Signs of a Busy Life

Like many parents’ weekday¬†mornings, mine is usually filled with the ¬†last-¬†minute panic and rushing out the door.¬† On those mornings when Juan has to be at an early meeting, and we cannot drive into work together, I am¬†the lone parent trying to wake the dead as I go¬†through the hallway flipping on lights and¬†rushing to the kitchen to¬†scramble a ¬†breakfast, pack lunches, and finally, wrangle kids into the car.¬† It’s always a¬†race against the clock.¬†¬†Nico and Erica’s school charges the parents $5 a tardy, after the first 5 tardies. Diego’s school, the second stop on my route to work, begins at 7:45!¬† I ususally end up leaving the house with my coffee to go, and without¬†make-up. (Yes, I am that¬†woman. The one who puts on mascara¬†during the morning stop and and go traffic).¬†¬† I¬†rush¬†to drop off Nico or Erica at their school and then race across town to make it to Diego’s school before I have to stop in at the office and get “my ticket,”¬† otherwise known as a tardy slip.

So you can understand, why¬†I am a little preoccupied during my morning dash¬† drive through my lovely hometown.¬† I¬†hardly notice the beautiful Pasadena bridge and the¬†sun rising over the Arroyo on the way to Diego’s¬†school. Diego notices my distraction too. I¬†dodge through¬†traffic,¬† only half-listening to his 6 year-old ramblings and¬†his¬†unending loop of Guess What? It’s a little pre-occupation of his own. It goes like this:

“Guess What?”

“What?” I respond obligingly, ¬†yet absently.

“CHICKEN BUTT!” ( I know, he shouldn’t be saying Butt.)

I always fall for it. Especially when I am driving. 

“Don’t say ‘Butt.'”¬†¬†I correct him, narrowly missing a commuter bus as it pulls in front of me.¬†

Diego, he is a talker. His¬†constant chatter from the backseat serves as my substitute for morning talk radio.¬†¬† He tells me stories all the way to school .¬† His stories often illicit a “Umm” or “Uh-huh” response from me.¬† He tells me, “Mommy, when you say¬†“Uh-huh” it means you are not listening.¬† Wow!¬†¬†He’s perceptive that kid!

This probably helps explain why I didn’t understand Diego’s¬†story about “No Hats,” which¬†he would share with me on¬†our way to school.¬†¬†Whenever Diego and I turned onto the street near his school, he would tell me, “Mommy, No Hats! Why can’t¬† we wear hats to school? Maybe because it’s too windy and they will blow away?”¬†

“Mmm..Uh-huh,” I respond, as I¬†negotiate a parking space near the school.¬†¬†This went on for several days until it finally dawned on me to ask him what he was talking about.¬†

Diego¬†sighed, as if he knew that I hadn’t been paying attention all these days. He was right.

Diego then explained,¬†“The sign says, ‘No¬†Hats’.¬†¬†It says ‘Hats are not allowed.'”

I looked at him confused.¬†¬†“What sign are you talking about?”¬†¬† He said, this sign:

Maybe I should start paying closer attention. Or maybe Diego should learn to read.