Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Persistence of Time

It is amazing how, day in and day out, my boys continue to grow.  They are constantly changing and evolving, developing new skills and identifying new weaknesses, and yet- no matter how quickly the wheels of time keep turning, my kids move at the speed of smell.

Salvador Dali's "The Persistence of Memory" must have been inspired by sluggish children.

Let's put it this way.  If the opposite end of the house was on fire and there was a clear path to safety lined with candy and Pokemon cards, I could extinguish the inferno three times with nothing but moist towelettes in the amount of time it would take Cael and Graham to stand up, stare at each other dumbfounded, and begin to comment that the room was getting smoky.

They are missing the urgency gene, and instead inherited the distraction gene.

In most scenarios, I can work around this deficiency.  Leave the house a few minutes early, pack the diaper bag the night before, or dangle an iPhone or Nintendo DS on a string in front of them as bate to get them moving.  But there is one circumstance where all preparations fail, and my patience unravels as fast as they are slow.

Enter the school drop-off/pick-up line.

Each morning I pull into the school's circle drive, and when my van comes to a rest in front of the building, three of the five boys in my vehicle choose that very moment to have an in-depth discussion comparing an epic Star Wars battle and the morning poop they took shortly before.

"Graham, you need to get out now.  Other cars are waiting."

"Cael, do NOT take off your pants.  It's time for school!"

"Boys.  Try not to trample Adler, but GET OUT!"

I feel like the red-nosed driver of a clown car as they scatter, only it feels less like entertainment, and more like this.

The broom is playing the part of time itself.

Most of the stress each morning is in my head, though.  Parents drop off children at their own pace and are patient as the vans full of slow pokes unload.  But in the afternoon, there is no room for lethargy, as the school operates the pick-up line like a well-oiled machine.

One without delays for de-pantsing.

As cars follow around the circle drive and approach the doors, each vehicle's children are summoned and clamber on in, anxious to head home to healthy snacks and leisure time.  The driver swiftly moves out of the way so as not to hold up the line.

When my kids run toward the van, I'm always optimistic.  They're running.  This will go well!  But as soon as the doors open, it happens.

Melting clocks.

Graham thinks Adler needs 21 hugs.  Why does Adler have crackers?  Aren't there crackers for the other boys?  "Mom, you should make Nutella flavored crackers."  Cael can't find that slip of paper he had in his pocket in the morning- "Didn't you see it, Mom?"- and logic tells him it must be under the vehicle registration   in the glove box.  There's also gum in the glove box.  Don't I think Cael deserves gum since he ate eggs for breakfast?  "What is Tahiti, Mom?"  Adler throws a shoe as the automatic door closes and it tumbles onto the sidewalk.  Cael thinks his paper maybe fell through a hole in his pocket, so he starts unbuttoning his jeans. Graham wants a new friend to come over to play, so he hands me a folded piece of construction paper with five digits on it and tells me it's a phone number for somebody's mom. Or Dad.  Or was it an address?  Why is the paper sticky?

All the while, the school volunteers who are baring the frigid Iowa weather (and whom I am razzing with nothing but love) are waving my van forward as if there is anywhere else to go, but my kids will not -- cannot-- hurry up.  They are simply immune to the persistence of time.

"Graham, you need to sit down now.  Other cars are waiting."

"Cael, do NOT take off your pants.  It's time to go home!"

"Boys.  Try not to trample Adler, but GET IN YOUR SEATS!"

And so daily, I make the Sophie's Choice of school pick-ups: endure the glares as I wait for all of the kids to buckle, or drive away with them loose in the car until I can find a place to pull over and buckle before heading home, just in time to remember Adler's shoe.

"Back in the car, boys."  Better hurry.


  1. If only there was a bus that went by our houses for drop off & pick up. Oh wait, there is. If only the bus would stop. Oh wait, it does. If only the bus would open it's damn door & let the kids in & out when it drives by AND stops!!!!!! I feel your pain neighbor, only not on a daily basis like you, thank God or I'd go crazy! -Shirley

  2. If only!! Cael sees the bus each day and is convinced I'm wrong and that he's allowed to ride. Not so much, dude!

    What's mostly frustrating is that if I had one more kid to watch I'd be unable to transport them legally. So the district not letting them ride the bus literally limits my income AND costs me gas money. Ugh.


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.