The alarm on my phone pierced the serenity of the night. It was early. Or it was late. 3:00 a.m. does that to your brain – all you know is the only place you should be is wrapped up under the covers with your tattered shorts and “I’m Wearing My Twitter Shirt” t-shirt. Instead, you find yourself filling up a travel mug with a poor man’s mocha of freshly brewed coffee and hot chocolate, pulling an old beach chair out of the garage and heading to the local elementary school to register your kids for kindergarten.
I arrive at 3:45 a.m. and there is already a group of 10 or so people waiting in front of the school auditorium. They say the early bird catches the worm, but the early parent also guarantees enrollment in the area’s only full-day kindergarten. There are 100 spots for kindergarten in this school and those who arrive after 7:00 a.m. will be out of luck. They will also have to wait all day in the auditorium to register as it take each parent approximately 10 minutes to register. That’s six people per hour. It’s gonna be a long day.
But for me, it’s a long night. I settle into my beach chair at 3:45 and sip my mocha and make small talk with the lady to my right. She lives in my neighborhood so we chat about home values, our kids and the fact that the school district really should change the way people register for kindergarten. This. Is. Insane.
Before long, but long after my legs have turned numb, the sky begins to lighten and, thank God, the custodian arrives to open the restrooms. After a trip to the little boys room, I’m a new man. Soon after, the doors to the auditorium open and we are escorted into the warmth of a carpeted multi-purpose room that has a stage, basketball hoops and fold out tables. Being the newbie that I am, I did not realize I should have picked up the enrollment forms ahead of time. So, I quickly grab a couple of packets and furiously scribble all the needed information in record time. I am ready when my number is called at 8:30 a.m.
But, it turns out, I’m NOT ready. The first person I speak to is the school nurse who informs me while cringing that our shot records are not up to date. These are the same shot records that we scheduled an appointment in February with our pediatrician to make sure they were up to date. And now? After almost 5 hours of waiting, I’m about to lose what little sanity I have left. I know it. The Nurse knows it. Luckily, I ask, is there anything I can do? She summons over the head admin person, explains my situation, and asks if they can hold my spot. Once we hear yes, she tells me to go get my kids and go straight to the pediatrician’s office. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200 but also, do not leave without getting those shots.
So that’s what I do. And the kids? They deserve a frickin’ award after being unceremoniously plucked from daycare and ushered over to the pediatrician where they are given FOUR shots without a single tear. In fact, Swee’Pea actually giggled the entire time – which totally confirms my suspicions that no one will EVER figure that girl out.
Two hours after I’m told our shots aren’t up to date, I arrive back in the auditorium where they are serving number 23. I proudly show them my updated records and, duly impressed by my speed and determination, I am allowed to register the kids for kindergarten. Mission accomplished.
Now, they better get straight A’s or there will be hell to pay! (What? They don’t get grades in Kindergarten? Who do I talk to about that?!)