Resilience wears a helmet

Yesterday I could not post, for lo, I was busy SEETHING. And also shaking my fist at the sky. And ranting on Facebook about the seething and the fist-shaking.

And also eating a bagel. And later, baking cookies. (Rage requires extra carbs!)

Remember this little issue where my school district is spending a bazillion dollars on buses and the solution to that problem is to redo the school zones immediately, resulting in 60% of our kids being forced to switch schools next year?

Yeah, well, they voted on their crack-addled proposal and it passed. Unanimously. Because it will save tons of money, which is obviously a good thing. But what will happen to our schools—especially in the short term—well, who cares about that, right?

It’s surprising I didn’t fill the house with baked goods, actually.

Anyhoo, we had been assured there would be some amendments to the plan; we had been assured the vote was being postponed a month for “further consideration.” Neither of those things turned out to be true, and while I guess I knew deep in my cynical heart that this would be the eventual outcome, I had foolishly believed some of those other promises, and so I was Not Very Happy yesterday when I woke up and the newspaper was all HAHAHA YOUR KIDS ARE SCREWED.

And actually, only one of my kids is screwed. Chickadee is headed to middle school next year, so only Monkey will be directly affected by the change. He will have to change schools.

Thank goodness it’s not like we put a ton of time and energy into selecting his current school! And that it’s not as though the poor kid has already switched schools a couple of times before this! Oh, wait….

(Mmmmm… bagels and cookies. Delicious, carby, denial-rich chewy goodness.)

Now just to be clear (again): There’s nothing wrong with the school he’ll have to go to. The world is not ending. I’m sure it will all be fine. But we picked the current school for some very specific reasons, and even if we hadn’t, change is hard. Change is particularly hard for Monkey, who would be perfectly happy if every single day he was allowed to get up and put on the same clothes he wore the day before, so that he could go do all the same things he did the previous day, in exactly the same order.

This morning over pancakes, we broached the subject. And we made sure to couch it in the most positive way possible:

“So, Monkey, it looks like you’re going to be switching to NewSchool next year after all. But so is TheZ! So you’ll be with him, there!”

“Yay! What about Franklin?”

“Um, well, he’ll still be at OldSchool. Sorry, buddy. But we’ll make sure to have playdates and stuff! And remember all the times we had people come over to swim this summer? We’ll do that a bunch next summer, too.”

“I would really miss Franklin if we weren’t at the same school anymore.”

Otto and I looked at each other. I certainly wasn’t going to bring up all his beloved teachers that he’s going to miss, or all the OTHER kids he knows, or the fact that this will be his third school in four years.

“Well,” I said, trying to sound cheerful, “the good news is that you can WALK to NewSchool, so you won’t have to ride the bus anymore!” That had to be a selling point; a couple of weeks ago there was a string of incompetent substitute bus drivers, one day resulting in a Very Stern Phone Call to the bus garage before the children arrived home an hour late and slightly hysterical.

“Hey,” added Otto, “we could get you a lock and you could actually ride your bike, if you wanted.”

Monkey’s eyes lit up. “I could ride my bike to school?” We nodded. “I’m going to LOVE NewSchool!”

Okay, then. I guess I was worried for nothing. I mean, I’m sure the joy of bike-riding will complete outweigh everything else. Right? Right.


  1. Karen

    Yes! Yes, it will be fine. Have another cookie.

  2. Half Assed Kitchen

    Oh, that is infuriating. I hope Monkey and his other friend end up in the same class at least.

    Try some cinnamon rolls. They’ll put you in such a carby coma you won’t have the energy for anger.

  3. Heather

    Major bonus points to Otto for thinking of the bus!! :D
    I hope it all works out okay Mir! I’m sure it will.

  4. Barbara

    Not only the joy – but ALL THE OTHER GOOD BENEFITS of bike-riding. How about you plan to ride with him the first week? (in you pjs? chkl.)

    Looks like Monkey’s desire for sameness is genetically-predisposed. chkl again.

    You are such a good momma. And look what that bad news gave you – cookies! A silver lining everywhere. chklx3

  5. The Other Leanne

    It is time for Mir to get elected to the school board.
    Cookies for everyone! is a great campaign slogan.

  6. Heather

    The pain of redistricting. We’re feeling it up in North Atlanta as well. My daughter is being switched to a school that is twice as far (4 miles v 2 miles). She could walk to her old school! Her new school is along a big scary highway!


  7. Ladanea

    By next year he will be so comfortable with the entire idea of NewSchool that he won’t even realize it’s a change. Except the bike riding part, which will be total awesomeness.

    I second the whole school board idea!

  8. Susan

    My Monkey-similar son will also be changing schools again next year – 3 schools in three years. We moved over the summer and found ourselves pressured to choose a school because of timing. THEN we bought our house. So, we’re changing schools so we can go to the one we pass by everyday to go to the other. My kids are also sad about friends, but my boy was also an easier sell when we mentioned bike riding.

  9. Headless Mom

    Hey, whatever makes the transition easier. Bikes! Whoo hoo!

    School districts sometimes suck.

  10. loonytick

    He’ll be ok, you’ll be ok, the new school will be ok.

  11. Kath

    Baking off the rage. I love it!

  12. jennielynn

    Schools busses and their drivers and the policies that accompany them suck giant, sweaty donkey balls. Was that in the article? Because it should have been.

  13. Randi

    Mir, you make me remember why I love living in the very, very small town I live in.

    Monkey will be great – it’s middle school with Chickadee you have to worry about!

  14. Melanie

    I know it’s hard for Monkey, but I went to 12 different schools before graduating high school (in 5 different states) and I turned out mostly okay. And, we rarely moved so I started at the beginning of the year – it was always March or April. I would have loved to have the chance to start at the beginning of the year vs. the tail end. (My Dad worked for the govt, lots of moves required)

  15. kd@abitsquirrelly

    Our school is implementing a new Children’s Center where the kindergarten students will go to make the transition to grade school easier for them. Instead of waiting to start this next year they are switching the students HALF WAY through the school year. My child is in that group. I am making cookies.

  16. Traci

    In our city, enrollment is down so in 2009 they are closing one of the elementary schools (where my son attends, of course). Up through this year there was a separate school for 5th & 6th graders, but because of our K-4 school closing they are changing all the elementary schools to K – 5 and sending 6th to middle school. Makes sense.
    Everyone assumed the displaced students from the closing school would just be sent to the former 5th/6th grade location. (Where they would still be together with old friends.)
    our city also suddenly saw the “wisdom” of neighborhood schools. (bus gas prices had a lot to do with this)
    So… not only will all of the students at my son’s school (and the 5th/6th grade) have to attend a new school next year, so will 25-50% of the students at the other elementary schools as everyone is re-distributed.

    As of now we don’t have ANY idea which of the schools will be our neighborhood school.

    Thanks for helping me realize why I have been wanting to bake cookies all day…

  17. Catherine

    We’ve experienced the same thing in eastern NC. My Special One loves walking to school and/or riding her bike to school. Bonus points given that she can either walk/bike to Dad’s office at the local University after school–just two blocks away. This is especially good b/c we just lost our babysitter to her M.A. in Speech Pathology. Education always bites you on the butt.

    So the point is…it will be fine. Neighborhood schools are great. Parental involvement is key, and that, I am sure, WILL HAPPEN.


  18. exile on mom street

    Wow. SUCKY!

    But Bagels, mmmm. And Cookies, mmmm.

    What were we discussing?

  19. Megan

    Carbs work on suckitude? Excellent. I will bring bagels to work on Monday. Heck, I’ll be the damn bagel fairy because the folks I work with really, really need something in a big way. Lucky thing the bagel shop sells in baker’s dozens!

  20. Lori N

    May I suggest Peppermint Bark? Simple & satisfying to make.

    First get a bunch of candy canes, unwrap them & stick them in a ziplock bag. Take a hammer or meat tenderizer & beat the living daylights out of them (this is the satisfying part of the recipe).

    Open a bag of dark chocolate chips, eat a few, then spread the rest out on a cookie sheet that has been lined with wax paper. Place in warm oven until chips are soft & gooey. Spread with a spatula & sprinkle with the pulverized candy cane bits. Stick the whole thing in the frig until it hardens (don’t even think about getting a spoon & sampling – that way is madness!)

    Break apart & eat. Or stick in little boxes & give to neighbors – whatever floats your boat. :)

    I’ve made this for years & people love it. You can also layer on white chocolate if you want, but why make it complicated! (Oh, and the peppermint bark works great as the chocolate bit in s’mores.)

    Ok, done now. Carbs calling…must…re..sist…

  21. Lylah

    Joy always outweighs everything else. That’s why it’s joy!

  22. Mom on the Run

    I think it is funny how kids can one minute be doom and gloom and then sweetness and light. My daughter can go from zero to 60s in her emotions…she is 12, but has been this way since she was a baby.

    On the changing schools. I changed schools in K, 2, 4, 5, 6. Not fun. Oh and did I mention that I switched countries as well. I attended schools in the U.K. and the U.S. Switching schools midyear was absolutely awful. The final change should have occured in 11th…I refused to go to school in Italy preferring to stay at my school in England. I would never do the moving around that my parents did…madness.

  23. sheila

    That sucks that these kids make good friends and then have to make so many adjustments. I know many would say ‘get used to it, that’s life’…yadda yadda, but kids don’t understand that when they’re so young.

    Now in my area, when they ‘slash budgets’…they just push back the busing routes…so instead of getting the bus if your within 2 miles…you get it now within 2 1/2 and eveyone closer finds their own means.

    Which is horrible for the walkers in windchills of 5 degrees and icy walkways. But that’s okay, they’re saving money.
    Arghhhh….gotta cookie? Fudge?

  24. margie

    walking to school is the best thing. my youngest was the only one who could walk and i always found that by the time he and his buds had ambled home he had a different take on the world. and as for the weather, boys don’t get cold. ever. wait until he’s a teenager and can go half the winter wearing just a hoodie! AND WE LIVE IN OTTAWA. coldest capital in the world.

  25. amy

    I also hate to deal with change especially change when it comes to something huge like SCHOOLS and especially when you are a parent who has made very careful decisions re: such schools (I am probably the proverbial helicopter parent). But I have to say that kids are so amazing and resilient. They constantly are able to adapt and be happy with cool things like “hey riding a bike to school!” I am glad to know that at least Chickadee will be off to a new school anyway and that changing Monkey will at least entail his being very close. I will say one thing about neighborhood schools – they really do rock when it comes to the whole convenience thing. I mean it really is more than just “convenience”. It turns into more friends, easier friendships, fewer parental interventions needed and it just snowballs from there…

  26. Chuck

    It sucks he has to change schools, but the walking/riding a bike to school is some consolation, I suppose. It seems like hardly any kids walk to school anymore. A friend of mine from my childhood days says he recently drove his kids by our old neighborhood and they were amazed how far we had to walk to school growing up. And middle school was even farther (a little TOO far, if you ask me…I think we deserved bus service for that one.) Still, I understand it’s important to keep your kids safe…and I’m glad you’re in a safe enough area that Monkey can go to school by himself. Also, bike helmets are a damn good idea. We never even heard of bike helmets, growing up.

  27. Katie in MA

    When the bike ride gets old, pack him some cookies! :)

  28. Keyona

    Cookies make everything better. He will be fine. Kids adjust easier than parents. Lael wishes she could bike to school but not here in DC! :o)

  29. Karen

    When my children were growing up and I was a single mother, I moved 17 times in 5 years. My kids had to change schools every time. I hated doing that to them, but it was entirely necessary for me to do. When I bought a house, I told them that they would never have to change schools again. And the very first year we lived there, the school board redrew the lines and they had to change schools. There was much crying and gnashing of teeth in the Fab household, but they survived the change. And two of them graduated in the top 5% of their high school class and were awarded scholarships to college.

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