Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Car-Baby

Guilt.  Guilt.  Guilt. 

Our weekday began as usual, as our caravan of kids (Girlio, Boy-o, and his classmate set off on our half-hour (more in bad traffic) schlep to school.  And, because it's such a hike home, Girlio and I hang out downtown running errands or hitting the library, bookstore or indoor gym before getting back into the cat to get Boy-o and head 'er back home.  But as Girlio and I were stuck in our fourth traffc jam of the day trying to get to the library for fun-time, I was struck by this overwhelming sense of craptastic guilt about how much time this wee small babe of mine will be spending in the car this year.

We had strong, solid reasons for choosing this school, because it was clearly the best choice for Boy-o.  But we hadn't really factored in how much of an impact this choice would have on Girlio, who gets in and out of her car seat an average of 8 times every morning.  (Guilt. Guilt. Guilt). 

I try very hard to make our morning adventures fun.  We try to keep the errand mornings down to only once per week, and focus the rest of the time on things she will also enjoy.  But the fact remains that this wee girl spends too much time in the car.  Way too much time.  (Guilt.  Guilt.  Guilt).

When Boy-o was his sisters age, I spent all of my waking time, feeding, nurturing, playing, and engaging with him.  Sure - we went grocery shopping and ran errands, but he didn't spend four mornings a week in the car.  And now, my joy at watching him simply flourish at our chosen school is tempered by the fact that Girlio is not getting the time, the attention, the engagement she deserves.  (Did I mention that I feel guilty about this yet?)

And yet - our options for changing this routine feel fairly limited.  I don't feel comfortable sending Boy-o to a public school in our area, for reasons I've already spoken to ad nauseum (I do like the beat that particular horse, I know).  We can't in any way, shape or form afford to move closer to our chosen school, though this is clearly an area I covet.  Boy-o can't ride the bus, and even if he could, it would feel like shooting my right foot to save the left one.  Doesn't make sense. 

So what then?  This is the struggle of having two kids, when their needs sometimes feel (and sometimes are) so different.  We continue to do the best that we can, with the resources we have.  I will keep on struggling to make those 8 (and eeek, sometimes more) car transitions worth Girlio's while.   I will keep buying lottery tickets.  I will keep my eyes and ears peeled for better, closer school options. 

And in the meantime, I'll keep feeling guilty.


  1. right with you babe! i routinely look for homes for sale close to the school, but unless we win the lottery, that won't be happening!


  2. It might seem like an odd question given that I have no idea what your opinions on these types of schools are, but have you ever considered a French Immersion school within your area?

    I know it's still public school, but having been through the system (in Manitoba) and comparing it to the education my Alberta raised husband had (who is now an educator within the Manitoba public system even though he did not find his experience as a student in the AB public system to be gratifying AT ALL and is trying to change it for others) it was definitely a "better" system in the sense that it seemed more like a privatized/chartered school. I don't know why that was - smaller numbers?

    Now, granted I realize that my education was in Manitoba where, I believe?, French schools are more prevalent and you are dealing with Alberta (also where my husband grew up) where they are harder to come by so maybe this is not an option.

    I am just more curious than anything to know if you'd considered it.

  3. Any chance you can share driving responsibility with Boy-o's classmate? Even if you only freed up one of the four mornings for Girlio time, it might be worth it for you and Girlio (and your (guilt)).

  4. Nikki - unfortunately my problem with AB public schools is the crazy AB law about talking about sexual orientation (among other things) in the classroom (a note has to be sent home before talkin' about 'the gays'). So French or English, it would have to be a pretty darn special school for us to even consider it.

    CW - unfortunately we take Boy-o's classmate b/c she has to be in class by 8 a.m. every day, but that would be nice if we could trade the car-pool!

  5. Gotcha. That is just crazy. The AB thought process will never cease to amaze me - even after having lived there for over a decade.