Moving Meltdowns: The “M” Series

Cycle 1:

Moving, Middle School, Militant, Moody, Morose, Morbid, Mournful, Mopey

Rinse with Tears

Cycle 2:

Magic, Magnificent, Mature, Memorable, Monumental, Metamorphosis

Repeat

Offspring #2 is a chip off the Spousal block. I incubated and gave her a feature readily identified with the Canadian branch of the family but the rest was donated by “y”. Initially, like the rest of the family, she was excited. The euphoria began to fade as she started to further analyze the situation. Her Venn diagram had the most overlap at Middle School. With the analysis concluded and no definable action plan in place, the only tactic available was worry. She got started immediately.

At first it was manageable.

“Mom, will MS be hard?”

“No, you’re ready for it. They just try to scare you in to thinking it’s hard so you study more.”

“Mom, what do I do if I get lost?”

“Ask a teacher where to go.” I knew better than to suggest a fellow student.

The questions progressively got more specific.

“Dad, do I change clothes before gym and then go meet the PE teacher on the first day of school or do I meet with the PE teacher first and then go change?” New level of detail here. Obsessing?

We’re headed for a meltdown.

“Let’s go look at the school.” This is the number one “go to” solution when a child is nervous about school. Walk the halls, play on the playground, the child equivalent of staring the enemy down and always the first in the armamentarium of weapons in the attack against school fears. If possible, enlist the older sibling for moral support.

“Offspring #1, we’re going to dry run going to school on the train in case you miss the bus and take a look the school while we’re at it. I need you to help me navigate- there are a lot of train changes.”

“Oh- Butt girl’s afraid of school so we have to go see it.” I don’t remember this attitude when he had to stare down the metaphorical barrel.

” What are you afraid of Butt bunny- I did Middle School and look how good I did.” More helpful input.

I pull up the directions to the school. Unfortunately we don’t have a printer yet. None of the streets in Tokyo have names so the directions from the station have instructions like ” turn at the green fence, pass the empty lot, turn right by the pile of garbage cans,” and those are the directions I can read- the others are too blurry. (You readers will recognize this as foreshadowing) I retrace the map on a piece of paper.

We make our first of several train changes. We get on the last. Two choices for the same train. We get on the one that looks as if it goes to our stop. On board we confirm that it does go to our stop. Offspring #1 and I fist pump each other. This is a true test of our navigation skills. Offspring #1 stares blankly out the window.

The train stops one prior to ours. Everyone exits the train. Either a popular stop or a bad choice. The train then heads back in the direction from which it came. Oops. A local train- not a rapid transit. We catch the next one. “Ok- if you miss the bus- now you know- DON”T get on the local train. Good thing we did the dry run.” Always the optimist.

30 minutes lost on that. We finally make it to the school stop. I wonder if we’ve been teleported to rural Cambodia. Honestly I heard chickens. We start to walk- on dirt. Offspring #2 is wilting. I feel like a half wit commander leading a platoon which I’ll soon be carrying on my back. There is no green fence, no pile of trash cans- none of the landmarks. No one speaks English. I decide to call off the mission.

We did make it home without taking any wrong trains and Offspring #2 navigated. We celebrated her success with a canned Dr. Pepper from one of the ubiquitous vending machines. The only Dr. Pepper in the city. We did go to the school within the next couple of days. Offspring #2 got all of her school supplies, organized her binders, and received a healthy sum from Offspring #1 to complete his. Both Offspring now have a subway map, metro card, and cab fare in their back packs in case they miss the bus.

We didn’t find School on the first outing, but we did on the second. During those trial runs we averted many potential mishaps that would have been catastrophic on a school day. Offspring #2 developed the confidence that she could navigate when necessary. We learned that food and drinks are available from vending machines with Metro cards. I learned that the overwhelming urge brought on by non-stop bickering to push both off spring on to the train tracks can be controlled.

The pendulum swung back and Offspring #2 was merry once again.

Then it was Offspring #1’s turn….

The “M” Series

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2 Responses to Moving Meltdowns: The “M” Series

  1. Good idea to travel the school route with the kids to make sure they’re comfortable with it. Imagine they’re old hands at getting around Tokyo by now.

    Like

    • amblerangel says:

      Now their old pros- then I needed them to know how to get around in case they got lost. What I know now is there are lots of adult ExPats who are afraid to ride the subway…

      Like

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