I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve sent my kids to school in short sleeves this spring. We are all beyond tired of the cold and miserable weather, and this past week was even worse. It was so bad we had to get our winter coats back out. The one bright spot to the week, so to speak, was Wednesday.
It had thunderstormed throughout the night and as we got ready to leave for school the rain was still falling steadily. When I looked outside all I saw was cold, gloomy, miserable weather. When Brendan looked outside he saw an exciting opportunity. He would get to use his umbrella.
I had bought him an umbrella last fall after the first time that it rained. I found these really awesome ones at Target that seemed as though they would work really well for him. Rather than opening and closing the umbrella by pushing up and hooking it, this umbrella has a mechenism where at the push of a button the umbrella will expand on it’s own. Better still by pushing the same button again the umbrella folds in on itself. Knowing Brendan’s limitations with manipulating small items I thought this was right up his alley.
Unfortunately after we brought the umbrella he never had another opportunity to use it. It rained from time to time but never when he was walking to or from school. It would rain overnight or during the school day, or in the evening after we were home for the night. Once winter really settled in we packed the umbrella away until spring.
Once we were bundled up and ready to go out into the cold, rainy weather we had a small refresher course on using the umbrella in the garage. Brendan felt confident he could make it work on his own so we loaded up and headed for the school. Because it was raining traffic was more congested than usual to get up to the school as more parents drove their kids to keep them out of the rain. Brendan soon began to worry that we’d arrive too late for him to stand outside with his umbrella and he’d miss another good opportunity to use it.
Knowing I still needed to get Cameron to school I agreed to let him out of the car at the last cross street before the school parking lot. That would give him an extra 100 feet to walk with his umbrella and would allow me to avoid the drop off lane which would save me some time in getting to Cameron’s school. I turned down the side street and let him out of the car. I waited for a moment to make sure he got headed in the right direction. But he wasn’t going anywhere. He was standing on the sidewalk wrestling with his umbrella.
I got out of the car and helped him get it situated and sent him on his way. That should have been my first clue of what was to come later but I figured he was just so excited he was having trouble. I got Cameron to school with no problems and drove home. As I pulled into the garage I looked back to talk to Kaylee and realized that in Brendan’s excitement he’d left his backpack in the car. I turned the car around and went back to Brendan’s school to drop off the bag. He was quite relieved to see it. He said he’d realized he forgot it right after I’d driven away. With that taken care of Kaylee and I headed home for real this time.
The rest of the morning and afternoon progressed uneventfully. Finally at 2:00 we loaded into the car to go and pick up Brendan. The rain was still steadily falling, but it wasn’t storming so I went ahead and parked at our friends house like normal figuring Brendan would enjoy the opportunity to be able to use his umbrella again. School lets out at 2:15 and it takes Brendan about 5 minutes to get from his classroom to the car. He’s really consistent with how long it takes so those few times he’s off schedule I get a little concerned.
Wednesday was one of those days. 2:20 came and he wasn’t at the car yet. I began looking up the street trying to locate him (from their driveway I can see up the street all the way to the edge of the school property). It was a couple more minutes before I spotted him and it became apparent what the delay in his arrival was. He was wrestling with his umbrella trying to keep it up and failing miserably. I could tell he was getting frustrated even from my position down the street, so I put the car into gear and drove up the street to pick him up.
Of course, in his agitated state, seeing me pull out of the driveway made him think I was leaving without him and he began to pick up his pace. I pulled up next to him on the sidewalk and let him into the car. He was in tears, thoroughly miserable because he was getting rained on and couldn’t get his stupid umbrella to work. Plus his glasses were all wet and he could hardly see anything. I gave him a couple minutes to calm down all the while comforting him.
I took his glasses to clean them and dry them and realized how loose they were. I decided to make a side trip on our way home to go and get both boys glasses adjusted because I’d noticed that morning that Cameron’s ear pieces were bent out of shape. (I’d also noticed he’s started chewing on them like a dog…but that’s another story) By the time we arrived at the eyeglass store Brendan had mostly calmed down.
Cameron wanted to use his umbrella (he has one just like Brendan’s) between the car and the store so I let him, and in working Cameron’s I realized why Brendan was having so much trouble with his. One of the features to the umbrella is the ability to push the handle in for compact storage. You simply push the top down and it will click into place. What I’d forgotten in the months of disuse was that you needed to shrink it like that to make the button on the handle work.
If you didn’t shrink it you could still raise the umbrella the old fashioned way, but the button wouldn’t work. Once you had the umbrella extended the button would work to put the umbrella down, but doing so doesn’t shrink it; that’s something that always has to be done by hand. I showed Brendan the problem and how to fix it and he perked right up.
The next day when we were slated to get a rain/sleet mix all day he took his umbrella to school with him again, and I knew he’d be fine with it because he got out of the car and extended it properly on the first try. By the time I picked him up Thursday the novelty of the umbrella must have worn off because he walked from school without having it up.