We are now more than a full week into the new school year and we have missed the morning bus not once, but twice. In a row.
The letter sent by the transportation department said--in writing--bold writing, no less---- that our bus time was 7:56. We groaned at the prospect of getting ourselves out of the house 10 minutes earlier than last year, but with a few adjustments to our morning routine, we had ourselves out the door at 7:48 the first morning and by the time we were at the end of the driveway (it's a third of a mile away), we could see the bus coming.
No biggie, we said. The bus must just be a little early to allow extra time to help the kindergarteners polish their new bus riding skills
On the second day, we left at the same time, the bus arrived promptly at 7:56, and we congratulated ourselves on beginning the school year with such early morning punctuality.
Imagine our surprise, then, when the bus was waiting for us at 7:51 on the third day.
Hah, we thought. Mr. Bus Driver was early, so he was willing to park at our driveway to put the bus back on schedule, which he has done in the past, so there is nothing unusual here.
And sure enough, on Friday we were at the bus stop before the bus was, though it was a bit of a squeaker.
Then came Monday. We left at 7:48 and were at the bus stop at 7:51, a full five minutes early for the bus. But there was no bus. So I drove the boys to school.
Tuesday, we left a few minutes earlier and still missed the bus. Not by a few seconds either. By the time we reached the bus stop, there was no sign of the bus and no sign of the neighbors--they get on right before we do and I have never been so late that I didn't see the dust of their car as they zoomed back up their driveway.
So I called the Bus People. They were not sympathetic. The Bus Person was not so bold as to say it out loud, but I could hear the thought crackling around in her little head: we do ask all students to arrive at the bus stop ten minutes prior to the appointed time, just like it says in the Bus Letter.
She was kind enough, however, to radio Mr. Bus Driver and find out what time he was at my house.
Around 7:50, he claimed.
A lie, if I ever heard one. I was on the driveway at 7:50 and had a view of the road. No bus, no dusty neighbors. They were both long gone by then.
The grim truth struck me: 7:56 was no more than a decoy time, and I had been fooled by it. The true-but-secret bus time, was --according to the Bus Person--7:50.
More lies! Wednesday I made the boys put their shoes on at 7:35 and we got in the car at 7:40. The bus showed up at 7:49! And Thursday? The sinister fiend of a bus driver was there at 7:48. Are there no limits to how early we must get on the bus?
Clearly this is a test of my parenting skills as they pertain to Acceptable School Morning Procedures. We are prepared now and will not be tricked again.