Channeling the Beheaded Chicken and the Kindergarten Pick-Up Curse

Monday afternoon. 1 PM.

I transformed into a classic chicken with my head cut off.


My three-year-old fell asleep for a nap.

While napping in itself is not miraculous per say (she does still nap…sometimes) the fact that is it before 1 PM and on a weekday is close to miracle status.

You see, a plague has descended upon this house since August. I call it “The Kindergarten Pick-Up Curse” (though “drop-off” could also work).The hazards of Kindergarten.

Kindergarten releases before 3 PM. My daughter’s normal naptime? 2 or 2:30 PM to 4-5 PM. This means about the time she’s finally ready to sleep, it’s time to leave to pick-up The Tackler.

The school districts here do not believe in buses. Not if you live within two miles of the school, which applies to pretty much every elementary district. The only buses you see are for those kids who must be bussed from other districts (i.e. one elementary school has all of the hearing impaired children).

This leaves any parent with a needing-to-nap toddler at home pretty much SOL.

Car-napping became the norm for a while as we waited in obscenely long drive-thru pick-up lines because the school lacks space to actually park and get your child—unless you arrive insanely early.

This either results in a quick ten-minute power nap and a grouchy Lil Diva, or a passed-out-cold-three-year-old who is then stuck in the car seat because I missed my transfer window (once she falls asleep, I have less than ten minutes to move her to a new location in hopes she will continue the nap without fully waking up).

Thanks to living in Texas, almost every afternoon has required air conditioning.

There’s nothing quite as freaky as the prospect of leaving your car running, in the driveway, with your toddler asleep inside.

It has forced me to get creative.

To keep an eye on her while she napped, I used my iPod to facetime with my iPad—which barely gets signal in my driveway. It created a video monitor so I could both see and hear her during the nap.

It wasn’t ideal—the call would often drop and I’d have to call myself and go out the car and answer it and pray it didn’t wake her up again—but it was the best I could do.

But today… today is not that day.

The rare afternoon nap.

Much better than the car seat… or nothing at all.

Today I had a moment of, “Ohmigod, she’s SLEEPING. At home. And her brother is gone. I have so many things to do I don’t know what to do!” I bounced around the house, staring at the scattered laundry, toy explosions, unorganized office, cluttered kitchen, and my laptop.

Guess which option won?

You have to have priorities after all, and I’ve let blogging lose out far too much.

How do/did you juggle the Kindergarten Pick-Up Curse? Any tips for us newcomers is greatly appreciated.

* * *

*For those of you who are wondering how the Evil Baby Glare-Off turned out, Lil Diva came in second place. It was very close. They traded the lead several times, but ultimately Kadence won with 50.93% of the vote. See? Crazy close. Many thanks to those who voted or helped gather support for her. In other news, Lil Diva had stated her wish to train for another year while she still qualifies in hopes of receiving the coveted Evil Baby Glare-Off Champion title.

About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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6 Responses to Channeling the Beheaded Chicken and the Kindergarten Pick-Up Curse

  1. Annie says:

    I endured the kindergarten pick up curse with my three youngest. It stinks!! I usually just left the house at nap time, let the child fall asleep in the car, and did every conceivable drive thru errand I could until pick up time. Of course I quickly ran out of drive they errands so I got a lot of reading done in the car. The Curse made my days very unproductive!

  2. Katie says:

    This was totally her year — she was robbed!

  3. bocafrau says:

    I can so relate to this. My older towo went to a school so close we walked or biked… They were usually hoe by 2:30 so I put my little one down after we got hoe. Of course, now the kids go to a new school and we don’t leave until 2:30 to get them… Last year was tough, I oftne had a cranky baby on hand. This year so far (fingers crossed) she’s been napping for up to an hour in the car when we go for pick up… and it’s worked out ok.

  4. We have buses. But still. I had to be at the bus stop to pick up the kindergartener. They wouldn’t release him to his older brother; HAD to be an adult. And, it was 4 blocks from my house. I’d have to stand half way btw the stop and the house, so I could see both (because I was afraid it would like catch on fire or something, I don’t know). And then, when the bus appeared, I’d sprint, literally SPRINT, on foot (because somehow it took longer if I drove) to the stop, collect the kid and then race home. I’m sure that year was highly entertaining for my neighbors.

  5. I totally remember this with TechSupport, but not with school. He was not a good transfer-er. If he fell asleep in the car. It. Was. Over. i had to drive around and around for an hour because it I dared to stop the car. He would open his eyes. And believe me, even in kindergaten, that kid still needed ONE HOUR. Or else. I’m glad L’il Diva got her time to rest. And c’mon, how evil can she look when she’s lying there looking all angelic and everything? Come on. 😉

    I want an update on The Tackler.

    You know, when you have time.

  6. meganbestoffates says:

    That is just dreadfully unfortunate timing! And I love the facetime solution – so clever, though tricky!

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