Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Epic First Kindergarten Day

It started off the same as it does for new kindergartners, pictures in front of the house. However Wyatt insisted it be in front of Ryan’s huge truck. 

Bahns have a weird truck/engine obsession that I will never understand. Next stop school!

Ryan and I decided the night before that Ryan should drop Wyatt off without me. As I would most likely sob at the doorway of his classroom and make a scene. Wyatt did great. After one big hug from Ryan, he marched into his classroom.

2 o’clock rolls around. Schools out, but Wyatt won’t be getting off the bus till 2:30. The bus stop is literally a three minute walk to the top of my dead end street, but I get there 10 minutes early, paranoid I’ll be late. I’m the first parent standing on the corner. I even have time to take a selfie with my dog.

Other parents slowly start showing up. The bus finally pulls up and all the adults have their phones out to take a picture of their kid getting off. I already have tears in my eyes thinking about my precious 5-year-old on his first bus ride! I’m scanning the windows hoping I can spot him. One by one each kid gets off, no Wyatt. The bus driver is about to close the door and drive off. “Wait, my son’s supposed to be on this bus!” I said. Bus driver looks at me, “Sorry, I don’t have a Wyatt,” she said and drove off.

I’m left childless and surrounded by other parents hugging their kids while I envision my tiny blond boy, lost and alone in a bathroom stall in his new huge school or worse kidnapped!

I race back to my house, grab my sleeping Finnegan, drive up to the school and practically run up to the secretary’s desk. A nice woman, who is not the secretary, is answering phones. I let her know what’s happened. She calls the bus barn—I don’t even know what a bus barn is—but they don’t pick up! She tries again, still busy. She says we will have to wait until she can get through to them. But I’m a mom with a lost child! Waiting is not in my genes. I’m the type of person that when I miss a connection flying, while “waiting” in line to talk to the flight officials at the desk to get re-booked, I’m on the phone working my way through automatic answering service hoping to speak to an airline representative before I even get up to the desk while giving my husband the stink-eye for not doing the same. Point is, I don’t wait well. I ask the lady, “Can I start looking for my son? Can I go look around where he was supposed to get on?”

I think my frantic questions alert the Principal whose office is right there. He comes out and calls the bus barn himself—still busy. Wyatt’s teacher comes around the corner now and swears she personally put Wyatt on the bus. I swear he’s not on it! Teacher repeats, “I know he’s on bus 22. I put him on it myself.”

Wait, “22” I say, “He’s supposed to be on 3.” 
Teacher goes white. “You live on Prospect, right. I checked his bus route. Prospect kids get on 22.”
“We live on West Prospect. It’s this little dead end street that has nothing to do with Prospect.”

The teacher feels awful and to her credit, on Wyatt’s file his street is only labeled as W Prospect in very small letters. The Principal tries the bus barn again—still busy. Principal says, “I’m going to go find him.” I have no idea what he means by that, but I see him reach for his keys and motion me to follow him. “Let’s go drive after bus 22,” he says.

So the Principal and Wyatt’s teacher take off in their cars in different directions hunting down bus 22! I’m following the principal in my own car. We drive up and down neighborhoods, no bus. Finally he gives me a thumbs-up from out his window, but I still see no bus and no Wyatt.

We turn the corner and on the side of the road I see Wyatt standing there with his teacher. His teacher had caught up to him first.

I scooped up my precious 5-year-old and gave him a huge hug. And I’ll have you know—I didn’t cry!!! I can’t believe it! The mom who cries at the Anheuser-Busch beer commercials when the Clydesdale horse is looking for the dog—didn’t cry! I think I was just too relieved to find Wyatt, but I also didn’t want to freak him out. Wyatt seemed to think he was on his normal bus route—probably a good thing he’s going to school to get a little smarter. Principal reassured him that bus routes shouldn’t be over an hour. Teacher gave Wyatt a pat on the back and we drove home.

I have to say, my kid might have been put on the wrong bus—innocent mistake that anyone could make—but how many principals and teachers go driving off after one of their students! Oregon might be suffering with low funded schools, huge classes (Wyatt’s class had 30 kids until his school petition to get a 4th teacher), but after my first experience with my Oregon school there is no doubt Wyatt is extremely cared for at his school. Thank you to Wyatt’s Principal, Teacher, School Secretary and Bus Driver who were very calm, prompt and patient with a frantic Mama!

Whew! Glad that epic first day is behind us. Only wait, Wyatt’s got to figure out how to get on the right bus tomorrow… I think I'll write "Bus 3" on his forehead, he won't get teased for that, right?

Oh and in case you're wondering how Finnegan's first pre-school day went--here's the only picture I could capture of him which is just his preschool teacher fist pumping the air as he sprinted past her into school.