Mom’s taxi

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There are so many joys to being a parent, but driving children to their respective schools in morning peak hour traffic is definitely not one of them. While all those parenting books I read extolled advice on the importance of tummy time and singing to my unborn baby, they did nothing to warn me about the perils of navigating school traffic with two pint-sized passengers screaming blue murder.
 
The pandemonium actually starts before I even leave the driveway. No matter how much warning I give, Conor, aged 5, somehow always manages to remember at the very last minute that he absolutely has to take something to class with the same letter as “Annie Apple” and no, an apple won’t do. It has to be the toy ambulance he last played with four weeks ago. Mindful of the ticking clock, a frenzied search for said toy ensues. Finally, with plastic ambulance in hand we head out again. As we pull into the traffic, Conor whines that the sun is burning him. It’s 7am, for goodness sake. I decide to feign deafness. Then he asks if it’s weekend. I say no, it’s Tuesday and we are going to school. A wail erupts from the back. “But why? I don’t want to go to school. Why is it Tuesday?”. Resisting the urge to launch into a lecture about the history of the Gregorian calendar, I keep my tone calm and say again that it’s Tuesday because we have already had Monday. Silence. I turn up the radio. Suddenly another shout from the back. “Mom, I’m born.” Er… yes? Clearly my son is going to be one of those people who think he needs to state the obvious. He pipes up again. “Mo-o-o-m, I’m born.” Erin leans forward and whispers: “Mom, he means he’s bored.” Aaaah, now I understand. Again, I have to work hard at not turning around to say: “You know what, I am ‘born’ too. I would much rather be drinking a Chai latte at a beach-front café, but here I am taking 35 minutes to drive you two blocks to school.” Instead, I suggest a game of “I spy”. All goes well, until Erin gets too many right answers and Conor declares that the game is “stupid”. Thankfully, the traffic is starting to move again and the school is in sight.
 
I hear muffled voices from the back and glance in the rearview mirror just as Erin punches Conor hard on his arm. On cue, Conor starts to bawl. I threaten to drop them both at the next set of traffic lights. And then, a popular song comes on the radio. Erin starts singing first. I turn the music up and Conor soon joins in. Eventually we are all belting out the lyrics as if we have nary a care in the world. We pull up to Erin’s school and wave her goodbye. “One down, one to go,” I think. But then Conor slips his hand into mine and says: “Mom, please can I drive with you to school tomorrow again.” Truth be told, as much as I dread the early morning histrionics, I would not give up this time with my two reluctant passengers for anything. Well, maybe that Chai latte…
 
Anél is looking into getting custom-made earplugs for those mornings when not even car karaoke can diffuse the battles playing out in the back seat.

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