Monday, October 11, 2010

Chaperoning a field trip? You just sold your soul to the devil, my friend...

Last Friday, Garrett and Landon went on their very first field trip to the pumpkin farm with their preschool class.

"Mommy, are you coming with us?" they both asked with excited anticipation.

I have to admit that, in my head, I was going back and forth....I mean, giving up a whole 3 hours of freedom is a HUGE decision. 

I had important plans for that 180 minutes.  Really, I did.  Some of you may not think that sitting on the sofa and staring at the wall is a big deal but it requires a heavy amount of concentation and stamina.  Shocking, I know. 

Landon interrupted my thoughts, "Come on, Mommy.  Come with us!"

Sighing with abandon, I replied, "Okay, I'll sign up as a chaperone".  I couldn't shake the feeling that I had just sold my soul to the devil.

The morning of the field trip, the teacher explained to me and my fellow chaperones that she had assigned each of us 3 children to be in charge of. 

ONLY 3 kids?  Please...this would be a piece of cake. 

Except it wasn't...because 2 of the 3 kids she assigned me were my own spawn. 

I thought I detected the faint sound of laughter but no one around me was laughing. 

"You mean, you want me to be responsible for my own kids?" I asked the teacher.  "They'll probably listen better if they're with another parent."

She responded, "They'll be fine"...which was really just teacher code for "Shut up and put on your big girl panties.  You're the parent here!"

Then she pointed at a sweet, little blonde-haired girl with black-rimmed glasses who I'll refer to as A and explained, "A will also be in your group."

Okay, how bad could this be?  A seemed delightful and I felt assured that if she was a good listener then my boys would probably follow suit. 

Shit, there was that faint laughter in the background again...

From the moment we boarded the bus all the way to the pumpkin farm, I made desperate attempts at getting my boy's to respect bus riding etiquette..."Sit on your bottom", "stop kicking the seat in front of you",  and "don't stick your head out the window or it'll fall off".

Finally, between gritted teeth, I threatened, "Do you want me to trade you to another group?  Don't tempt me because I will do it!"

Each time I looked at A, she was sitting quietly in her seat, staring at me intently.  I imagined she was thanking God that I wasn't her mother.  If she had any doubts, Garrett and Landon were wonderful about reminding her..."She's OUR mommy, not YOURS". 

However, something strange happened to A the minute we exited the bus at the pumpkin farm.  I was positive that I could see the tips of two sharp horns beginning to protrude from her scalp, very similar to the ones on Garrett and Landon's heads. 

The subtle laughter which had been taunting me the entire morning became a bit more obvious.  I was starting to realize it was more than my soul that the devil wanted...he also wanted to make sure I had no shred of sanity left by the end of the 3 hours.

I spent most of the field trip herding my 3 charges together, chanting, "let's all hold hands" as I tried to keep them safe from being eaten by angry goats or falling backwards off the huge tractors set up on display.

Just when I thought everything was going to be okay, A announced that she had to use the potty.  Landon stated he had to go, too.  Damn it, there was that laughter again.

I asked one of the other parent chaperones to keep an eye on Garrett so I could take the two of them to the potty and off we went, in search of the sparkling clean, in-house bathroom.

Except there was no sparkling clean in-house bathroom.  Nope...instead there were two dirty porta-potties at the front of the farm.

"Eeeeewwww", A screamed as she opened the door to one of the porta-potties.  "It smells bad in here!  I don't have to pee anymore!"

I imagined A pissing in her pants on the bus and then I'd have to explain to the teacher why I let a little 3-year old convince me that she didn't have to go pee, even after the child was doing a funny little dance and grabbing her privates with the hopes of preventing her bladder from spilling loose.

"Come on, A...I'll help you," I coaxed her, helping her pull her pants down.  Placing her gently on the potty seat and begging her profusely to NOT touch it, I used my foot to keep the door open partways in an effort to breathe in some fresh air and keep an eye on Landon. 

That's when I noticed that Landon was nowhere in sight.  Crap. 

I told A to sit tight (pun intended) and that I would be right back.  I turned around and saw that Landon had already gone into the other porta-potty and was bent over the hole, examining the contents of what others had left behind.

"Oh. My. God. Eeeewwww, SOOOO GROSS!", I shouted, sounding more like a 5th grade valley girl who had just witnessed a bunch of teenage boys mooning her instead of a 41-year old mother of 4.

"Landon, get out of there!!" I demanded, grabbing him by his now contaminated hands and praying that I didn't puke right there on the spot.

Finally, I got Landon to go pee and gathered both he and A by the sinks to wash their hands.  As I was helping Landon dry his hands, A spotted a brown horse and ran off towards it, with me bellowing behind her, "A...wait up.  You can't just run off without me!"

Oh why yes she can....and she did, never once looking behind to acknowledge that she had heard me.  When I did catch up to her, I noticed gobs of snot running down her face.

A dodged my attempts to clean her face, while she giggled mischievously.  Now, not only did she still have snot dripping, she had clear white streaks across her face where I had attempted to wipe.

Sweet Jesus, I should've just stayed home and stared at the wall.  Or done the 5 baskets of laundry sitting in my family room.  Or stabbed myself in the eyes repeatedly with a couple of rusty nails.

I managed to get A and Landon back to the group in one piece.  Landon spotted Garrett sitting on a bench and shoved him off of it, announcing, "That's MY seat".  Garrett began to cry loudly, as he fell on the dirty ground. 

And now everyone was staring at us.  I tried to laugh and said, "It's always MY kids, right?"

One of the ladies from the farm was explaining to the kids how pumpkins grew when all this was going down.  She noticed the identical twin girls in our class and asked, "Are they twins?" 

The teacher said, "Yes...and we have another set of twins too", as she pointed to Garrett and Landon.

I couldn't help it and said, "Yeah, the two kids who act like they hate each other...they're twins".  The lady shot me a look of sympathy...or maybe it was disgust.  Couldn't be sure.  Nor did I really care by this point.

Oh, but wait...the high point of the day was when the kids were subjected to a lady who worked at the farm who was showing the kids a mouse skull.  Yes, that's right...a mouse skull. 

But not just any mouse skull.  This was a mouse skull which had been regurgitated among hair and other small bones by an owl who had painstakingly stalked that poor mouse for hours as it attempted to steal tiny bits of food on the ground.

The lady walked around showing the skull to the kids as she explained in a haunting voice, "Do you see these holes right here?  That's where the mouse's eyes used to be until the owl ate them.  Yes, owls eat eyes..."

All the kids were rightfully freaked out....except my boys, of course.  They thought that was the coolest part of the field trip.  Well, that and trying to escape from a moving bus out of the emergency exit window.

We made it back it to the school with all their body parts in tact but not before Garrett warned the little girl across from him to sit on her "booty ass"...while I shrank with embarrassment in my seat as that child's father stared at me.

And that, my friends, was the field trip in a nutshell. 

So the next time you see that sign-up list for chaperones for a field trip at your child's school....think back to this post. 

And then run...somewhere far, far away before you're reduced to a pile of quivering nerves, sucking your thumb and rocking back and forth in a musty corner of your basement.

However, try not to trip over all those other parents rushing to sign know, the newbies with stars in their eyes, all excited about the adventure they're about to go on. 

Don't judge them too harshly, though.  We were once like them also...before selling our souls to the devil. Registered & Protected


singedwingangel said...

OH I hear you loud and clear which is exactly why I never sign up.. that and Iam usually the mom with he 5 extra kids on the weekend .. I have my own chaperone gigs so no need for the school ones lol

blueviolet said...

I think the laughter you thought you were hearing was mine...heehee

But seriously, those chaperoning events make for the best memories. Good job, Mom!

Sadia said...

But hey, it makes for great blog fodder. ;)

You know how I love my girls' daycare center? High on my list of fabulous things is that they don't ask parents to chaperon field trips. *Cue heavenly choirs*

Kimberly said...

Note to self: when child is of age, must come up with a million reasons why not to sign up for these sorts of things!
When he does, I will think of you ;)
Thanks for the laughs at your expense ;)

Nezzy said...

Girl, you are one brave woman. I sooo feel your pain. I used to take out Special Ed. class on many field trips each year. We'd gather up the meds, wheelchairs and extra sets of clothing and head off to the circus, Exotic Animal Paradise, caves and oh...our favorite...the day long fishin' and hot dog roast out at Potter's Pond where we set the students out in paddle boats. Yep, my new motto became..."put life jackets on 'em, they'll float! (Actually, we'd recruit some responsible older students for back-up) Heehehehehe!

I've been Tx. with my Daddy who lost his three decade with Leukemia Wed. evening. Just tryin' to catch up!

God bless you sweetie and have yourself a marvelous week. Please take some time to stare at the walls, you deserve it!!! :o)

Crossed Fingers said...

haha - oh you poor thing. I will remember this post a few years from now as a fieldtrip is planned for our kid and probably think "Nah, won't happen to me..."

Anonymous said...

I was laughing so hard reading this post hubby came searching for me to find out what's going on, all the way from the kitchen!

You mean I should not have taught my kids to dance to the "Shake your booty!" song this weekend? They asked me quite a few times what "a booty" is.

Jen said...

You are a better woman than me cause I don't think I would ever go on a field trip. ;)

The Boob Nazi said...

A mouse skull?! What are they teaching kids these days!?

Shell said...

I love how you can still find the humor in these situations.

I've taken my turn- someone else can watch my little angels next time!

The mouse skull- my boys would have thought it was cool- but way to give most of the kids nightmares!

Eva Gallant said...

That was hilarious! I was working full time when my kids were in school, and I always felt guilty that I missed such occasions. Thanks for letting me know I was better off working! lol

Nobodys Nothings said...

thanks for reminding me why i don't feel too guilty when my son whines about me being a chaperone on one of his field trips. :) my son is actually a great kid, but honestly it's the other kids i'm worried about. i always use the excuse that i can't go because i have to watch his little sister.

the little sister previously mentioned frequently wears pigtails to hide her devil horns. when she's of age, i'm terrified of getting wrangled into chaperone duty, because she's gonna be a damn nightmare to look after. i may have already run away to Mexico had she been a twin.

loved this post... just think, it's already over with, and your kids can't whine "but you never come!"

Hyacynth said...

Thank you for helping this new-to-preschool mom realize why she definitely doesn't want to sign up to chaperone any fieldtrips! said...

A chill went down my spine when I heard those DREADED words....chaperone a field trip.

noooooooooooooooo noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

'nuf said

MamaHen Em said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha she laughs, as she remembers that she is going on a field trip with first graders on Wednesday.

Kimberly said...

PS. I left you some lovin at my blog

The Mother said...

Volunteering is always a dangerous, thankless, painful plan. I vote margaritas and a chat. Meet me at the bar?

Frugal Vicki said...

I have to tell you that I am surprised they did the whole bus thing. My son is also three and has his first field trip next week, and all the parents have to take their kids or carpool. So I will only have my ONE hoodlum kiddo to watch.

Mighty M said...

This is why I plan to remove both of my hands and keep them on ice until my kids finish school. If I don't have any hands there is no WAY I can sign up to be a chaperone! :)

Twins Squared said...

I can't believe y'all did such a big field trip for 3 yr olds! The kinder field trips nearly killed me last year (Though they are MUCH longer!) but at least they are 5 and 6, not 3! Our preschool doesn't do away field trips. They bring the fun to the school, like petting zoos and pony rides and stuff. I like that WAY better. And even on the kinder field trip last year, I had to watch another student for a while while my mom friend lost her keys, on a farm. Yep. Poor thing. While she was off searching for her long lost keys, I was busy losing not only my 2 but hers as well. I was envisioning how I was going to explain to her that in addition to combing an entire farm for one pair of keys she now has no more son, thanks to the 3 of them all running in separate directions. It was a losing battle. But you're a good mom. And I don't know about you but it scares me to NOT chaperone and put my child's safety in some other parents hands who may not care about my kids. At least if I'M the one who loses them I have no one to blame but myself!

Sorry you lost a free day. They are SO precious. The little girls have no school for parent/teacher conference. What a waste. And what's there to say about 2 yr olds? They all pretty much act the same way.

Diane said...

Laughing with you girl, laughing with you. I have two ALL BOYS boys and I too have been on those field trips from hell.
Happy to have found your blog. I say all the time that God has one great big sense of humor!

Just Another Mom of 2 said...

Oh I am so beyond thankful that my 20 month old prevents me from being able to chaperone field trips (no younger siblings please- we need your full attention on the class.) Well, if that's the way they want it fine. I'll just have to have a baby by the time my daughter gets to preschool. And maybe that one will listen to me ;)

I'm glad you survived the experience, I probably would have been close to tears! Love the way you can still find the humor in it all.

Meathead said...

And THAT is why I only do one field trip per year! Now that both are in school, oh look! Mommy can't make it 'cause I'm working. What a shame... :P

MiMi said...

Whoa. You just described my "Mother's Day" trip to the nursery. Oy.
And this year? I'm like the only parent who is qualified to go on the pumpkin patch trip so far.

Jenny said...

Now I understand why my mom never came on our field trips! LOL!

ashley said...

Your "spawn" make me giggle.

Rebecca said...

Even as a teacher, I tried to get out of field trips!!!! They are horrible.

People always sweetly ask me if the Crazies get along and all I can mutter is "nope" and walk away. Having twins does not automatically mean they're best friends...quite the opposite in many cases! I'm with you!!!

shortmama said...

Funny the worst chaperoning experience I had was also with a girl named A...

Jenny said...

I hate being a chaparone 'cause I hate dealing with other people's brats. I have a hard enough time with my own without having them add to my pain and suffering xD

So now I send my husband xD

Jenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ms Bibi said...

I feel for you. I try to chaperone as little as possible, but somehow I always get suckered in and yes, my child is ALWAYS in my group. I find it very unfair,lol.

Elisabeth Black said...

I welcome you to the I've-chaperoned the-class-trip-from-hell-and-you can't-make-me-do-it-again club. If you are a Mommy long enough you too can join this very elite club. :)

Christina said...

Okay, well I'm never doing that now!! ;)

LucidLilith said...

Okay, so it did not help that i was at a conference when i read this

And - eeewww and contaminated potty peeper.

Jennifer @ The Toy Box Years said...

If it wasn't for those field trips, you'd have nothing to write about!

Thanks for the chuckle friend! And I'll definitely be thinking twice about chaperoning!

MommaKiss said...

holy carp...where to begin.
The mouse skull would have actually made my boys heave. Repeatedly. And this little A with the horns protruding? Little heathen!
Power to you for actually agreeing - my kids listen to others WAY more than me. Way.

Dayum ;)

McKenzie said...

I loved reading this post, haha!

Creative Junkie said...

UGH - I've done my fair share of chaperoning. Beforehand, I'd update my shots, Will, life insurance policy and Xanax prescription.

Megan said...

That is one hilarious field trip - at least for the people watching you!

(And there never comes a time when porta-potties aren't plain disgusting.)

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

Ha! What fun!

I have gone on every single field trip with Emily and it is always a riot.

I am the mom who tells my group that they need to stay by me or they will get taken by a stranger and never see their family again! Seriously. I do say that.

One time in Kindergarten Tyler and I went for the big zoo trip in the spring and they gave us 8 little girls to watch. Man oh man that was interesting. Then we decided to buy all of them ice cream and one little girl had never had ice cream before. WTF? We almost gave her a cone until I hollared to Tyler "Lactose Intolerent!!!!" and the poor girl didn't get her cone. I figured that must have been the reason for her to never have eaten it before.

We dodged a bullet there.

Anonymous said...

Hello :-)

Firstly, I'm Rae-Louise over at PebbleDash, I used to religiously blog every day until a couple of years back when I let it fizzle, I am however, trying my hardest to get back up and running in the blogging world so feel free t come on over and check it out!

I have SO enjoyed reading your recent posts and am most definately going to be spending a considerable amount of time reading back over your archives :-)

Thank you for making me laugh out loud at the end of a rather bizarre day (REF my recent post!)

P.s. Your Hannah Montana cake is awesome.. Don't ever convince yourself otherwise ;-)

Liz @ Sugarplum Creations said...

Ewwww, I still can't get over the talk of owls eating eyes. That's just gross.

I'm glad you lived to tell about your field trip ;)

Anonymous said...

Omg, I almost signed up for the 5th grade class trip to the aquarium....I'm so glad I read this first.

Mercy D'souza said...

Yes, staying home probably would have been the better choice, but then you wouldn't have had anything funny to blog about.

Colleen said...

The snot situation sounds priceless! I used to work at an afterschool program and the only thing worse than a nasty porto is someone else's child's face overrun with gooey snot. :) Thanks for the laugh! And when we hit preschool next year, I'll be sure to steer clear of the field trips.

Melissa said...

funny stuff... i just signed a chaperon form this morning to go with the entire 8th grade in the middle school my oldest goes to. i am a pro at this already though, so am not afraid.... for the most part anyway.... at this point she'd rather hang with her friends than me, so i hang out with the other mom's.

my 1st grader is so independent, she never even wants me to go! i've gone anyway& we both enjoyed ourselves. guess it's different for everyone, although i do have to say, it's hard giving up the time to go. if am not at work, with no kids... i'd rather be napping :p

Sela Toki said...

Hilarious! Glad I accidently discovered your Blog. Have 7 children and utterly agree with you. Field-trip-exhausted with the first three. I just don't have the strength to do it with the other 4. The "newbies" got me laughing out loud. I sigh when I see them all the time. Been there done that. Thank you for sharing.

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

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