Because Norah's elementary school has so many kids, traffic is an obvious problem. Drop off isn't that bad once you figure out the complicated flow of cars, but pick up really, really bad. It is the school's responsibility to get every kid to the right place (one I am grateful that they take so seriously), but the logistics don't make for the most efficient process. You pull up to the school and get in the line of cars waiting to pick-up kids. If you want to be anywhere near the front of the line, you have to be there by about 2:00 (kinder gets released at 2:35, everyone else at 2:45). You put a sign on your passenger side window with your kid's name and one teacher calls it out when you get to the front and then another teacher calls for that kid (who is sitting on the hot sidewalk, waiting...waiting...waiting...) The teachers work their asses off in this 100+ degree heat and are doing their best, there is just no better solution.
I work from home on Mondays and have Fridays off, but on Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I work downtown. Which is a good 25 minutes away from the school with no traffic, and close to an hour away in rush hour. It's obviously not feasible for me to pick her up on those days. Bubby has both kids on Tue/Wed/Thur afternoon when I am at work, but the problem is that she has BOTH kids, one of whom naps right smack in the middle of the time Norah needs to be picked up from school. It was definitely a dilemma.
The most reasonable solution? The bus. The policy in our district is that you have to live two miles away from your school in order to qualify for bus service. Of all the kids who go to this school, our neighborhood is one of the farthest away (our neighborhood is sectioned oddly and is divided between two separate school DISTRICTS-not just schools), so we qualify for service. There aren't a ton of kids who ride the bus, so my hope was that it would be a smooth, non-chaotic process.
I picked her up Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (I left work at 1:00) and then on Thursday it was bus time. It drops off at the mailboxes literally 100 feet from our house. Bubby left a soundly sleeping Lou and walked the 15 seconds to the stop. I was at work in a quiet panic (would she get on the right bus, would she know where to get off, would anyone give her a hard time, would the driver be nice to her?) Bubby texted me this picture the second she got off:
She loved it. She had a lot of apprehension about it (so I played it cool even though I was dying inside), but it was a piece of cake. The kinder kids get walked there by the teacher, they get to sit right up front, and she recognized our street immediately (not to mention Bubby). It was a success. Her only complaint it that it's hot. (I had been warned this by all the parents I grilled about their bus experience--for some unknown reason the buses do not have air conditioning and for August/September and again in May/June it can be tough). She was ready for ice water and one of her shows, but couldn't have been happier about it. I was so relieved we went out to dinner to celebrate (that and it's 103 degrees still and taking the kids out for pizza is about all I can handle at the end of the day).
You can't possibly imagine how jealous this dude is that she gets to ride a BUS every day.
I was there to meet the bus on Friday, and again, piece of cake.
I love it when the easiest solution actually works out. Such a relief.