Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

Child Pickup

Last monday I picked up Joey at school. Elaine had told me to park on the street in back of the school instead of in front, and she showed me on the google aerial view where people parked on dirt across from the school. The children are lined up on the playground and released to their parents or caregivers or to the bus. Joey's class lines up on "Dot 42", Mary told me. There are dots with numbers and short lines painted in a row across the playground.

Elaine had warned me that when the school bell rings parents swarm the gate and flood into the playground. I watched as several parents singly entered through the small gate ahead of time and spaced themselves around the asphalt, most of them on cell  phones and none of them talking to each other. It was surely a view from some futuristic movie, yet it was now. I decided to  beat the swarm and enter early, too, but not too early. I didn't fancy standing around there. And it was awkward.I found dot 42 and lingered in the vicinity. When the bell rang one group came through a near door, another from a far door. One gang headed to the bus. After several classes had lined and dispersed, quickly, Joey's gang came through a near door. I found Joey, the teacher asked Joey who this was, I said I was his grandmother, and we were off.

So very many SUVs and vans and other cars.So many more than ever arrived to pick up children when I was small. I do not remember parents picking up kids at all, in fact. If we didn't take a bus we walked. I suspect there would have been no bus for me, because I lived four or five blocks away. Parents and schools are more security-conscious now, and I understand it, yet I still wish there were a way children could simply walk home, children in grade school. Sometimes I would stop at the park and get dirty there, playing on the swings and jungle jim (limited on that one because girls had to wear dresses), maybe just  sitting on the edge of the little empty pool, talking to a friend. I never had more than one friend, and this one would have been Candy.

When we got to the apartment we could not get in. None of my keys worked. Mary had made me a copy but apparently I left it on a hook at home, doing nobody any good. We called Mary, and she said she would meet us downstairs at her work with the key. We then discovered that Joey had forgotten his homework. He had his bag but no homework in it.

We drove back to the school and I asked Joey if he knew a way in. We found a restroom door that was open and went through that, discovering that it opened into the multipurpose room,where "safekey" was taking place. Of course. Lots of children were swarming around several tables, laughing and jostling each other, apparently not doing anything in particular. Later, Joey said that when he is in safekey he is quiet, and I believe that. This bright, attention-grabbing little boy is actually fairly shy in some circumstances.

We went to the front desk. Asked the woman behind the counter if we could get into Joey's classroom to get his homework. She called the teacher on the phone, found that she had left already. Then she said she'd let us in "this once" but that Joey had better not let this happen again. This threw me. I am so used to being treated as an adult and in treating others as adults or semi adults that I was bothered by it. Later I was more so, because Elaine told me it was probably the only time Joey had ever forgotten his homework. She has picked him up several times and he has conscientiously done his homework right away. Never a problem. It has always bothered me that some adults treat all children the same way, and that way is not with respect, or doesn't seem that way to me.

We did get the homework without incident, although Joey said later he had forgotten to take his reading book but it was okay because he could read something else (which he did). He did all of his homework with no fuss, including reading one book three times total (he was supposed to read for 16 minutes - I suggested he take on another book but he preferred to read the same one: Just Go to Bed, by Mercer Mayer). I think it was a good thing because there were a few words in there that he got to tackle three times, words that were a little difficult for him. I think he may read "space cadet" right the first time the next time he sees it. Maybe not, though,  because I am not at all sure he knows what a space cadet is.

I hardly know what I  did in all the time I was in Las Vegas. It doesn't seem  like I spent much time with either daughter or with Joey. But I wasn't alone that much either. I did get my car in for major service - its 30K service - and I did get my camera into a shop where they told me it would have to be sent it for repair. I did drop a few books off here and there on the way to LV and within LV. I bought a few items of clothing. I went out to eat with the daughters and son-in-law. I did help Mary with an assignment and I did install software on her computer and get her printer working. My memories are so overridden by the headaches that it's good that I write of the things that were not headaches.

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