Thursday – It’s preschool orientation! We drive down to Betty’s preschool to meet with her teacher and a few of the specialists on her team. Her teacher hands me a stack of papers and begins to go over them. Nothing new here: forms, approved snack lists, a reminder to please not send your child to school when they have a fever, an overview of the curriculum. And then her teacher casually mentions, “Unfortunately we will be unable to provide transportation for Betty this year.” This catches me off guard. This year transportation is a necessity. With Betty’s school (16 minutes south of our house) starting 15 minutes before Clara’s school (9 minutes north of our house), it’s physically impossible for me to get both children where they need to be on time. I share the “unfortunate” news on instagram and the mama bears of the interwebs are unleashed. I might just have to fight this.
Friday – The day is a web of missed calls and voicemails between the Preschool Director and myself. She says they are working on the transportation issue. By the end of the day, her voicemail has good news: transportation issues have been solved!
Monday – Today is preschool open house. We meet one other child and Betty enjoys herself while one of the aides shows her around. Betty’s teacher confirms that the transportation issues seem to have worked out and she can plan to ride the bus the next day. I haven’t heard what time her bus will pick her up, so I call the transportation office and they assure me that her driver will contact me to let me know. In the late afternoon, Spencer forwards me a voicemail from the driver saying he will pick her up at 7:15. It’s a full hour before school starts, and I’m sad that she will be on the bus for so long and have to get up so early, but we don’t have a lot of options.
Tuesday – It’s the first day of school! We wake up with plenty of time to get Betty ready for the day with time to spare. Right on cue, her bus pulls up at 7:15 and we wheel her down the driveway. Her driver ambles down the bus stairs and looks at us in dismay, “I’m so sorry, but my bus does not have a wheelchair lift. There’s nothing on the bus request about needing a lift.” We go back in the house, get Clara ready for the day, send her to a friend’s house to wait for her carpool and then head to preschool. I call the Preschool Director and the transportation department, just to cover all bases. They assure me that they will work it out, but “it might take a few days.” Ugh.
That evening as I am backing out of my driveway, a man dismounts from his motorcycle, which is parked kind of in front of my house and approaches my car, motioning me to stop. I roll down my window as he approaches, “Are you Betty Evans’ mom?” This guy claims to be her new bus driver and says that even though the transportation department may have promised a ride for her on Wednesday, he really can’t start picking her up until Thursday. I haven’t heard a thing from the transportation department, so this is news to me.
Wednesday – Today I planned ahead. Grandma comes to hang out with Clara while she finishes getting ready for school, and George who – blessed boy – is still sleeping. As I sign Betty in to school, her teacher looks up and asks, “Oh, she didn’t want to ride the bus today?” I reply, “Well, there is no bus.” On the way out of school another mom recognizes me from the podcast/blog and of course I am still in my running clothes, haven’t showered, my hair looks like that of a muppet, and I haven’t fed my exclusively breastfed baby in thirteen hours. She was warm and friendly and so nice, but I sure would have loved to have had real clothes on for such an encounter.
Thursday – Spencer leaves at 4:00 to ride to the tippy tops of the mountains before riding into work. We trade morning workout days, and usually when it’s his turn I can sleep right on through. Today I am awake. From 4:00 until 6:00 I cannot sleep. I fall into a deep, deep sleep about 40 minutes before my alarm should go off. I am having an intense and involved dream and then wake in a jolt to sunlight coming in through the blinds. Crap! I flip my phone over, it’s 7:13. The bus, the actual bus with a lift that Betty can actually ride, is set to arrive in TWO minutes.
I race downstairs. Betty is awake. I pull her out of bed, sprint up the stairs and pull off her pajamas. I cannot find the wipes, but maybe her diaper is just wet? Ha. Poop everywhere. Where are the wipes!? I remember that some are in my bag and sock-slide into my room to grab them. I get a fresh diaper on her before I hear the roar of the bus coming down the street. Ahhh! Luckily I set out her clothes last night. Quickly I pull on her shirt and shorts and suddenly the bus is parked directly in front of my house. I race outside, braless and in my pajamas, hoping motorcycle-bus-driver will seem a little more sympathetic without a helmet on.
“I slept in!! Can we please have five minutes!?”
“Ok,” he replies, annoyed, “But this is a one time thing. We’re on a really tight schedule.”
I run back in, plop Betty on a kitchen chair shoving banana and meds in her mouth and shoes on her feet. No time for her orthotics today! I pull her hair into a quick ponytail and grab her in a dash. I pull her wheelchair outside and buckle her in. It’s 7:19 and she is on the bus. Phew.
Friday – I go on a run with a friend, and I’m home nursing George on the couch when the bus pulls up. What? I run outside (this time in my running clothes. Someday I’ll start showering before mid-day again, right?) as the driver honks. He’s not messing around. As I approach him I ask, “Today’s Friday, right?”
He looks so annoyed. “What?” He’s snappy, “Yeah, it’s Friday.”
“Oh, well, Betty doesn’t have school on Fridays.” I reply with a smile.
“Oh… that’s right.”
“Yep, Monday through Thursday. No Fridays.”
He cowers and starts to get back on the bus and I can’t help but shout after him, “Have a nice weekend!”
We’re off to a great start.