Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

School pick-up line musings

Full credit for this post idea goes to the post I read yesterday on Scary Mommy. You can read the original here (it’s pretty funny).

My child is scared of the school bus. 

Not in any rational way but in a full blown “I will not take it and I will throw a fit if you even bring it up” way. I sort of blame myself because for kindergarten, due to taking advantage of school choice, I had to drive her. Then we moved and she was too nervous to take the bus without knowing anyone and we live literally 6 minutes from the school and what else do have to do with my day so I drove her for first grade. 

She got spoiled.

I can work with spoiled.

And then there were all the bus accidents and the full blown fear was born.

I can’t work with fear.

And now, unless it’s for a field trip which allows for no other means of transportation , the child will not ride the bus (although we are currently in negotiations for her riding the bus one way. Next year. For third grade). 

Which means I am relegated to another 7 or so months of school pickup line hell. 

And in case you’re wondering, and I know you are, here’s a smattering of what goes through my head each and every day as I sit in that long, slow moving line (twice a day, every day):pick up line thinking

In the morning:

Good Lord, this is a long line. How many people missed this bus this morning?

Why is that kid getting out of the car into oncoming traffic? 

Why is that car parked in the middle of the line?

Hey, I remember that teacher from last year! I should wave. Better not. He doesn’t look like a morning person.

I should go get tea from Starbucks. Oh, wait. I left my wallet at home. Now I have to drink my crappy homemade tea again. 

Where are all the other kids? Are we that late? We can’t be. There are approximately 880707 cars behind me. 

What time does school start? I should really write that down.

Next year, this child is definitely taking the bus. This is a pain in the ass. Who am I kidding? She’ll probably wind up missing it and I’ll have to drive her anyway.

In the afternoon

I’m here 10 minutes early. How are there that many cars in front of me? How early do they get here?

Well, at least I’ll get in some reading. 

(Two pages later) Reading isn’t working. I’m too distracted. 

I should respond to blog comments. I’m terrible at that. I’ll be so productive and take charge of my time! This is something I should do every day while I’m waiting. 

Damn it, there’s no reception here. I hate living in the sticks.

It makes no sense that Spotify works and my WordPress app doesn’t. I should try it again. (tries 16 times) Sonofabitch! Why is it still not working?! 

Sonofabitch! She never says that! What About Bob? is a great movie. I need to watch it again soon.

Oh, hey look! Other people bring their dogs with them! 

I bet their dogs are well behaved and they don’t have one who compulsively licks the car door. 

Are there doggie psychologists? Dobie needs one. I should look into that.

Holy crap, Barkley has bad breath! 

Wow, I look terrible without makeup. And really tired. I need to take more naps.

Hey, that’s a funny car sticker! How can I subtly take a picture of it and post it to Instagram?

An awful lot of cars around here have stick figure families. I don’t know how I feel about that. 

I think I’d like to make (fill in the blank) for dinner tonight. 

Crap. I don’t have one of the main ingredients. I guess I’ll run to the supermarket to pick it up.

Oh, wait. I left my wallet at home. My family won’t notice if I leave it out.

Why is that parent out of the car? Is there something I should be concerned about? 

Nope. She’s just going to talk with her friend. 

I don’t know either of them. That’s odd. 

No. It’s not. I barely leave my house. This is my outing for the day. 

I need to get out more.

Why is it taking so long for the teacher to come around with the signout clipboard? 

Why am I the only parent who signs her whole name? I need to practice writing my initials so they look cool. I need cool initial signatures for when I’m famous. 

I think I’d like to be John Green famous. Not famous-famous. 

Where is my child? Oh, there she is! Why is she wearing less clothes than I sent her to school with? Where did they go?

Who is she talking to? I don’t know that kid. I should ask my daughter but she probably doesn’t know either. She’ll talk to anyone. She’s like her father. I’m 96% certain this worries me.

Why is this line moving so slowly? I’d really like to get my daughter and go home.

Oh, thank G-d she sees me and is making her way over here. 

I hope she doesn’t fall while she’s running. I don’t have any more band aids. 

I should get a first aid kit for the car. That’d be a smart, proactive choice.

I really need to get Barkley a breath mint.

Hallelujah, she’s here, she’s buckled, and there are no cars in my way. 


This child is totally taking the bus next year.

Except who am I kidding. No she’s not.

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  1. Julia

    Hahaha, this is great! I don’t have kids, but anytime I see those drop off or pick up lines I think YIKES! They are always SO long and look super slow! I think I would run out of patience for that pretty quick!
    Julia recently posted…You take the good, you take the bad…My Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      My patience with them is GONE. I’m so over the whole parent pick-up thing.

  2. Michelle

    Haha love this! I live in a neighborhood that has TWO elementary schools inside it. This means I completely avoid the neighborhood or I don’t leave my house from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. because the lines are so long and it’s impossible to get to or from my house!
    Michelle recently posted…Monthly Income Report Roundup – My Favorite Income BloggersMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      Fortunately her school doesn’t block any traffic because it’s contained in a campus-like setting but on my way home, there’s a pre-K off the main road that lets out around noon. I get ragey when I get stuck in that backup. I purposefully avoid being anywhere near it during that time. Anything I have to do can wait.

  3. kristen

    hahahaha your dog licks the car door? hilarious. i lived with a friend for a few months and she had a son in elementary school and i would go with her sometimes to drop off or pick off and oh my lord it’s insanely boring and long. and then i used to live in an apartment near a school and you basically couldn’t go anywhere at the time school started or ended because you just can’t get out or into the stupid neighborhood. it was insane!
    kristen recently posted…Gift Ideas for everybody-ish.My Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      Yes! He does! It’s so weird. And a little gross. The vet said he’s never heard of anything like it.

      I’ve started bringing a book and when my attention span can handle it, it’s a nice way to squeeze in some extra reading.

  4. kathy@vodka and soda

    people DGAF when they’re picking up their kids. i have FOUR schools in my area and it’s hell come 330pm. as in they park all over the place and don’t give a shit about general traffic, other people getting their kids, people walking across the street etc.

    thank god kayla’s school is within walking distance but even still, i drive HAHA! but i get her after work so it’s not that bad.
    kathy@vodka and soda recently posted…confessions of a fitness freak [11-12]My Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      No, they really don’t care. Many parents act, especially in the mornings, like they’re the only ones trying to get their kids to school on time. Makes me angry.

      Four schools in one area is ridiculous. Erica’s school is on a campus and right now, it’s just the elementary school and the pre-K/kindergarten center. I’m 100% sure it’ll get worse when the middle school is finally built.

  5. Tonya@Budget and the Beach

    lol that sounds like me driving on the california freeways. Lots and lots and lots of time to just think and zone out. Not going anywhere… What’s up with those stick figure families on cars anyway?
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…A SERIOUS In Depth Interview with…um, MyselfMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I’ve seen stick figure zombie families. Those are fun.

      Open space driving, for long stretches, is when I get some of my best productive thinking done.

  6. Kerry

    OMG this is hilarious! I always took the bus as a kid so there wasn’t a crazy line thing either. I would go nuts!! Work on the bus thing girl, save your sanity.
    Kerry recently posted…What I Have Been ReadingMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I have been working the bus angle. She’s stubborn. And she cries. Which makes me feel so guilty.

  7. Revanche

    I’ve met door lickers and it’s hilarious and weird. You can get them to “wash” the whole window that way if it’s not your car and you’re evil. I mean. So I’ve heard….. 😉

    Our dog used to come to pickups and nap on the dash til he saw us.

    My parents were so bad at pickups and dropoffs because of work after grade 3 that we often were at school by 805 (bell rang at 8) and still at 6 because they’d forgotten us. There was a lot of walking home or to someone’s house after school. That’s one way to avoid the lines 😉
    Revanche recently posted…Pre-parenting raves: (some) people are the bestMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      That is definitely one way to avoid the lines. BUT. My daughter’s school will call and bother you repeatedly if you’re not there within the window they give you. Not that I know from experience…

      1. Revanche

        Really! Wow. My elementary school couldn’t give a damn I guess, I sat out under a tree til super late half the school year!
        Revanche recently posted…Pre-parenting raves: (some) people are the bestMy Profile

  8. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    This is great! I hate hate waiting.

    You should do a monthly update of these because it’s times like these that spawn the best random thoughts. I might do one for waiting on a train and link back to you.
    SMD @ Life According to Steph recently posted…Shit MFD Said Vol. 12My Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I think I’ll do an update about what I think when it’s a rainy day pick-up. And I’d LOVE for you to do one about the train!!

  9. Ashley @ Money Talks

    Ok, well I’m glad it’s not just the parents at my kid’s school. My anxiety is way too out of control for the drop off in the morning. The afternoon I can do, but the morning… no way. I drop off my third grader off around the corner and he walks the rest of the way. I CAN NOT do that morning line… too chaotic.

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I actually prefer the mornings to the afternoons. It’s chaotic but somehow more organized.

  10. Kelli

    I always wondered what the car rider line is line, now I’ll be prepared next year.

    My kid will also talk to anyone (like her dad) and I’m about that sure it scares me too! UGH
    Kelli recently posted…All About The BooksMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      It seems pretty consistent from school to school so have fun! Just bring a book and you’ll survive. Or your camera for really good pictures 🙂

  11. Linda sheridan

    Sean is the only one of my 3 kids that I was able to drive to school ! I loved it! I was so grateful I was either working from home and then not working at all, it was a treat for me to be able to do it!
    So enjoy!
    Love, SMD’s Momma

  12. Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout

    Didn’t get all the way through your post, but OMG THANK YOU for some reason it reminded me I was supposed to go read at my son’s school today. In 20 minutes!!! Whew!
    Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout recently posted…Reading while Driving #bookchatMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      Happy to help when I can!

  13. lisacng @ expandng.com

    Love the stream of consciousness! I’d totally have all these thoughts too, especially regarding the slow speed of the line. You have to sign your kid out to pick them up? Or did I read that wrong. Prolly a good idea with this day and age but definitely not like it was when we were kids!
    lisacng @ expandng.com recently posted…Tweetviews – book reviews in 140 charactersMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      Yes, we do have to physically sign them out and if the teachers don’t recognize you or if you don’t have your car sign, you have to show ID. It’s a pain the ass but it’s definitely better for the kids’ safety.

  14. Nadine

    OMG I am dying!!! And I about lost it when I got down to the part with the dog compulsively licking the windows! If Mac sat in a crowded line like that, he would go into heart failure by barking at everyone. No one lives on Mac’s planet and gets away with it! NO ONE!

    Also, these would be my thoughts. And I would totally take pictures of funny car stickers…or make fun of the stick figures or the caddy moms.
    Nadine recently posted…Things I MissMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      So I definitely did take a picture of one of the stickers. #noshame

      Barkley usually hates anything with wheels but for some reason, when he’s IN the car, he’s fine. Both of my dogs have issues.

  15. Krista

    Be happy you are not a teacher and loading the kids in the car line. It’s the most dreaded time of the day for teachers, especially in the rain:)

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I forgot to add what I think when it’s raining! That’s a whole different train of thought! And yes, I feel for you guys when you have to do that. I even offered one teacher my umbrella, I felt so bad.

  16. Amanda

    Oh man. Stick families are THE.ACTUAL.WORST! THAT is how you should feel about them! hahaha
    Amanda recently posted…Give Me All The ThingsMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      Haha! Some are cute. Others make me want to chop off their stick heads.

  17. Natalie

    When I dropped off my oldest at Elem school last year (she’s in middle school and rides the bus this year THANK God!) My thoughts were only ONE thing: “does this fucker think he/she is gonna cut me?? FUCK THAT!!!”

    As you can see, I am not a morning person.
    Natalie recently posted…More Kitchen NeedsMy Profile


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