Don’t Make Me Wet My Pants

Kindergarten hasn’t even begun, and I am already that mother.  But, as all of those mothers do, I feel completely justified! 

I couldn’t find Thor for about 20 minutes after the parent part of the school open house was finished.  10 of those minutes, I was on a tour and looking for him idly as I was led around the school.  7 of those minutes I was looking for him with a low level of alarm that he might be worried about where I was.  For 3 of those minutes, I was pants-wetting horrified, and ready to call 9-1-1 from inside the school.

Today I thought about it.  What if something had happened?  The administration needs to know that there was confusion, so they can make it better.  Right?  You don’t have to agree.  Just pretend.  Smile and nod.  I sent my first mother-of-a-public-school-child-email and he hasn’t even stepped foot inside a classroom.  I hope I set a kind tone.

Dear Ms. Personincharge,
We met briefly last night at the Kindergarten Round-Up.  Thank you for taking the time to say hello, and tell us about the school.  B and I are looking forward to our son’s education, and this was a lot of fun for me.  I was happy to get a chance to tour the campus and see where our son, Thor, will be going to school.  He was excited by his visit, and is looking forward to Kindergarten.
After my tour of the school, I went to find him and had a few minutes of panic.  Upon arrival, we were told that Thor was going to go visit a Kindergarten classroom, and I would pick him up when I had finished all my paperwork.  When I went to the Kindergarten classrooms, there were no children there.  I walked the hallways twice, running across two tours of children, not finding mine in either group, meeting a few other parents with the same problem. 
After ten minutes, all I could think was, “Oh no!  One of the registered sex offenders from the neighborhood knew this was the Kindergarten Round Up, and…  Oh no!”  I was already surprisingly overwhelmed by the idea of “losing my baby” to school, and (being the dramatic sort) the idea of actually losing him made it a little hard to think clearly.
I realized that I had handed Thor over to a student, without showing ID, or in some way tagging myself as being his parent, and sent him on his way.  In all the excitement, anyone could have walked out the door with him.  Or, he might have walked out the door himself, trying to find me.  That was irresponsible of me, and I should have insisted on more information before letting the process take over my instincts.
I finally found the student who had taken responsibility for him, and she said I would find Thor on the playground.  There he was!  He was swinging away, happy as a lark.  I was happy, too.
I’m sure you can see how the process seemed a tad disorganized and disconcerting, especially as someone who doesn’t know the layout of the school very well and had to really search to find her child. I love the idea that kindergarteners got fifth-grade buddies to show them around.  That made Thor feel very important.  But I wonder if they wouldn’t also benefit from having an adult responsible for who belongs to whom?  If there is interest, I’d be happy to collect some ideas of how other schools do their orientations and present the PTA with some strategies that might help everyone get a little more out of it next year, and save another parent the bladder-wrenching worry that their child has vanished.
Again, thank you so much for your time!  The 5th Grade students were delightful, and gave a great tour.  I think Thor is going to be very happy at [the school], and I hope B and I can be helpful.
Best Regards,

3 thoughts on “Don’t Make Me Wet My Pants”

  1. I had a friend who pulled her child out of the school entirely and sent him to a Catholic school up the road after they lost him on the first day of kindergarten. Briefly. But it’s enough! My children are 9 and 11 and I’m still terrified if I don’t see them on the playground IMMEDIATELY when I go to pick them up. Never mind that I was walking home from school on my own from the second day of kindergarten on.

  2. I thought I’d never hear of a person named Thor, a dog yes, a person…? Well my kids have weird names too (European surnames) so I guess I’m not one to talk.

    I think you did overreact a bit. My kids went down the street to a boy’s house one day w/out my knowledge. Well, it took me about 20 minutes to figure it out! When I showed up at the boy’s front door the other mother thought I was crazy! LOL Then I thought back at my childhood and remembered that I would go to friends’ houses all the time on my block at that age (5 years old.) I grew up only one block away from the block I live on now. Times have really changed. And I don’t think for the better. Such a culture of fear!

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