Friday, January 14, 2011

Bringing Forgotten Items to School . . . When to Stop?

The call came in at 7:35 this morning, just as I was sitting down to the kitchen table, a cup of hot tea in my hand, ready to read the newspapers.

The Girl: Mom, I forgot my sneakers and I have gym class first period.

Me: Yep. I see them. You really want me to bring them to you? Now?

The Girl: Please?

Me: (Paused for a beat) Okay. I'll bring them right over.

This is not the first time this has happened this school year. One morning, after I'd asked all three kids if they had their lunch money, I got a call from the twins asking me to bring lunch money down to their school otherwise they wouldn't be able to have lunch that day. I've also been asked to bring in homework, a textbook and gym clothes.

I feel compelled to note here that the Picket Fence Post kids are pretty self-sufficient in that they make their own breakfasts on school days and pack their own school lunches. Actually, the 12-year-olds pack their own lunches and we're teaching the 9-year-old how to do it, something he proudly said he did this morning, though The Spouse and I suspect he packed himself a Nutella sandwich as opposed to a Nutella and peanut butter sandwich, but we didn't really think that was a huge deal so we let it slide.

That being said, when do I stop this practice of rushing the kids' forgotten items to school for them? If I have a business meeting or conference call or aren't at home when the call comes in, then I wouldn't run the items over for them. But if my work schedule is flexible and I have the time to do it, I generally oblige them though I'm beginning to think that maybe I shouldn't any longer.

If The Girl gets reprimanded and marked down by her gym teacher for failing to remember to bring her sneakers or her gym clothes, perhaps that would prove to be a better incentive for her to remember those things the next time, especially when Mom won't bail her out any more.

Do you bail out your kids like this?


  1. I can remember tearfully calling my dad before school to ask him to bring in a forgotten packet of homework. I was in fourth grade (I was very Type-A as a student, so I was working myself towards a panic attack by the time I made the call), but he'd just left for work. Dad, you see, was my go-to to call since he didn't leave for the office until 8:30, whereas my teacher mom left at 7:00. Anywho, he missed my call, and I got docked a letter grade for being a day late, but it wasn't the end of the world, and I learned to be more meticulous when I packed away my homework each night.

    It's sweet that you're open to delivering things--as someone who received such mercies as a child, I can say they appreciate it--but maybe letting them feel the consequences once or twice might make it so you don't have to make as many of those unexpected runs to the school.

    Just the advice of someone who doesn't have kids, though, so take with a grain of salt. ;)

  2. You'll be shocked (not) to know that I am not a bailer. Middle School policy didn't allow it, and high school doesn't either. High School has an online account and I put money into it for lunches, and if he forgets sneakers, instrument, music, homework, they're SOL.

    All 3 at one time in their late elementary career had a big forget when they had to "borrow" lunch from a friend or couldn't take gym, got marked down for missed homework, etc...but it rarely happened after that.