This was going to be a clipart of a school bus but our bus doesn’t look like a traditional school bus. Then I was going to put a clipart of a missing child thing but I thought that would be a mockery of real missing children or something. So all I have is more text and no pictures or clip art.
My kids have been taking the school bus for about 5 weeks now and it’s been going great. It helps that they ride it together and I know there is a bus monitor on the bus and seat belts (and now they have cameras too). Even though my kids never rode a school bus back home, it hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. I was very proud of myself for not getting in my car and driving behind the bus for the first week. I did walk them to the bus stop in the compound for the first week (after showering & dressing every time) and then I realized that a wave at the door in my pj’s is fine and I can climb back in bed and snuggle Cameron.
So – 5 weeks and no problems….until yesterday.
The bus comes back at 4:00 and my door opens about 4:02 with my kids walking in, unless they have after school activities – in which they take the later bus and come home at 5:00.
Well – it was 4:15 and I didn’t see Alexander. I went and knocked on a friend’s door. Her son was there and confirmed Alexander wasn’t on the bus. I took a deep breath and tried really hard not to have a panic attack.
I talked myself down. My internal dialogue goes something like this: It’s fine. I’m sure he’s fine. No one took him. He’s probably still on school grounds. I bet he’s playing soccer with a friend and lost track of time. He’ll probably be on the late bus. It’s fine.
Then I called Brian and sounded like this: “ALEXANDER WASN’T ON THE BUS…….WHAT DO I DO?????? SHOULD I I DRVE THERE?? I CAN’T BELIEVE HE’S NOT ON THE BUS!” All in a wonderful shrieky-crazy-mom voice. Glad the talking down worked so well – otherwise I would’ve done it in a crazy-crying-hyperventilating-mom voice. I told him I tried to call and the bus manager and couldn’t get through. I asked him to go to her office. He told me to relax and he would talk to her.
I got in touch with the bus manager and told her what happened. She was fantastic. She said she had some phone calls to make to track him down and would get back to me.
She contacted the late afternoon bus monitors (who were now at the school in preparation for the 4:30 bus departure). She had them search the grounds for Alexander.
She called me back to say all is well and he is on the 4:30 bus.
That was 20 minutes of panic. Not good.
Alexander walked in the door at 5:00 full of apologies. He said that he was playing soccer and the bus left 4 minutes early. He saw it pull away and knew he would be in trouble. He asked four of his friends if he could use their phone to call home (I had put our phone numbers in his backpack on the first day of school). No one had a phone with them. So – he played soccer and figured he would get on the next bus.
The bus manager explained that the monitors aren’t responsible for kids in 3rd grade and up because they are responsible enough to take care of themselves. If they miss the 3:30 bus, they know to get on the 4:30 bus or the 5:30 bus. If they are in Kindergarten – 2nd grade they will track them down before leaving.
We are totally caving and getting Alexander a cell phone now.