“Octagon,” was my toddler’s first three-syllable word. He says it at every stop sign. We spend half our lives in the car. He comes along while I run errands and deliver his sibling to activities and extracurriculars. He learns his letters, numbers, shapes and colors as we drive through town.
He’s likely to take his daily nap in the car because he’s learned to go with the flow. Flexibility is key when everyone has a schedule to adhere to — except you.
Moms are the reason drive-throughs were invented or at least I’d like to think someone was thinking of my need for convenience. I can get my dry cleaning, an oil change, and even a trunk full of groceries without ever getting me (or my toddler) out of the car. I even plan my phone calls to coincide with car rides because when the toddler is strapped in, I won’t hang up to find the cat in the toilet or the toddler in the litter box.
The only place that hasn’t caught up with drive-through conveniences is the school district. I don’t want to get out of the car to pick up my older kid early from school for a doctor’s appointment. I understand I have to sign her out for security reasons and that the school needs to know she’s not skipping, but the office is located at the front of the building. I’ve signed for my prescriptions in a drive-through window at the pharmacy, so I know the architecture and technology exists. I’m not saying they have to pass my child through the window like a maximum-security decongestant. She can still use the front door. McDonalds has mastered the two-window process. I’m sure the school district can, too.
Before you think me lazy, consider my sleeping toddler. Better yet, consider me.
I have to:
• Park the car four miles away in the student lot because the student drop-off semi-circle is a no-parking zone.
• Unbuckle and haul my 40-pound sleeping toddler into the school.
• Sign for the toddler’s older sister.
• Wait 20 minutes for the office to page her and for her to dilly-dally her way to her locker and then to meet me in the office.
• Haul the toddler back to the car.
• Wake him up by strapping him back into the 5-point safety harness.
•Listen to him scream en route to the doctor’s office so I can to do it all over again.
Technology may pass the school district right on by and, judging by how poorly education is funded, that sounds about right. Skype appointments are catching on with doctors. Social media is the new neighborly back fence, and I can even deposit a check now using the bank app on my phone. Maybe by the time my youngest is school-aged we’ll only have to leave the house for excursions to the park.
— Bonnie Jean Feldkamp
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is a writer, wife and mom of three kids whose ages span two decades. Her work has appeared in The New York Times; Cincinnati Enquirer; Brain, Child Magazine; Scary Mommy and more. Her Cincinnati Family Magazine mom blog earned Best Overall Blog in the 2017 Ohio Society of Professional Journalists Awards. Bonnie is also the communications director of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @writerBonnie or on her website at WriterBonnie.com.