Friday, November 4, 2016

Daddy Goes On a Field Trip

I wasn't expecting to win the lottery. But, I did.

Unfortunately, it wasn't the Power Ball, or even one of those scratch and sniff tickets. (I could use the money.) Instead, it was the lottery to get to go on a field trip with over a hundred screaming 3rd graders.

My daughter's class was going on a field trip, but only two parents were going to be allowed to go on the bus with the kids. So, all parents who wanted to go had to put their name in the lottery in hopes of getting picked. I wasn't too worried about it. No one ever expects to win the lottery. But I did. Hooray?

When I showed up on the day of the field trip, the first thing I thought was, "Wow! That's a lot of kids!" It's one thing to go into the classroom for parent/teacher conference, where it's just you, your kid, the teacher, and a bunch of empty desks. It's another thing altogether when all those "empty" desks are full of wiggly, squirmy kids! (I don't know how those school teachers manage to wrangle all those kids for the entire day. I really don't.)

I checked in with the teacher, Mrs. K. She gave me a list of nine names. Mrs. K., the other mom/lottery winner, and I each had nine or ten kids that we were in charge of keeping track of. Mrs. K. made sure she let us know that she kept the most difficult kids for herself. I was relieved; all of the kids I was in charge of were well-behaved.

Or were they?

I quickly discovered that one of my kids was a smart-aleck. Although his name was Boyd, he decided to tell me his name was Hank. ("Boyd" is not his real name, and "Hank" is not his real-fake name. I have changed the names in order to protect the innocent.)(Well, no, actually it's to protect the guilty. And Boyd was certainly guilty of giving me a false name.)

It had been many years since I had been on a school bus. I attempted to sit next to my daughter and her best friend, but was told by the bus driver that I couldn't. Apparently the rule is up to three kids per seat, or two adults per seat, but not two kids and one adult. So, I got a seat to myself behind my daughter.

The kids on the bus go , "Aaaahhhh!!!"

There were two buses, and four total classes of 3rd graders, so there were two classes per bus. As soon as the bus started to move I realized that this was the first time in some thirty years that I had been in a moving vehicle without being buckled in by a seat belt. It's amazing that with all the preaching we do about seat belt safety and with all the concern we have for the welfare of our children, that when we need to transport a bunch of them at once we just throw them all together in a giant sardine can and say "whatever."

We got to the theatre and saw a play. It was good, and all of the kids were well-behaved. We then went to a park so the kids could eat their sack lunches. Most of the kids scarfed down their lunches and ran to the playground. My daughter and her best friend ate slowly and were just heading toward the playground when the whistle blew for all the kids to come back and get on the buses. Almost all of the kids came running. Amongst the hubbub of the kids rushing to their seats on the bus, I tried to do a head count of my group of nine. One was missing. Of course it was Boyd/Hank! While all of the other kids came running for the bus when told to do so, Boyd/Hank thought he'd stay at the playground and play while it was suddenly not as crowded. (Mrs. K. had to go fetch him.)

The last leg of the field trip was some fun at the roller rink, where I found out that 100 screaming kids get even louder when you put wheels on their feet. And, it was amazing how many kids who didn't know me still came up to me to help them get their skates on or help them tie their shoes.

Ain't no party like a 3rd Grade roller-dance party!

For the trip home, I was one of the last ones on the bus because I had to make sure my group of nine was all there. (No trouble from Hank/Boyd this time, thankfully!) But, by the time I got on the bus, there were no empty seats left. I had to sit next to Jasper (not his real name,) one of my daughter's classmates. Once the bus was in motion, Jasper promptly fell asleep. I was a mean person and angled him away from me, toward the center of the bus, so he wasn't leaning on me and drooling on my arm. I felt kind of bad because his neck was twisted in a way that looked very uncomfortable, but he managed to sleep that way and I managed to avoid having a strange eight year-old cuddling up next to me.

When we got back to the school, I was completely exhausted. I really had no reason to be, all I had done all day was count to nine about three dozen times. As I came home and crashed on the sofa, I decided it'd be all right if I let someone else win the lottery next time.

And, I had a newfound respect for all elementary school teachers. Can you imagine winning that lottery every single day of the entire school year? They're the ones who deserve that Power Ball money!

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