Today was a very sad day for many moms at our preschool. Half of our first “pledge class” is moving on to elementary school – no more little ones at preschool anymore. For many of us, our oldest children entered the toddler class together and went all the way through kindergarten. Most of these same moms stayed on the same baby train. Our second children also entered the toddler class together and are just moving on to kindergarten or T-K. These are the moms who I have carpooled with for three years now. You’d think we’re never going to see each other again! Not the case at all – it will just take some effort to get together since we won’t be on the same schedule. Lucky for me, there are still a few moms who joined the “big fam” club continuing on with three, four and one rockstar mom, five children. So our little ones will continue on in preschool together for the next three years. Sad moment to lose our carpool buds but not too sad for us because we’re not saying good-bye to preschool just yet.
I remember when my oldest was three, that seemed to be the magic age when moms started carpooling. Maybe it’s because some of our savvy friends had older children and figured out how much of a necessity carpooling would become. When I first thought of carpooling, I immediately dismissed the idea. I mean, here I was, a stay-at-home mom and this was my “job” to send my kids off to school, not to mention, I so enjoyed watching them walk in like big girls and boys with bookbag in tow. But once I found out I was pregnant with twins and had two toddlers running around and no family in town, I instantly knew that carpooling would be a means of survival for me. And that it was! When my twins were born on a Valentine’s Day, I could not even think about getting in the car to take the other ones to school. In fact, I remember very little from these early days! So when my carpool bud, Anne, rolled into my driveway, half the time I don’t think we even had our lunch packed! But she waited and Ansley and Isabel really enjoyed those drives. They had a special bond with their carpool friends. They looked for each other at lunch or on the playground and Ansley still asks about Jack even though they haven’t carpooled for two years.
Once I broke myself into carpooling and accepted the fact that my friends were good drivers too, I slowly turned into a carpool queen. My oldest does ballet and soccer, the middle one just ballet and the twins do gymnastics (although carpooling may be tough for them since two additional full-size carseats are not very common!). So my days are mostly spent in the car, aka, my official office. Thank the Lord for a Blackberry, although I’m secretly longing for an iPhone. Once you own a mac, you never go back! If I didn’t carpool here is what my day would consist of:
7:15am – drive oldest to elementary school
9:15am – drive other three to weekday school
12:45pm – pick up other three from weekday school
2:00pm – pick up oldest from elementary school
Tuesdays – take oldest to and from ballet from 3:15 – 4:15 and then on to soccer for practice from 6-7pm (BTW – this was a really dumb idea scheduling two activities on the same day for one child. It’s a long story of how it happened, but I wouldn’t recommend it!)
Wednesdays – take middle child to and from ballet from 1:15p – 1:45p
Thursdays – the twins have gymnastics from 10:30am-11:15am.
Saturdays – oldest has a soccer game – for some reason our games were always at 8:15am, such a tough time to rally four kids to the soccer field!
Special activity alert (and there always is one!): The twins have been taking swimming lessons from 4:30p-5:00p every weekday so build this into my carpooling schedule as well!
So if you really analyze this, you would quickly recognize that my toddlers would never get a nap if we didn’t carpool, or actually, very much activity since most of their time would be spent in their carseats! I really try to stick by my rule of one activity per child to try not to overschedule them. But I already broke it with my oldest because she signed up for ballet (a full school year commitment) and then wanted to play soccer for her school team. So I considered soccer technically a cardio activity and that didn’t count as a true activity – yes, I am a kook!
Carpooling is a life-saver. We couldn’t do the fun things that we do without it. Plus, we’re saving the environment one car at a time!