I always thought as a stay-at-home mom it should be a piece of cake keeping the house clean. I mean I’m am home all day, but it’s difficult. The clean laundry I’m trying to fold has just become a spaceship with a store front in which I must pay for my own clean yet still unfolded socks. It really slows down the house cleaning process.
I started looking on PetFinder and local shelters back in march for a family dog. I didn’t get the kids involved for a long time because I knew it would probably be a long search for the right one and my husband and I didn’t quite agree on what the right one would be like. I wanted a smaller dog like a Border Collie or Australian Shepherd. He wanted a guard dog closer to the size dogs we had before (a Malamute and a Husky/ German Shepherd mix), which were only guard dogs by sheer size.
When I finally did get the kids involved every dog I took them to see was overwhelming to one or the other child. Too jumpy, too smelly, too big… Lukas only showed interest in lap dogs, which neither my husband nor I wanted. Sophia made a list of what she wanted – black and white, medium-sized, girl dog that would be named Elsa. Her list aside she wasn’t as picky or fearful of the dogs we went to see compared to Lukas.
After a while I turned to Craigslist. I took the kids to meet with a dog that met all the criteria on Sophia’s list, but something about her just didn’t seem to fit. Lukas said he liked her but didn’t want to pet her. She was so wiggly I think it was too much for him. Sophia lost hope in ever finding a dog. She was at a point that anytime we went to visit an animal shelter just wanted anyone of them.
I found another dog to go look at through Craigslist. A four-year old male. Half Border Collie and half German Shepherd. The perfect mix for us really. I set up a meeting time during the day, the last day of kindergarten for Sophia, so it was just Lukas and I. We almost didn’t get to see the dog. The owner was so late I was close to leaving. Lukas spotted them and said, “I like that dog!” The owner had taken him to a stay and train place when the dog was a puppy and so despite still being young-ish and wiggly he knew not to jump up on Lukas. He licked Lukas’ face and Lukas gave him a hug. It was love.
We brought him home and I met Sophia at the bus with him. She was so excited she didn’t care that he was brown and black, or a boy not named Elsa. Meet Apollo…
My daughter’s bus stop is the end of our driveway. Several times last year the bus passed right by our house as there really isn’t anything to stand out and make this stop noticeable and only my child gets on and off at this stop. There were a couple of times, while I waited for the bus to drop off my kid, the driver went right past. I ran after the bus waving my arms to no avail. Another time the driver began to stop at my neighbor’s house, but then kept going as they can’t let my child off at a stop that isn’t her own. Even if I’m right there.
The driver could not open the door to let my child out if I’m not waiting outside for her…in front of our own house. That was rather irritating while I was potty training my then two-year old son.
One time I took a little too long at the grocery store and ended up right behind the bus. My car stopped just before my own driveway, but because there was no sign of me outside my house they didn’t drop my kid off. There was even a day when I was inside the house, our two car garage was wide open, and the driver wouldn’t open the bus door to let my kid off because she wasn’t sure someone was home. Who leaves a two-car garage door open when they aren’t home? Each time this happens it’s another fifteen to twenty minutes added on to the forty-five minute bus ride home because where we live it takes that long to loop around and come back the other direction.
Last week I lost track of time. I knew the bus would arrive soon, but I got distracted. I heard it as the sound of a diesel engine started to pull away. I flew to the door, opened it up, the bus stopped slightly past the driveway, and the doors opened to let my child off. She is now in first grade for chrissakes! Really, she can make it from the end of the driveway to the house without me supervising each. and. every. step. I don’t know at what age the school district thinks children capable, but for now it seems that the H-7578 bill proposed in Rhode Island on 02/26/2014 (withdrawn on 04/14/2014 at the request of the sponsor) seems to live in the school district my child attends here in Washington.
I’m not blaming the bus driver. I wouldn’t want her fired for not following the rules. I’m irritated with the rules. I’m irritated that the school district doesn’t trust parents to be home or find proper care for their own child. Yes, we’ve all heard of and maybe even seen parents that don’t care and are truly reckless but to treat us all that way without reason is maddening. Should the bus driver also be required to make sure the person with whom they’re leaving a child has had a background check and is sober at the time of custody exchange?
I’m trying to raise humans that will eventually become independent adults capable of thinking on their own. It seems an impossible task when others believe they need absolute constant supervision at all times without exception. How can she believe she can grow up to be anything she sets her mind to, but in the same breath be incapable to walk the length of our driveway without oversight.
I know the response of some is, “But isn’t it good that they’re watching out for your child?” It’s overkill, total overkill. They aren’t doing it out of concern for the child but to cover the ass of the district on the extremely random off-chance a child doesn’t make it from the bus to the doorstep.
At the dinner table a few nights ago Lukas told us he wanted to be a dad. Kurt asked him if he wanted to have a girl or a boy and Lukas said, “girl”. We asked him if he was going to take his girl to gymnastics and things like that and he said yes.
The next morning as I dropped Lukas off at daycare he asked, “How old do I have to be to be a dad?…sixteen?”
After recovering from my mini heart attack I told him, “No, older than that.”
Yeesh, well that’s better, but still no.
We did make it to one of our annual fairs, but missed the one that came around in September. We planned our trip for the Friday of the last weekend of that fair. Kurt took the day off and we kept Sophia home from school just so we didn’t have to manage the crowds that occur on the weekend, and so that we could get wrist bands for the kids to ride as many rides as they wish.
The night before Lukas showed signs of the beginning of a cold, so we expected a sleepy and maybe cranky boy and brought with us the stroller. He didn’t eat much breakfast in the morning, and while odd it didn’t faze us. We packed a lunch so that we didn’t spend so much on junk food. We piled in the car in a timely manner and went on our way. Half way through the nearly two-hour drive the little man christened the car with the orange juice and the tiny bit of cinnamon toast that he ate. It smelled lovely.
I stopped at a 7-Eleven to purchase a puke kit, which consists of lemon scented Lysol, paper towels, and a tiny pack of upsettingly expensive baby wipes. We stripped the poor boy down to his undies in the parking lot. I had a spare pair of pants and then just put his jacket on. This little setback did not deter us. The new plan of action included going to Target to buy a pack of t-shirts and socks and eat lunch in the parking lot to see how it sits. Well, we didn’t even make it to Target. The boy announced feeling like puke was about to happen again and we pulled over just in time to get him out and have him spew in the middle of the parking lot to a business I don’t even remember. The car was unceremoniously turned around and Kurt said, “Well it’s still better than a day at work.”
Tuesday night at dinner time:
Kurt, “What do you want to drink?”
Lukas, “Can I have orange juice?”
Kurt, “Yes, we have orange juice.”
Lukas, “Oh yeah! Duff Man, having orange juice!”
We play up the Santa thing for Christmas so much, and I have a lot of fun doing it, that I can’t believe I considered not doing the Santa stuff at all before Sophia was born. Every year some friends host a Christmas party and have a Santa show up. For the last three years Sophia has made a wish list for Santa by cutting out the things she wants from toy sale fliers. I’ve had Santa send them a letter stamped from the North Pole, and for the last two years we’ve gone to a Christmas light festival that also has a Santa. We hang stockings around the wood pellet stove, watch A Christmas Story and Charlie Brown Christmas, read T’was the Night Before Christmas, and bake cookies to leave for Santa on Christmas Eve.
This year at our friends’ Christmas party when someone came by to tell all the kids that Santa was here Lukas actually lit up, stopped what he was doing, and had me take him through the crowd to Santa. Once we got to the front of the line it became too real for him and he didn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap though, and even though she sat on Santa’s lap the last two years, neither did Sophia. She forgot her list and didn’t know what to do without it.
We went to the Christmas light festival two days before Christmas this year. Lukas rode the ponies again, two times in a row in fact. There wasn’t a line so he was allowed to stay on his pony for another round. We rode the train, saw the lights, and posed for pictures. Near the end Sophia wanted to visit Santa. But, again she forgot her list. She only knows the items by the picture and didn’t have the words to describe them. I remembered what she pasted on her paper because I’m Santa’s secretary and I do all the leg work, “Tell him you wanted a loom, a spiral pen, house design set, and house decorating set.”
Before we got to the front of the line for Santa I told the kids, “Look Santa is giving out candy canes tonight.” So when we got to the front and Santa asked Lukas what he wanted…”I want a canny cane.” Sophia said nothing. She was frustrated that she didn’t just have a list to show him.
The morning of Christmas Eve Sophia came down stairs, “Where is the big present?” Santa puts the big gift in the toy room unwrapped…Christmas morning. She was a little confused about what day it was. Christmas morning we woke up to some serious cuteness overload. Sophia woke up and I heard her go into Lukas’ room to wake him. Lukas, “Is it Cwistmas?”
Sophia, “Yes brudder. Let’s go see what Santa brought us.”
I wasn’t able to capture their delight at Santa’s gifts to them because the video part of my camera died. I tried to prepare with our other video camera and even made sure to charge its batteries, but never bothered to turn it on to see that it was going to be an ass and ask me to set the date and time. I also wasn’t able to video Kurt reading Santa’s letter to the kids, but that’s ok since neither seemed overly interested in it this year. The first year Sophia was Lukas’ age and completely captivated. Lukas didn’t seem to get it. Maybe next year.
After playing with his new work bench from Santa for a while hunger got the better of Lukas and he noticed that the milk and salted caramel stuffed snicker-doodles we left out for Santa were gone except for a couple of crumbs. Yes, he noticed that crumbs were left. Of course if you ask the boy what Santa brought him he’ll tell you, “A canny cane.” Because that is what Santa handed to him personally. The boy hasn’t connected all the dots yet.