Thursday, September 10, 2015

Zoe vs. the First Day of Kindergarten (Or, How I Burned a Hole in My Stomach with Coffee)

September 9, 2015. Zoe's First Day of Kindergarten---A Timeline, with Coffee
6:40 a.m. -- Zoe wakes us up, half an hour before we need to be since she doesn't have to report to her new school until 9 a.m. I pour her some apple juice then make coffee. She gets dressed immediately, no prodding necessary, then we wait till 8:40 to leave, at which point she says she doesn't want to go. We insist.
Coffee tally: Two (large) cups of coffee.

9:30 a.m. -- While Zoe "attends school" for one hour, the PTA treats the parents to a Big Box o' Joe and some donuts out in the school's garden. It is hot but I am meeting new people, which means I must have a prop, so I pour myself a cup.
Coffee tally: third cup.
10:30 a.m. -- For a special treat on her first, grueling, day of kindergarten we take Zoe to a local cafe for a blueberry muffin, which she managed to enjoy even though the blueberries were, in her words, "too sweet."
Coffee tally: fourth cup, iced this time.
2:30 p.m. -- Zoe and I head to the aftercare so she can meet the staff as well as the kids she'll be spending her afternoons with. One block from our apartment, her mother laden with bags in fulfillment of the supply list, Zoe has to go to the bathroom. I ask her if she can make it to the aftercare, which is only a few blocks away. She says yes. At the next corner, she revises her previous statement. And it's poop. So we take a detour to Starbucks, which is closest and has a relatively clean bathroom.
Coffee tally: still on four, but just as Zoe felt a certain bodily pressure a few minutes before, I am feeling pressure because, as my own mother taught me, it's rude to use the restroom in a place of business without buying something. I decide against a chai, which is what I usually buy in Starbucks, because I'd already been planning to go to my usual cafe after dropping Zoe at the after school---which happens to be around the corner from the cafe---to have a chai and do some work while Zoe got used to the new place so . . .
2:45 p.m. -- We finally exit the bathroom. A line of people are waiting. I apologize. There is now no way I can leave without buying something. Why this something has to be coffee, I don't know, but it's like I can't help myself at this point, or like I'm curious what will happen to me.
Coffee tally: fifth cup, tall blonde roast with half and half.
3:10 p.m. -- We arrive at the aftercare. Zoe does not want me to leave. It is hot and humid and I've been sweating so much under the weight of the school supplies, the hot coffee (again, why?), and the hostile stares of Starbucks' patrons with full bladders that when she grabs on to one of my shorts-clad legs, she slides down to the floor and it's kind of like Flashdance. So I stay for a while, watching her break one freshly sharpened pencil (first day!) after another until we both start laughing. Finally I am dismissed and, not daring to wait one moment longer lest she change her mind, I dash out the door, directly into a thunderstorm. It's okay, my usual cafe is only around the corner, after all. I hurry there and arrive soaked to find it is closed.
Moment outside time -- It is never closed.
3:50 p.m. -- No chai. Or coffee.
3:51 p.m. -- Duck into local bookstore to bide time till storm stops. It is raining hard like it will be a short storm but it is not a short storm. Acid churns in my stomach. I start to feel a similar non-patron-using-bathroom guilt I'd felt in Starbucks and decide to buy something. Luckily they sell my other vice. I see a book I'd been meaning to buy that will soon be a movie. Only problem is the cover of the book is the movie tie-in version and it's got the actor's giant face on it. I'm a book snob. I can't buy a book with a movie tie-in cover, which I suppose is judging-a-book-by-its-cover adjacent. The owner says she has the paperback version with the alternate, original cover. So I buy it.
Coffee tally: still on five, plus a book.
4:25 p.m. -- The rain has slowed so I venture out. Where to next? A few doors down is a bar and next to it an ice cream shop. I could do the bar as wine is motherhood's other beverage of choice, but the idea of drinking on a stomach empty of everything but acid seems like a bad idea. And I don't want to be drunk when I pick up Zoe in less than an hour. Once again, I could choose something else besides alcohol or coffee but I have no imagination. I choose the ice cream shop. I seem to remember they have chai.
4:29 p.m. -- They do not have chai. What they have is ice cream, huge desserts, and coffee. The girl behind the counter suggests the chocolate chip coffee. So I say, sure. Maybe it will be like dessert without buying one of the actual desserts. She makes me the coffee drink and then rings me up saying, "One java chip coffee." It's then I realize she'd said "java chip" before and not "chocolate chip" so I was unwittingly doubling down.
Coffee tally: ridiculous.
5:00 p.m. -- I sloshed my way back to pick up Zoe, who, of course, didn't want to leave, but now I really needed a bathroom. So we got home, where I peed forever and it was mostly French Roast.

Coffee, in the guise of innocence.

(Continuing the school theme, also this week I made my debut on BLUNTmoms with my 10-step guide to surviving Catholic school. Zoe, naturally, is going to public school.)

Zoe: 108; Universe: caffeinated

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

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