Perfect attendance is over-rated.

Yesterday I wrangled the children I babysit into their coats, loaded them into the car, and set off for the Elementary school.  My daughter was having an awards assembly for her perfect attendance in the first nine weeks of school. 

We’ve been to these things before, and they’re really no big deal.  But we’ve always gone to show the kids that we’re proud of them.  And really, with the school being right here in the neighborhood and me being home, I have no excuse not to go.

Today, however, didn’t go off as well as I’d hoped.  First, it was raining cats and dogs.  And the wind was howling.  And so I figured that we would leave the house a whole half hour early–to drive the whole minute to the school– so we could get a parking space somewhat close to the school and not have to walk in the pouring rain.  But you know, my plan failed.  It seems like everyone else had the same idea, and we were stuck in the car a whole 29 minutes early, and parked all the way over in the middle school parking lot.  The kids, they did not like this.  They whined and cried.  My attempts to keep them occupied with a movie did not work.  They were not having it.  So after my ears started to bleed and my brain began to explode, I decided to brave the rain and just go into the school. 

The four year old stepped into a huge puddle.  The two year old would not keep his jacket on.  It started to rain harder and the wind picked up.  It was not a fun walk into the school.  But once we got inside, I breathed a sigh of relief, figuring the worst was over.

(Oh, you’re laughing at my naivete, aren’t you.)

When I went into the office to sign in as a visitor, the children decided that would be a perfect opportunity to drop to the floor and crawl around while wailing.  Literally, that’s what they did.  So I hurried up and signed in and hustled the kids out of there, holding them up by their arms as they refused to walk. 

(Let me just stop to remind you that these are not my kids, and therefore I could not threaten their very existence, like I would certainly do with my children.)

So I gently reminded them of the rules–walk, be quiet, stay with me, WALK–and then led the way to the cafeteria.  They managed to get themselves into their chairs and sit very nicely.  We watched my daughter’s class file in, and I thought that now we would finally get this over and done with without too much fuss.  I mean, they were seated, it would start soon, and what could happen?

(Now you’re no longer thinking me naive, but more just plain stupid, aren’t you.)

The boys decided to use their chairs as jungle gyms.  The oldest had to be told several times that his bottom was supposed to be on the chair, not his top.  The youngest fell off of his.  Well, not so much fell, but started to fall until his leg got caught in the chair and he managed to slowly slide to the floor while I tried uselessly to stop him.  But don’t worry, he was okay.  He just screamed like he had cracked open his skull while I hustled him out of the cafeteria.  He stopped promptly upon seeing the school buses in the parking lot.  It seems that he did not sustain any real injury, he was just royally pissed off.

The remainder of the assembly went fairly well after the chair incident.  I had given up hope of trying to stop the little one from screaming, and instead just pretended I didn’t hear it.  I sat smiling at my daughter and hoped it would be over soon. 

At the end, the Principal gave a short speech.  He told the kids he was proud of them, and challenged them to another nine weeks of perfect attendance.  At that point I leaned in toward my husband and told him that if my daughter wasn’t sick anytime in the next nine weeks, I was keeping her home from school one day anyway.  Because I’ll be damned if I’m going to go through this again.


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