Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Pick-Up Artist

"Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you." ~Robert Fulghum

Since I became in charge of daycare pickup a couple of years ago one thing has become perfectly clear: I have no time for nonsense. I am the whirling-dervish dad at pick-up time. In and out in less than five minutes with very little if any eye contact, let alone social interaction. You'll be lucky if you get a hello from me.

This is not social hour. It's a business trip. And my business is to get my daughter, collect her things, strap her in her car seat, get home and start dinner. I am a running back, carrying the ball with a full head of steam, my eyes on the endzone. And it's third down and a long way to go.

How the hell do all of these social-butterfly parents have time to talk? And who's cooking dinner in their house if they have time to chit-chat about God knows what at the most crucial, time-crunched, pressure-packed, stressful time of my day? (Please keep in mind that I am television news producer who faces hard deadlines and time constraints every hour of every day.)

What are these people doing? Don't they have more productive things to do? Meals to prepare? Dogs to walk? Baths to administer? I am as befuddled as I am annoyed in these situations.

Get your Baby Huey out of my way
And get your kid out of my way. It's not cute that your newly-walking bundle of burps wants to open the door by himself. It's wasting my time. That door is heavy, I have a handful of artwork that I am balancing like a circus act, and I need to get the hell out of here and get on with my life. Your adorable little Baby Huey can learn to open doors at home. 

I dont even interact with the people I'm friends with when I see them. I am a man on a mission. And most times I will stop at nothing to carry out that mission. Parking, for instance. If I pick up Peanut later (around 5:45pm), the parking lot is often packed. Annoyed, I scan the front of the building where there is room for two cars to park illegally at curbside. No such luck. Two other parents have already beaten me to it. My last resort is the spot that clearly is not a spot because it is painted as such and is located under a tree. Or, in desperate times, the handicapped spot right next to it. (I am not the only one who does this. But I don't blame you for judging.)

The sign is clear. I don't care
One day last week, I pulled into that handicapped spot, slammed the swagger wagon into park, turned it off, and jumped out. I'm half sprinting as I hit the button to lock the car. As I'm ready to take the steps to the front door two at a time to illustrate just how rushed I am, I spot a friend and her two children, one of whom is in Peanut's class.

"Mommy, he's not allowed to park there," the younger child, a 4 year-old girl, said. 

The mom looked me in the eye, smirked as if to say, "Gotcha," and relayed the message to me in case I didn't hear. Since I was on my mission, I didn't.

Without blinking an eye, I snapped back, "Sometimes ya gotta break the rules kid."

Sometimes... like day care pickup. Stay out of my way. This is no time to lollygag.

Once we're home, my mission continues with the cooking of dinner. I'm also a whirling dervish in the kitchen, as I wrote here.


  1. Reminds me of the time I parked in the No Parking Zone. Imogen asks, "Daddy, why is there a line through that P?" After explaining that I'm not supposed to park there but that sometimes you have to break the rules because we'll be in and out in a second and I'm in a hurry, I return to a ticket on my windshield.

    1. Karma. There is ZERO chance of someone getting a ticket in this spot. So I think that's why i's abused so much. Doesn't make it right. But in 4 years of going to this day care, I have never seen a car with a handicapped tag in the lot, let alone in that space. It's kind of every-parent-for him/herself at pickup. And I'm very 'competitive.'

  2. No matter what your job, herding kids is like herding cats, and the times you're trying to get them to do more than one thing at a time are the hardest you'll ever face, in or out of the job market. Especially if you're the dad of five girls. They all know more than you do. Always.

  3. Hee hee :)

    I love the quote at the top :)



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