Parenting tweens: wearing the chauffeur hat

Sometimes, when weekends are busier than schooldays, I let the kids sleep an extra 15 minutes on Monday morning and offer to drive them to school. This week I did just that. The weather was crappy and one kid had a sore ankle. I decided to drive them.

After dropping my younger one off at her school, I asked my son where he wanted to be picked up after school. His ankle was wrapped up, he may have suffered a slight sprain during hockey on the weekend.

“Can I stay home today?” he asked right away.

No.

He’s not sick. He can choose to skip gym or sit at lunch instead of play football, but no, I don’t want a tween kids hanging around staring at screens all day on a school day.

He agreed that the road adjacent to his school, where his tennis club is located, would be a good place to pick him up. “I don’t want to have to walk all the way to tennis, can you pick me up at the corner?” he asked me.

No problem.

The rest of the day was all kinds of driving around for me. My daughter needed a pickup at lunch, then a trip to the dentist, then a trip to the bakery and finally the trip back home. Would I have enough time to enjoy a cup of tea before I had to drive again to get the boy?

Yes, but I had to drink it fast. It was almost 3.

My son’s school lets the tweens out at 3:05.

Just before I started the car I texted him:

‘Already on my way. Will be in Civic on tennis road.’

I get there around 3:15. I wait, leaving the car idling for a few minutes. It’s cold and rainy and the car is warm and toasty. Not as warm and comfy as my living room but I digress…

After 10 minutes, I’m getting fidgety. It shouldn’t take him more than 5, 6 minutes to cross the school yard and head across the street to where I was parked next to the sidewalk.

At 3:35 I call him:

“Where are you? Do I have to drive closer?”

I’m thinking his ankle must be more seriously sprained than we had originally thought if it’s taking him this long to get to me.

As he’s speaking into his phone, I can’t understand what he’s saying. There’s a lot of loud background noise.

He must still be in the hallway at school, at his locker, getting dressed, I thought and sent him a text.

“Text me back, I can barely hear you.”

He does.

‘I’m on the bus”, my phone informs me. ‘Forgot.’

Sigh.

Lesson to me: tween boys with minor sports injuries would do almost anything to skip a day of school, and lounge horizontally on the couch all day. He even said as much this morning when he found out his sister won’t be in class all afternoon because of a dentist appointment. “That’s not fair she gets to stay home”, he complained. “I’m injured, I should rest my foot.”

Ya.

Turns out the boy’s limp is just a little more pronounced when he’s in my line of vision than when he’s not. If he can walk 15 minutes to the bus stop from school, he’s not that badly injured.

But no harm done. My day was a write-off that day anyway, what’s another futile car trip to nowhere? It barely registered on my brain

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