Monday, November 23, 2009

Lest you think there is news

There isn't. Still here. Getting increasingly cranky. My mood was not helped this afternoon by what I at first thought was the accidental disembarkation of one of Barak's classmates at his bus stop this afternoon. I didn't recognize him and thought he was friends with one of the other kids. Then I thought he'd gotten off at the wrong stop by mistake. But he didn't seem at all upset. One of the other mothers and I looked at him, then at each other. "They look pretty happy," she commented.

Then I realized that he was clearly friends with my kid and thought he was coming home with us. Um. What? I found out his name, borrowed a school directory from other mother, and called his house, thinking, well, I'll have to leave a message because of course his mother will be at the bus stop waiting for him. Nope--she was there, which struck me as a little strange, but maybe she's got an older sibling waiting for him at the stop.

I told her that her son had gotten off at the wrong stop and that I was going to bring him to our house, because they lived four blocks away and I was not going to stand there for as long as it would take her to walk/drive four blocks. I sort of had in mind that she'd arrive to get him at about the time it would take us to get inside. I know that if Barak had missed his stop and a mother had called me from the next stop down the line to say she had my kid, I would have been there as fast as I could get there. Normal response. Right?


She said, "My husband will come get him but it'll be a few minutes." Okay. A few minutes. His father arrived FORTY MINUTES later, during which period of time I had decided that this kid is NEVER EVER EVER coming over to play. It wasn't that he specifically was doing so much wrong, although he was; it was more that he and Barak together were the worst combination imaginable. Barak was doing stuff that he simply would never think to do on his own, and the other kid was just ignoring me completely and wandering around the house looking for things that interested him. All I wanted to do was what I've wanted to do all day, which was not move a muscle; this was totally impossible when, for example, the two of them were attacking Iyyar with the top of a very large Rubbermaid bin such that Iyyar was literally screaming in fear. At that point I exiled other child to living room, told Barak to stay in his room, and brought Iyyar into the kitchen; not a minute later said child merrily returned to Barak's room for the making of further terror. It had at this point been half an hour and I called his house again. "I was just wondering if you're having trouble finding the house..." "Oh, my husband just left. He should be there in a few minutes." Um, okay. I'll just leave them alone while they throw toys and scream about poop. Until you get here. Gotcha.

I mean, I could have just left him at the bus stop and not taken responsibility. But that would've been, you know, irresponsible.

His father did turn up about ten minutes later and I said, in what I hope was not too tight-lipped a manner, that I didn't think he had gotten off by accident and that I had spoken to Barak about it and perhaps he should discuss with his son the importance of only getting off where he was supposed to. He said OK. Not sure what happened there, if anything. He did not give his son any indication, at least that I perceived, that he had done anything that was in any way problematic. "Come on tzadikl, let's go. It's time to leave."


To totally give benefit of the doubt: maybe the mother could not leave the house for whatever reason. Maybe she had to call husband, who had the only car, home from work to come get him. Or something along those lines. Still--they only live four blocks away. Okay, technically six, because they're two short blocks over, but the short blocks around here are very very short. We're talking a 10-minute walk at the outside. And even if she could not possible have managed to leave the house for whatever reason--oh, maybe she's nine months pregnant and having really strong contractions and can't walk without leaning on a stroller and has two younger kids she'd have to shlep along and... oh wait. Hold on. That's me.

Oh, never mind. Barak was clearly not blameless here either.

I think I'll go have some ice cream.


LC said...

One other side of giving the benefit of the doubt - maybe he's another kid entirely at home.

Or maybe the fact that you volunteered to bring him to your house instead of explicitly telling her that someone needed to come NOW because you were in no way up for hosting a playdate made it sound OK to not come quite so quick?

Maybe said child had told his mom he and Barak had planned a playdate and she was silly enough to take his word for it and not call first?

But yeah - I'm with you. Not something to want to repeat. Ever.

SuperM said...

Oh my. Just what you needed.

Mr. Personality's best friend tries to pull the equivalent all the time -- he announces that he's not going home on the bus because he's coming home with Mr. Personality. Fortunately, they are both wise to him and very careful about such things as buses (some kids at our day school come from an hour plus away), and I think he's only managed to pull it off once. Also fortunately, he lives a mere 2 blocks from the school and I always have extra carseats and space, so I just ran him home.

The funny thing is that the next kid down in the family has started doing the same thing to come play with 'Parkle Girl, and usually on a Friday, which could be a very bad thing given how very early Shabbat is this time of year.

I'm glad you survived the experience, and, um, knowing who not to invite over is a useful thing too.

miriamp said...

Maybe a younger sibling was throwing up repeatedly, or had a high fever, or...

There are lots of possible valid reasons why she couldn't leave the house herself, but somehow she obviously got the idea that you were perfectly willing to have him over in the meantime, however long that turned out to be.

And maybe the father was saving any lectures for not in front of "strangers" so as not to embarrass the boy?

There, now I'm done playing devils' advocate, and I can commiserate -- ouch and annoying, and how very responsible of you. Unfortunately, I suspect grumbling at the parents would get you nowhere. Hope you at least enjoyed your ice cream!