Getting my kids to school (and what my daughter never says)

“…I’m weird ’cause I hate goodbyes.” – Owl City

As a Dad, most of the time I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve been pretty insecure in my parenting ability since day one. So I just love on my kids, get tough when I have to, and try to make them laugh as often as possible.

And just hope for the best.

But there’s one thing I think I’m pretty good at: getting them to school in the morning. I can get up, fix grits and eggs for my son, prepare a waffle (or cereal or Pop Tart) for my daughter, brush her hair, make sure they’ve both brushed their teeth, sign folders, put snacks in Ziploc bags and have them in the car and at the school usually in less than 25 minutes total time. I’m hoping one day to get this routine included as an Olympic event. Of course, it helps that my kids can dress themselves (for the most part) and that their school is only about 500 yards from our house, but still. In my overwhelming self-doubt as a parent I need something to point to and hang my hat on.

As I’m dropping my kids off (I know – the phrase “dropping the kids off” is forever tainted by American slang, but there’s really no other normal way to say that. Saying “as I am jettisoning my children at the curb” just so you won’t snicker is too much trouble) at the school, I always tell them both to have a great day, to make good choices, and that I love them. Then I say goodbye. And because my daughter is the last one out of the car, I always specifically say to my 6-year old girl, “Bye baby.”

She never says goodbye.

They both tell me they love me. They both respond to “have a good day.” My 10-year old son, first out of the car, always says “see you tonight. Bye.” But the Baby Girl, she refuses to say it. She won’t tell me goodbye. She’s never once said it when I’ve dropped her off. Never. She hears me. I’m almost certain she does. But she just gets out of the car and frolics toward the school doors. Every single time.

I wonder why she does that.

I’ve spent (wasted?) a lot of time in my life wondering why girls do what they do. If I were to blog about all of the things I know for sure about females and how they operate, I would be done before I finished the first sentence. That would be the blog equivalent of what the first wave of soldiers experienced when they hit the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Over before it even started. But I digress.

Why won’t my daughter tell me goodbye?

Maybe she’s confident she’ll see me again that afternoon or evening and doesn’t see the point. Maybe she doesn’t like the way the word feels on her tongue (I have this problem with the phrase “Florida Gators”). Maybe it feels too final to her and she’s afraid that saying it will make it permanent. Maybe we need to get her hearing checked. Maybe she hates goodbyes. Or maybe it’s something else.

What do you think?

Parents, have you experienced anything like this?

Ladies, why won’t my daughter tell me goodbye in the mornings?

I wonder. And while I’m wondering, I’m gonna go train so I can knock some time off of that early morning routine…

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