed him off to me. Interestingly, she seemed nervous to surrender him to me! The front of the school was PURE CHAOS at that exact moment and Judy Blume was supposed to go hold a flag in front of bus #12. I told her I was Ok and Pookie could wait with me while I did my bus #6 job. I think she was nervous that he would wander off! I appreciate that she keeps such a tight sight on him when he is on school grounds. I thought it was cute that she appeared to think twice before saying that he could stand with me, his Mother!
I saw Geetle next, walking out of the kindergarten door with a little curly headed kindergarten girl in her hand. Geetle was a Patrol last year and this was her job every day as a 5th grader. She was supposed to relinquish her job to a new 5th grader this year but they needed some 6th graders to fill in during the first week of school. It was very cute to see her walking out with her little charge, looking very official. She had an assigned kindergarten boy last year who she hoped was in Giggles’ first grade class this year, but sadly it looks like maybe he moved away over the Summer. But she asked Giggles to check and make sure because, you know, that was her buddy last year!
I asked Geetle to find Giggles and pull her out of her class line. She did and my little group was growing. Finally, Geetle rounded up EB who was coming to our house after school today as well. I had my 4 then. I told them to stand over by the corner of the building while I finished my bus #6 job (I was holding my flag this whole time). The bus dismissal was very slow today and they had to wait about 15 minutes for me. Pookie paces when he is bored, but usually does not go far.
At this point, Geetle, EB and Giggles were about 20 feet from me; Pookie was another 20 feet beyond that. As the kid crowd started to die down, my 4 kids started to stick out a bit and may have looked a little abandoned, standing there along the school’s exterior wall, but I was nearby. However, at one point, Pookie’s teacher saw Pookie looking very alone and perhaps a bit perplexed (although it was really boredom) and must have thought something terrible had happened. He came running over to Pookie, yelling with concern “Pookie! Pookie! What bus are you supposed to be on! Where is your Mom?!” The teacher was very concerned but in a split second he saw Geetle 20 feet away (remember that he was Geetle’s teacher last year and knew Pookie from 5th grade camp as well), figured out that if Geetle was there, the situation must be a little more OK. Then in another split second the teacher saw me with my #6 flag and figured it all out.
I saw this all unfold in a matter of a few seconds and realized that the poor teacher almost had a heart attack but was going to be OK! I don’t think he expected Pookie to have such a long leash in public. We usually give him quite a bit of slack and he does really well. He keeps a good eye on us and stays close enough, but with some independence and responsibility for following along.
Within 5 minutes of this, ANOTHER teacher came running up to Geetle, noticed her standing there with Pookie, Giggles and EB, and yelled “You guys are all waiting for your Mom to finish her bus duty? Ok…WAIT! where is CB!!” (remember that CB is EB’s brother and our well-known pal.) Geetle looked calmly at the teacher and said “uhhhhh….he’s in 7th grade this year. He goes to the middle school now.” The teacher face-palmed and said “Ack! Of course! OK….Uh…just wait for your Mom here” and off she ran.
So, as you can see, all-school dismissal is CRAZY on the first day of school. I am happy that I could help out, but it was almost too stressful for me! Haha!