Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Volunteer at school - It helps you realize that your kid is a kid

I took four first graders on a field trip once. I was a parent volunteer to a class trip to the zoo. A girl and three boys were my responsibility for the day. We were to walk the zoo, have a picnic lunch and meet the rest of the class at the end of the day.

Five minutes into the trip Boy1 had started to trail behind. I looked back - urging him to hurry - just to find he had dug into his lunch bag and started eating a sandwich. I cajoled it back into his bag so we'd have some for the picnic later and moved the group along. 

We saw the lions and giraffes and had interesting discussions before we stopped for lunch. Boy2 at this point was very interested in the seagulls that were scavenging around. He wanted to feed them and not want to have lunch. Lunch was immaterial to him. Lunch was all that mattered to Boy1. So, I tried to get them in sync. 

Boy1 - I really cannot eat my sandwich.
Me- Why?
Boy2 - My mom made me a PB&J.
Me- So?
Boy2- I am allergic to peanuts.

Being a mom you know when you are being blatantly lied to. I called him out on it and told him I wanted the sandwich finished. Few seconds later I heard "Oops" and saw the sandwich hit the ground. For a split second I was going to tell him to pick it up, dust it and eat it. Before I could react the seagulls had swooped in and to his delight finished it. I wished I could have made an army of PB&J appear to help me defeat the six year old but all I had was the usual mommy line - "Well, you will be the one hungry later."

Towards the end of the day we came across a baboon. I have yet to meet a baboon that looked happy but this one had pulled a blanket over his head and sat against the glass looking as sadly at you as he could. The kids contemplated his state and the girl in the group solemnly told them - "If you were a slave to the zoo you would look this sad too"

There were many moments of laughter and fun that day. There was contant chatter but seven years later the sandwich, seagulls and the baboon have not left my head. That was the first school trip I drove the kids to. Over the years I made it a habit to sign up for as many as I could. Every year I got to spend a day with my son's peers. I got to hear crazy stories and was urged (with no luck) to 'race faster than all cars' or buy them all candy. Every time, after every single field trip, I came home with stories and told my husband just how crazy the kids were. And told him how normal and age appropriate our own crazy son was.