Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"Meet the Teacher" (and about 1,000 strangers) Day

The kids and I had a great summer. So great, in fact, that I really was not ready for summer to end and school to resume. Unfortunately, no one asked me what I wanted and time moves right along whether you are ready or not. Parents?!? Amirite?!?

Last week was "Meet the Teacher" day. For the prior two weeks, the kids and I slept later, lounged around the house, and basically just sort of hung out. It was blissful. Once school resumes our schedules get a little crazy. So on 'Meet the Teacher' day, we had a full day planned (well, full day compared to what we had been doing...which was only what we had to do or really, really wanted to do). This was the plan...get up, head to Target, drop by Chuck E Cheese (we found a bunch of tokens and tickets while cleaning up this summer and I told the kids I'd take them before school started), then head to "Meet the Teacher".

The kids are in different schools this year. Tucker's school was open from 1-3 and Sara's from 2-4. The schools are really close to each other, so getting from point A to point B was going to be quick and easy - other than parking, road construction, and traffic.

I had a plan! Everything was awesome!

And then Target was really busy. And then Chuck E Cheese was much busier than normal.

Now would be a great time to revisit that I have not been particularly social since moving here. I have my reasons. So whenever I go from not being around a lot of people to being around a lot of people, I *might* have a bit of difficulty adjusting from time to time.

Most people have a standard 'personal space' bubble. My personal space bubble is at least twice the size of anyone else. Maybe that's because I'm larger myself or maybe it's just a personal preference. I know that since having kids, who rarely respect the personal space bubble, the bubble seems to be getting larger in response. Make of that what you will. ::shrugs::

Yep, this is pretty close
Also, I'm pretty sure I have some sort of weird sweating disorder going on with my head. I won't even feel hot and my head will be all sweaty. I'd say that is also a weight related issue, except that it's always happened. I just used to have a lot of hair to soak it up. Now, it's short and thinning, so not so much. It's also really embarrassing, which makes me anxious, which makes me sweat even more. It's like sweaty palms, only it's my head instead. It pretty much sucks.

Personal issues and preferences aside, we parked nearby and walked to T's school. Even though we arrived right at 1:00, the school was already crowded. We weaved our way through the insane crowd of people in the vestibule and headed up the the stairs to T's classroom.

His class was FULL. Students, parents, grandparents, siblings...tons of people were packed into that class, which was already pretty full with bookshelves and books, desks and chairs, various learning stations, tons of animals (gerbils, boa constrictors, birds, bearded dragons, was pretty amazing), and student cubbys. 

Each desk already had a student name assigned with various paperwork for the parent to fill out and an information packet about the teacher and the class. Right beside T's seat was a lady accepting payments for the $5 needed to issue each student a student planner. We headed over to check out his desk, pick up the paperwork, scope out his neighbors, and pay for his student planner. Naturally, there were already people there who were in the process of paying for their own student planner. One lady had her purse and phone on T's desk. She was also speaking with his teacher. So, I waited. I tried to wait unobtrusively and patiently. Right behind T's desk were some of the class animals - two glass aquariums containing lizard-like animals (Chameleons? Geckos? Salamanders?) so that area was a draw for lots of the kids who were ooh-ing and ahh-ing. Right behind the kids followed the siblings and parents and grandparents and neighbors and apparently anyone that ever liked animals. Okay, fine. That was an over-exaggeration, but that's how it seemed.

Fast forward about 7 minutes and the conversation is still going on with teacher and the same lady, with several parents, students, former students (not an exaggeration) waiting for that conversation to finish. In addition to pocketbook and phone, now the lady's butt cheek, and part of her paperwork had been added to T's desk where I had managed to squeeze into the seat only allowing myself enough space for shallow breaths so that anyone who was interested might be able to pass behind the chair to see the lizard-like animals. And yes, I was sweating. And starting to feel mighty anxious. I flipped through the paperwork as quickly as possible, only filling out the bare minimum using about a postage stamp sized area of T's desk, since the rest was taken with a Vera Bradley purse, iPhone, and butt cheek. I managed to pay for the student planner, have a nice, fast conversation with the lady taking payments for the student planners, and remove myself from the building crowd in that area without injuring myself or anyone else.


Only not so much, because by that point, there wasn't a single place in the classroom that wasn't over crowded. And when I say over crowded, it looked a lot like this:

I started to hustle the kids towards the door of the classroom, eager to get out of there and get a lungful of air more than 3 inches away from another person when I heard T's teacher announce that he wanted to meet each student before they left.


So for the next 20 minutes, we waited and I tried to stay out of the way. Only there wasn't anywhere to stay out of the way. I seriously considered trying to cram myself into T's cubby, but let's be real. No way would that have worked. And, if I had gotten in, I'd probably still be there.

Finally it was our turn to actually "Meet the Teacher". So we met, he took a picture (where I'm sure I looked a lot like a deer in, no..a sweaty deer in headlights) and I shooed the kids out the door through a crowd of people that reminded me of rush hour in New York City.

Along the way, I really tried to smile and seem friendly to everyone I made eye contact with. I'm sure it totally worked. ::snort::

And then it was time to go to S's new class. We were still about 15 minutes early and there were tons of people waiting around to get into the school, so the scene we entered looked exactly like the scene we left.


Finally, the doors were opened and we went into the building. It was hot outside, so now I was legitimately sweating on top of all the other sweating. We found S's classroom and were the first family in there.


We met her teacher and the kids wandered around the classroom while I flipped through the paperwork and asked a couple of questions. I sat down at S's desk to fill out her paperwork and when I looked up, the room was full. For some reason, sitting in the middle of a crowd of people wasn't bothering me, so I just sat and continued to fill out paperwork. One of Sara's friends from last year is in her class this year and is actually sitting right beside her. So I chatted with M's mom and the mom of the girl who is sitting across from S. Yay! I'm being social. Go me! Then the mom of the girl who sits on the other side of S walked up, took one look at the three moms already sitting, snagged the paperwork packet, and walked off.

Guys, she was sweaty and panicked-looking too! I wanted to hug her and tell her she wasn't alone! I understand! We are united in our dislike of stranger-crowded spaces! She has a friend in me!

But then I realized...personal space. And I just gave her a nod and a smile.

She totally got it.

And then she got the heck outta Dodge! 

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