A bit of this and that...with added frangipani.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Parenting Tip: Never Chuck Your Kid Out of a Moving Car

Ugh. I have just had the most horrifyingly public parenting failure.

It was bucketing with rain.
This morning as we drove to school, it was bucketing with rain, and I realised that our umbrellas were sitting in our garage opened up to dry from our previous rainy outing (and probably fully dry at this point, but forgotten in our haste to get to school on time).

At our school, there is a Stop-Drop-Go (I will call it SDG) point where you can pull up and let your children off, so you don't have to find a parking spot. They can just hop out and make their way to the classrooms on their own. You are not allowed to park, you just well...stop, drop and go.

Prep children are meant to be escorted to their classrooms by their parents, so we don't avail ourselves of this time-saving convenience yet. Besides, I still enjoy taking them to their classrooms and intend to do so as long as they'll let me.

I had a bright idea. So that the children wouldn't get soaked in the walk from the parking lot (it involved a wait at the lights to cross the road) and have to sit in their wet clothes all day long, I would just drop them off at the SDG point and get them to wait for me under cover until I could park the car and then I would escort them to their classrooms. I would get wet, but I was able to go home and change, so it wouldn't matter much.

You need to know that we approach our SDG point from the opposite side of the road, so in order to get into the queue, a u-turn is required on quite a busy road. You also need to know that I am a somewhat timid driver, and I hate causing inconvenience or making people wait for me unnecessarily. If I am looking for a specific address on a busy road and there are lots of cars behind me, I will drive around the block instead of slowing down sufficiently to see the address numbers.

My pet peeve is those who pull up at the SDG point and neglect to move up, thus making the u-turn next to impossible and very dangerous.

One such person was doing exactly that, and I was getting agitated about how I was going to make my u-turn and fit into the minuscule space behind him, when he had heaps of space in front. This didn't help my demeanour.

So when it was safe to do so, I did my u-turn and then, being mindful of the line of cars waiting to do their u-turns and fall in behind me, I hurried the children out of the car. Of course, "hurry" doesn't seem to be in a child's vocabulary, so they moved at a snail's pace, so I reverted to my Sergeant Major impression. It goes something like, "Move it, move it, move it! Let's go, let's go, let's go!". This startled them into action, so instead of stepping out of the car, MasterFive tumbled out. I watched him to see what his reaction was. He didn't burst into tears, and he was just brushing off his hand. Alright then, he was OK, I could drive the 100 or so metres up the road to the nearest parking spot, and come back to give him a cuddle and take him to his class.

So after parking the car, getting drenched and returning to where I left the children, I find MasterSeven standing on his own...out in the rain...watching for me to come back.

"What are you doing standing in the rain?" I asked in exasperation. "Where's MasterFive?"

"He went to sick bay"...


Fortunately for MasterFive and unfortunately for my parental ego, a kindly mum saw him fall, and found that he had a graze on his hand that needed attending to, so she took him to the sick bay to be patched up.

You're gonna have to jump for it kids!
This is the story she must have told the Principal, who, of course, happened to be the person on hand to patch up my abandoned child:

"You should have seen it! This crazy woman chucked this poor boy out of a moving car and drove off!"

When I turned up, after sending MasterSeven (soaked) off to his classroom, the Principal was applying antiseptic cream and cooing so nicely to my injured boy. As she applied the plaster, every sweet word she said to him was like a blow to me. I imagined her thinking, "See? This is how you are meant to take care of your child, not by throwing him out of a car, you incompetent heartless mother"

I thanked her, and as I was taking him to his classroom, I spotted the mum who had taken him to the sick bay. I thanked her profusely and managed to get in a "I didn't drive off, honestly, I just went to find a parking spot". It sounded so lame when I said it, even to me. And the real bonus? I recognised her. She has a child in the same class as MasterFive, so I get to see this woman everyday, knowing that she probably thinks I am The. Worst. Mother. Ever.

What have I learned from today's embarrassing parental failure?

  1. Always make sure you put the umbrellas back in the car (no comment required from my ever-tidying husband).
  2. If your child falls over whilst getting out of the car. Get out and make sure he is fine, no matter how many cars are lined up waiting for you to move on.
  3. Wear dark sunglasses and a hat for the rest of the school year so that no one will recognise you as the crazy woman who chucked her kid out of the car at Stop-Drop-Go.
Have you had any public parenting failures? Or for those non-parents, have you ever been in a situation where your intentions were completely misunderstood?

It's Flog Yo Blog Friday folks. Visit our hostess with the mostess, Brenda at Mummy Time to find out how to join in the fun.  



  1. We have a drop and go zone at my kids' school as well. The number of parents who stop half way along and then block traffic is astounding. A few take the time to sit there and do their daughter's hair or chat with people who are walking past. It drives me crazy.

    Love your 'Move it. Move it." chant. In the afternoons when I pick my children up, they are generally greeted with 'Get in the car! Get in the car!' to try to hurry them along.

    As for sharing my stories, my parenting fail moments are so numerous that I hardly know where to start. :-)

  2. Ha! We have the "kiss and go" lane which no bastard utilises properly.

    The other day I let Sam out as I do every morning and watched him walk in the gate before taking off to literally across the road to drop 4yo in at kindy. That's when the 4yo says "Sam is coming back Mum". Apparently there were spiders in the trees and he was running back out the gate to get away from them. Kid, awol from school. Urggh. It's a bloody tricky thing this parenting.

    Loved it, thanks xx

  3. Shelly sorry, but I just laughed and laughed at this story! I really wish I couldn't relate, but alas... Think on the bright side-maybe you'll set a fashion trend with all the hats. LOL!

  4. I've been quilty of making on the spur of the moment choices that after a minute of rethinking seem so totally wrong. We've all been there. Your account has enough humor added, to be a thoroughly enjoyable read. Loved it.

  5. (hugs) I bet they do understand and believe you . I would be motified too though , did you consider changing cars :)

    My kids tipped an empty trolley over once in BIG W - one was in and the other hanging off the side ...
    I was an aisle away putting something back (hotwater bottles in fact because I thought they might be dangerous) .Someone was helping them up ... the looks I got as the kids said
    we've sorry mummy amidst hearty sobs.

  6. this really made me laugh a lot :D
    since I managed to FORGET my son in school his the first week ever, I think I have already been sufficiently noticed by teacher and other parents (who saw me running in thongs). I am watching the drop-off zone with a lot of interest, but since he is a preppie too, it's not on. note: since nobody is using it right and they have a lack of volunteers, they are now discussing to stop it this year. damn.

  7. Oh you poor thing. And it's the start of the school year, so you've got all year to live it down. School drop-offs and pick-ups are stressful enough!

  8. Very good tip, I'll keep it in mind.
    At highschool my best friend get out the car in the SDG zone and, as I stood there watching, her mum ran over her foot...

  9. Thanks for all your supportive comments. The helpful mum came up to me at school pick-up to reassure me that she didn't think I had just driven off. When saw me zip into the bushes as she walked past, she must have figured out I was a bit embarrassed by the whole thing.

  10. OMG you poor thing!
    I hate it when things like that happen. Feeling like a bad mum is awful. It's OK, we all know you're not! xx

  11. That was a hilarious story. My son moves in such slow motion I have to kick him out of the car. But I always make sure that I yell out the window, "Have a nice day! I love you!"
    (He's sixteen and he loves it when I do that in front of a bunch of fellow school guys.)

  12. Epic Failure!!! Ah well, maybe they can walk to school instead.

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  14. LOL. You had me at the headline of this one. School parking is a nightmare at the best of times, let alone in a tropical downpour. You only have 12 or 13 years of seeing this woman. What's 12 or 13 years out of a lifetime? Oh...

    Visiting from the Rewind.

  15. LIAPF: Actually since then, her son has invited MasterFive to his birthday party, plus more than a few times I have witnessed her rushing in at a few minutes after the last bell, so I'm not feeling as mortified.

  16. So glad my experience was amusing for you. :) So do I qualify to be in it to win your sister's book? I've been following A and C for a couple years now and never knew you were all sisters!

  17. Oh, Shelley. Oh. I have no words to express how mortified I am on your behalf... except to say... he will get over it. And it's kinda funny. Really it is!! x


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