Wednesday, August 6, 2008

my version of hell on earth

OK, that may be an exaggeration, but not a huge one. Today I had to go to the high school to register Danny for school. In my town, everyone congregates at the high school to register regardless of what age the kid is. So, basically every single kid in town (besides the ones who are homeschooled or those who go to the Catholic school) registers in the high school cafetorium.

Well, I have been dreading this day for some time. In the past, I have always managed to secure a babysitter for the kids so I could wait in interminably long lines in peace. Unfortunately, all the girls I usually employ are at girls' camp and most of my friends are also there as chaperones. I called a neighbor girl and a boy from church, but to no avail. It looked like I was stuck bringing the kids with me.

As soon as I entered the school this morning, I realized that I had made a grave error in bringing the kids. There were hundreds of people swarming the school and I seriously almost started hyperventilating as I tried to figure out where I needed to go. I was overwhelmed immediately, so you can just imagine how Danny and Charlotte were feeling. Char wanted out of her stroller, but I didn't dare let her for fear of losing her in the throngs.

It didn't go too badly until I had to stand in line where you give personal info and pay activities fees. I stood in that line with the kids for at least 45 minutes. By this point, I felt like I was on the verge of an anxiety attack (or at least what I imagine one to feel like). People were in my face and bumping into me on all sides, my line did not appear to be moving and the kids were mutinying. Danny kept pulling on my hand saying he wanted to leave and Charlotte whined to be released from the stroller. Add to that the fact that I don't feel well today and you can just imagine how I was feeling. It was finally my turn to sit and fill out personal info and the woman informed me that I couldn't do it because they hadn't given me a pink slip at the last station.

I seriously almost went postal on the lady. Instead of bringing on aggravated assault charges, though, I just left. I know that doesn't sound all that mature, but I just couldn't handle any more. I got to the car with the kids and totally and completely LOST it. I cried the entire way home. I am sure it is partly hormonal, but most of it is just me and my inability to handle life sometimes. Often I feel like I have such a tenuous grasp on my patience and sanity and situations like these, which are so trying for most kids, let alone those with sensory issues, are almost unendurable for me. I know that sounds melodramatic, but that is how I felt today. I was also reminded of where Danny gets many of his sensory issues: directly from me. I cannot stand large crowds; they make me jittery and nervous and my strongest instinct is to get out as fast as possible. Also, noise drives me crazy, so I feel like I was dealing with my own SPD while also trying to help Danny with his. It didn't go well, obviously.

When I got home and calmed down, I said a prayer, which ended up being more like a rant that went something like, "Why can't You help me?!?!?!?! Why do You give me situations like this to deal with when You know I can't handle it?" etc. Finally, I quit yelling at God and decided to try one more time to get a babysitter. It occurred to me that Collin, a boy from church who lives down the block, might be available. He isn't quite 12 yet, but will be in a month or so and I figured the kids would be safer with him than with me in that cafetorium. So, I am going back to the school at 3 to register Danny. I think the crowds may have thinned by then, since registration ends at 4 today, and if not, it will still be so much easier without the kids. Wish me luck!


Amy Jane said...

Oh, Patty! I so feel your pain. That sounds like a completely awful situation, and I think your reaction is totally understandable. I would have felt the same way, too. Right now, it's 3:08, so I hope that you're successfully registering Danny as I type this. You poor thing. You need a good footrub and a soak in the tub! Let me know how it all turns out...

beckbot said...

duuuuuude. I have been in that crazy throng, and believe me, you are not alone in your dread and eventual mini-breakdown at kindergarten registration. I did the last one without kids (thanks to Q's preschool) but the other kids there were losing it. I kept thinking, "We're in a freaking school here. Could a teacher or aide recognize that we've got about 20 bored children, running around while their harried mothers attempt to navigate the nonsensical registration system?" Finally someone produced crayons and paper. Not related really, but I remember a visit to the doctor where I had to take my kids for some reason, and after about 50 minutes in a tiny room without enough toys and snacks, I walked out and, yes, cried all the way home. The doctor's office called and I lied and told them I was getting a migraine and had to leave RIGHT THEN. I'm getting much better at knowing my limits and planning accordingly. For instance, I rarely attempt a trip to Wal-mart with the kids for any reason. I hate Walmart anyway, but with kids it is a total nightmare. Now I know that I just really have to avoid it altogether. It sucks that you really tried to plan and get a babysitter and found yourself in such a stressful situation. Thank goodness you attempted it early in the day so you could try again. Hope it went much better this time.

Elizabeth Channel said...

I'm instantly drawn to anyone who uses the word "cafetorium"!

This was my exact experience exactly one year ago when I registered my own Edward (6, SPD) for Kindergarten.

Let me just say: you are not alone!

Elizabeth Channel said...

OK, I just tagged you for a meme!

See my site for details!

Have fun!