5.19.2010

{ The pants on the bus go "let me off" }

Every Friday I take an inventory of what is in my kids' backpacks.
... Same baggy of carrots that I just keep putting back into their lunchboxes day after day so that I will look like a good mom just in case Jaimie Oliver shows up at our elementary school... but without having to buy more carrots that will never be eaten?  Check.
... A bunch of graded papers that I throw away without even looking at them first because I figure if there was real problem I would've heard by now?  Check.
... All kinds of art projects that I tell my kids I'm keeping in their "special boxes" but really they end up in the same place that the graded papers end up?  Check.
... Next month's calendar which confirms my suspicion that the last 4 weeks of school are just for show?  Check.

The weekly backpack check is  how I found out that my daughter has 3 field trips in the next three weeks... and because I pretty much live by the Biblical principle of "better you than me" I signed up to help with the one that has nothing to do with riding a bus with 120, 10-year-olds.

Last year, when I was younger, stupider and pregnanter I chaperoned the third grade trip to the junior symphony in downtown Portland.  If you've ever considered driving a school bus as a profession - Do. Not. Do. It.  The poor bus driver lady had to maneuver what is essentially a cattle car for children down all kinds of one way streets that were clearly designed for people on horses or maybe those bikes with the really big front wheel.  Every time I saw movement out the window I'd stamp my foot down like I was pushing on an imaginary brake.  Also, I kept doing that arm-seatbelt thing across my daughter's chest like my mom did to whoever was sitting in the front seat of our car from about 1978 onward.  By the time we got to the concert my hands were totally sweaty, I was maybe going to throw up a little bit and I seriously considered calling my husband to come pick me up.  (What I learned from this was that unless you want to die in a metal box that smells like dirty feet and peanut butter and sounds like that really scary attic scene from "The Birds" you should pretend like you're an involved parent some other way.)

The field trip destination was a concert hall that's all Baroqued out with carvings and beautiful architecture and marble floors and that lovely way sounds spiral up to the ceiling in buildings that are meant to be listened in.  It also has a statue right in the entry way... a nude statue.  I don't totally remember, but I'm pretty sure that this particular nude was a woman, because I don't recall any embarrassing boys bits hanging out there.  What I do remember is that there was a lot of pointing and hands covering mouths and the kind of laughter you might do if you walk in on someone going to the bathroom.  The third graders found the naked bum part particularly amusing.  I think I spent the entire time up until intermission telling them to be quiet and stop laughing about the naked statue... at which point they went out to have another look.

Having learned last year's lesson about chaperoning field trips that have anything to do with a bus ride, I volunteered to go with my daughter's fourth grade walking trip to our local heritage center...yesterday.  It can be summarized thus:  120 ten-year-olds, 2 miles there, 2 miles back.  Old folks dressed like pioneers.  Lots of rain.

This year's lesson?  Stick to volunteering in the art program.
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3 comments:

The Laundry Queen said...

We pack healthy lunches for the same reason. Funny and insightful as usual, e. I have avoided the bus thus far and hope to keep it that way. The art program is definitely the way to go.

carmar76 said...

I'm thinking that bus trip would be enough to make baking cookies enough classroom involvement! Or, buying cookies, I guess most schools don't allow baked goods anymore?

Good luck next year! ; )

grammy said...

Consider a move to a rural community; field trips 50 years ago (yes, some of us were alive in the olden days) amounted to a sack lunch and a whole day spent running races. We live in the museums!!