So I had my first mommy/college excursion yesterday. It was an adventure to say the least. That is, if your adventures typically include peanut butter, Cheerios, poopy diapers, and wanting to cry a little. No? Just me? So, school started yesterday and I am taking 3 online classes and chemistry (on campus). I have been out of school for many years, I have never taken an online class, and the last laptop I owned weighed a good 35 pounds, so when I saw a recommended orientation for students new to online learning, I thought it was probably a good idea to attend.
Alas, I had no babysitter available. I thought that since it is a community college, that I couldn’t possibly be the only mom with small children in attendance. So I get the kids up early from nap (never a good idea) and pack my back pack. Just a then/now comparison. When I originally attended college I did not need to pack diapers or extra shorts and undies (for the toddler, not me – I’m not quite to that age yet). I did however have the occasional peanut butter sandwich in my bag, so not everything has changed. I arrive at the school, and head over to the metered parking that I actually remembered to bring change for. Yay me! I wrestled the double stroller out of the trunk, wrote down my license plate number (we’ll get to that later), plugged the meter, strapped my kids into the stroller, and grabbed about 30 pounds worth of our stuff. Five sweaty minutes after arriving we were set to go.
Our first stop was the cashier’s office. The only problem with this is that the very long line for the cashier’s office goes straight down a flight of stairs to the cashier. There was an elevator that I could have used, and it would have put me on the right floor, but nowhere near the line. Since I didn’t want to wait forever or risk being called a cheating line cutter on my very first day of school, I did the incredibly bright thing by taking by behemoth stroller through the line, and down the stairs. You already see where this is going don’t you? I didn’t. It seemed like a great idea until I was about two stairs into it. I did however keep my children safe while getting an awesome core workout by holding the stroller in place. The sweet teenage girl in front of me finally noticed what a rough time I was having so she helped me down the last few steps. So we finally reached the bottom of the stairs, and waited awhile longer to get to the cashier. When it was my turn to see a cashier, I approached the window, and very politely asked to purchase a parking pass, and to pick up my financial aid check, please. She very impatiently responded “I need your ID.” I handed her my driver’s license which I had already gotten out in anticipation of this. She picked it up and announced, “This IS NOT an ID card!” I, assuming she was talking about a student ID, explained that this was my 1st quarter so I hadn’t gotten one yet. We got that sorted out, she retrieved my check, and proceeded to wow me with her customer service savvy by asking, “Did you want something else?” I told her (again) that I would like to purchase a parking pass, please. She responded with a rather snarky “Well you need $20 and your license plate number! Do you even have that?” A quick fact to mention that while I was in line I saw no less than 30 signs reminding me that parking passes are $20 and you are required to have your license plate number. This cashier’s attitude was off-putting, but she had honestly probably had to deal with a whole lot of stupid, all day. However, if you can’t handle people who don’t always pay attention, maybe avoid a career that involves a lot of interaction with young people (like a college cashier).
When we were trying to leave, a kind young boy directed me to the elevator. He also called me ma’am, but he was so nice, I was willing to let it slide. We then went to the library to find the online orientation. It took 4 (seriously 4!) elevators to arrive at the meeting room. It’s times like these I’m glad that I’m not confined to a wheelchair, and that my handicap can usually be left at home with my husband. So we arrive at the meeting room, where the facilitator was clearly not pleased to see small children, and assigned me to the far corner of the room, by myself, miles away from where all of the other students were sitting. It was obviously the corner for the undesirables. She made the girl who showed up late sit next to me too. I’m not sure if we were both in the quarantine corner for our “behavior” or if she was somehow punishing the late girl by making her sit next to the lady with two small children. Anyway, I learned nothing at the orientation. I silently cursed my husband the whole time for recommending that I go. About 20 minutes in my children were getting bored and restless, so I broke out the snacks: a ziplock with Cheerios and the aforementioned peanut butter sandwich for Logan, and just Cheerios for Liam. When Liam saw the Cheerios he started making his happy grunts because he LOVES food. At this point the facilitator glares at me again and says, “I hope you can keep that under control.” I give an umcomfotable smile and try to will my children to be more quiet.Inside I am raging. Sure, at home I tell my husband to “control those stinkers!” when I’m trying to get something done, but that’s my spousal and parental right. I grew these babies from scratch. I’ll be annoyed if I want to! As the orientation goes on Logan decides to be a good big brother and offer Liam a giant chunk of his sandwich. Since it is silent, I cannot rectify the situation because Liam will cry if I take his awesome food score away, and Logan will want to get in on the noise action. I just silently pray that Liam doesn’t choke or have some sort of horrible peanut allergy. As the orientation wears on, Liam takes to smearing that peanut butter from the sandwich all over his legs like he is smearing on a thick coat of self-tanner. Finally the meeting is over, I pick up all the Cheerios that got dropped, on my hands and knees, and leave the room with no grace or dignity left. As I’m leaving the facilitator says “I guess there is a reason you’re doing online classes.” I have no idea whether to take this as a peace-offering or another jab.
I take the 4 elevator rides back downstairs, and find the room to get a student ID. The gal says that they have my old one on file (with a picture taken 8 years ago), so she’ll just print that again if it’s okay with me. Ab-so-lutely! The highlight of my day was getting a college ID with a picture of the 18-year-old version of me who had time to do her hair and put on make-up, and hadn’t ruined her body birthing 2 kids. She’s still pretty cute (and I’m not going to be the one to tell her what the future hold’s for her appearance). As my ID is printing, I look down and Liam is sucking the peanut butter off of his foot. And when I thought that it couldn’t get any better, I notice that Logan has decided to copy his brother, and is sucking his foot as well. An infant sucking his toes, acceptable. A 3-year-old doing it, a little creepy.
Well at the very least, if I ever take my kids on campus with me again (which at this point is very unlikely), I’ll know that we can all make new friends by offering to share our new snack, peanut butter feet.