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Challenge: Parents On The Go: What's Your Strategy?

Mission: Carpool Drop Off

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I am a mother to two young boys; however, I believe in sharing what we have been blessed with and the door to our home in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, is always open to family members and friends alike. This means that I a former Special Education teacher, turned contributing writer/carpool mama. Right now, I am providing day care for children in addition to my own, which means getting a large and often cacophonous crowd out the door each weekday morning, with the intention of arriving on time for school drop off. This is a task that is not for the weak or faint of heart. With coffee in hand, I've got this!

We do not own a minivan but a car that appears to be an SUV on the outside but is mini-van-esque on the interior, causing a lot of strange yoga positioning on my part to get everyone safely buckled in their carseats/boosters/straight jacket restraining devices (often accompanied with screaming from the toddler for a train named Thomas to appear from osmosis).

It's not an easy task and one that I usually allow a good ten minutes to execute from start to finish. It often begins with a subtle bribe, as in, "Let's all stop playing Rescue Bots under the dining room table and get into the car, where we can quietly watch a movie using our in-car DVD player...Please bring your backpack with you! Don't pinch, buddy...hands are for helping not hurting..." I often do not mention that we will all need to agree on which DVD we play and that it may or may not be played due to the amount of time we have to allow for such involved decision making.

Inside of the car, I have the following key elements to ensure safe and drama-free travel:

- A large bag filled with snack treats, juice boxes, wipes, plastic cutlery, and anything or anything that relates to eating and nutrition in general.

- My Mary Poppins Bag which includes everything from board books, to DVDs, to game systems, to a first aid kid, to a soccer ball for the park, to an extra change of clothes for MYSELF (Yes, it is often needed when toddlers are involved and the pudding is flying!)

- The diaper bag, extra underwear, extra clothes for all children, and a portable duck-themed potty that quacks with glee when you go...or when you make a left-hand turn.

- A set of children's musical CDs from Raffi to the classics like "Silly Songs with Mickey" and "Everyone Poops!" to serenade my toddler's tender yet incredibly constipated moments.

Despite the drama, being a carpool mom is one of the most hilarious gigs out there. I hear everything under the sun and find myself laughing hysterically from time to time. Kids will say the cutest and most endearing things like, "Miss Sarah, why is there purple makeup under your eyeballs today?" to "Mommy, why is there a lintbrush stuck inside of your hair?" But really, I wouldn't change a thing. Getting my kids and their friends out the door and to school on time, is one of the great joys of my life. These are the days we will all remember, starting our school days with a smile and a wave!

Now, where did I put that lintbrush?

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