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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The circle of life

Field trips are usually fun. You get to take the kids out of their regular environment and experience new things with them. The kids are generally happy and they're always excited... Sort of like zoo animals that have been released unexpectedly from a lifetime of confinement... And then there are the other times... Normally I enjoy these things, but lately I've had a lot going on personally and all the volunteering has just added to the pressure. I was kind of looking forward to a day off, but it wasn't to be. Shoot, I can't say no to a reasonable request. I guess I've sealed my own fate in a sense.

And so it is that I present to you the circle of (my) life ...

-Receive permission slip for field trip from school and complete paperwork while stealing Cheez-its out of your daughter's bowl, assisting with word problems, and explaining why I won't sign off on a reading log before the actual reading has been completed.

-Put field trip completely out of your mind until your daughter comes home the day prior to the trip with your field trip "assignment."

-Scratch your head in confusion because you're 99% certain you didn't sign up to chaperon in the first place.

-Begin throwing profane expressions around in your mind as a little black rain cloud forms over your head.

-Look at daughter's eager face and decide you really want to go on this trip. Sigh.

-Apply false smile and adopt enthusiastic demeanor.

-Arrive at nature park for the field trip only to discover that LFS (your Least Favorite Student) is assigned to your group.

-Notice the unseasonably warm ridiculously freakin' hot weather.

-Realize that the heat is causing the decaying matter along the lake that the kids are digging through with giant nets looking for the viral source of the swine flu newly hatched dragonflies is causing a very. bad. smell.

-Notice a strange substance under your fingernails once the digging has concluded, and make a firm and conscious decision not to speculate about what exactly you've gotten under there.

-Begin nature hunt with your small group and notice that LFS continues to walk waaaay to close to the river bank in spite of your firm requests to step back.

-Roll eyes when LFS falls in.

-Begin use of mental profanity when you have to fish her out.
-Listen to LFS complain belligerently because her shoes are wet, and fight the urge to say, "I told you so."

-Notice LFS dancing along the river bank. Again.

-Pull her aside and tell her that if she can't listen to your instructions you're going to shove her into the river yourself she has to listen more carefully because you don't want her to get hurt.

-Finish your activities and return to the bus where you'll casually mention to the teacher that it's rather ironic how LFS always ends up in your group.

-Smile insincerely when the teacher happily remarks that it's because you handle her so well. Feel free to sling around a few more mental profanities.

-Feel your cold heart melt into a puddle of joy as your daughters race over and nearly knock you to the ground as they enthusiastically shriek about the fun they've had with you.

-Agree absent-mindedly when the teacher asks you if you can work a couple extra hours in the classroom next week.

-Realize that you've come full circle and have committed to even more volunteer work that you didn't really want to do, and yet know in your heart that their youth is slipping by... that these moments are fleeting...

and that you wouldn't have it any other way.

55 comments:

LadyFi said...

Hilarious - and how ironic indeed that it all comes round full circle... again!

Never mind - it will all be over in about 16 years' time!

Stesha said...

Shaking my head...that's a shame you didn't use your one chance wisely and push her back into the river!

We never learn.

Hugs and Mocha,
Stesha

D said...

Circle of emotions, too. I am right there with you. Not in the field trip assignment phase yet. But not enjoying some part of motherhood and then your kid says something amazing that makes you realize exactly why you do it.

zelzee said...

What a great story. I did my share of chaperoning when the kids were small.....and I always ended up with the LFS!
(The kids were still at the age where they were proud to be with you.....)
Rewards later in life: When you see LFS and her family now, she still remarks what a "fun" mother you were on the field trips.
Trust me on this one.......

Meg said...

Yeah, I'd have left LFS in the water.

Probably better I don't have kids, huh?

Lindy said...

Great post.

I, however, would not have been able to go on the nature hike. Me and nature don't get along seeing as though I punched it in the face a long time ago.

Alice said...

As a newly retired teacher who had to beg and plead for parent volunteers, this was really funny to read. Made me see the other side. If it helps any, think of me with 27 years of field trips!

Kate said...

What a day!!! I am glad that they were happy that you were there to help. Have a great week.

peewee said...

You are WAY nicer than me.

That day sounds SO horrifying to me I am speechless. You had me shuddering at "nature park." It was all downhill from then.

My day will be GLORIOUS because no matter what happens...I will be all "well, at least I'm not near any swamp"

happeegrrrl@yahoo.com said...

KathyB! That last bit about their youth slipping by was a little sad. This post in it's entirety felt as though it had an undercurrent of sadness and frustration. Could I be off base?

Mary K Brennan said...

My son is currently friends with "that student." So, like you I was assigned him last year while at the pumpkin patch. Since there was another Mom who enjoyed yelling at him alot more than myself, I sat back and enjoyed his little antics. After he decided that pumpkins don't go as far as footballs when thrown through mid air I forced him back onto the hay ride. I don't get to volunteer as much as you w/ Scooter still at home, but I'm sure we'll be able to compare adventures next year.
My husband lost his mother about 10 years ago now. He stills says one of his fondest memories are the days she volunteered at his school. I'm so looking forward to next year!

kel said...

our school cancelled all field trips this year, due to budget cuts.. and I rejoiced!! wooo hooo!

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

*sigh* It's a shame they grow up so fast you can't take a minute to breath.

LFS! I might use that... if I ever go back to the classroom. You should have pretended not to see her fall in and let her soak in there for a while. Maybe she wouldn't be put in your group next time. ;)

Together We Save said...

Love it. Laughed so hard I cried. I can totally relate. But yes these moments are priceless.

Gibby said...

Awesome post! I love the term LFS, I've got a couple of those and I'm definitely going to use it.

I've always wondered why kids want us on the field trips. I mean, she never seems that excited about me at HOME. But show up at school and you are the most interesting, fun, cool person in the world.

Nice restraint with LFS, by the way.

Sapphire said...

Awww...LFS. I had one of them and I was the TEACHER! They can be so difficult.
Awwwww Kathy B!, you are so right.....this time goes by so quickly. On the one hand, you want to scream, but on the other hand, this is such a small part of our lives together.

evenshine said...

Now you got me singing Phil Collins...

Circle of life? More like karmic wheel to sainthood if you ask me.

And it is, absolutely and utterly and heartbreakingly and gorgeously, worth it.

Riddle Girl said...

Laughing and crying all in one post. Now that's the sign of a good one!
I can relate! I am trying to enjoy these years that they like having me around. Soon enough I won't be cool enough to have around for anything. (They still hug me everytime I walk in to their classrooms to help.)
And so far...We are the cool house to hang out at. (I hope that never changes.)

The Blonde Duck said...

LOL! You're so much nicer than I am. I would have told the child exactly what I thought of her...

And they're shutting down schools left and right here for the swine flu until May 11! No field trips for them! I feel bad for the kids with prom!

tlc said...

See, the kids lovin' you up for chaperoning...that's how they get ya! That teacher knew just when you'd be most vulnerable and swooped in to ask for more favors. Teacher is wise to you, you'll never break the circle...

Denise said...

Awww I wish my kid would have let me chaperone. She was always afraid I'd embarrass her... because I would, on purpose. It's a fun game I like to call "parenting".

And I'll have you know, I made that neuro appt yesterday as instructed lol. Now if I can just remember where I put the sticky note with the appt date and time.

Susie said...

I thought I was the only one who didn't love these trips initially however, we usually emerge with an awesome memory. So, it's worth it:-)

Vicki said...

I would love to have a mom like you for my classroom. I can't even get them to get their kid's report cards

faemom said...

Great post! Don't you just love working with kids? All kids? I always hated that phrase "Because you handle him/her so well." Last time I heard it, I was working for the Girl Scouts and I sweetly told my boss that if he stuck me with That Girl again I will happily key his car. My boss and I were great friends.

Hit 40 said...

You fished her out! WHY!!

You are a saint!

And... the teacher admitted to giving her to you all the time? I would have apologized and told you that I would not do it again. Your a great volunteer - I wouldn't want to lose you.

Sturgmom said...

I'm glad you maintained enough composure to refrain from pushing the little girl in again.

The school year is coming to a close soo, right?

angie said...

But is sounds like so much fun. :) What a great mom.

ck said...

NOTE TO SELF: Be sure to appear completely incompetent around LFS, lest he/she become your responsibility.

I'm so prepared for kindergarten.

lizspin said...

Seriously. . . what DO you think was under your fingernails???

Missy said...

As a teacher, I hate field trips! It is a level of hell!

Tsquared417 said...

What a great post, as always, Kathy! I always get stuck with LFS too...hmmm....

Undercover-Princess said...

Which makes you an awesome, awesome mom... :)

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

You know you love the punishment & so do I!

But I would have made the teacher get LFS out of the water! She is the one getting paid!

Juls said...

I really have a love/hate relationship with volunteering ...but mostly love it. So, I totally got this post. *my* LFS--is like a magnet to me, everytime I'm at that school........

Glad you went...because, yep--youth is slipping away..so sad for us moms!!

Grand Pooba said...

I love the term LFS! Haha! Is this what I have to look forward to?

countryfriedmama said...

You're a good woman, KathyB! I did my first field trip about a week ago: a farm, 15 pre-schoolers, and many a funky smell. Good times.

passionsandsoapboxes.com said...

I loved field trips...vomiting on the bus... the kicking... the yelling.... the punching... and that was just the moms. sweet memories.

WhisperingWriter said...

Yikes about the LFS. I have a LFNK. (Least favorite neighborhood kid.) He comes around at least once per day and likes to just walk right into the house. One day he's going to catch me coming out of the shower, I just KNOW it. This kid seriously has no manners.

I'll eventually volunteer at a field trip. Right now I'm still too scared. I get a headache just when I go to class parties for a half hour. Imagine how it would be for six hours. Yikes.

Banteringblonde said...

i think field trips should be banned ... just kidding but I have to say they are very stressful for me. i just know i'm going to lose someone's kid so i am paranoid the whole time. This sounds like a fun day though ;)

Helene said...

You do realize that I'm taking notes every time I read your posts....because I know this will be my life as soon as my kids are school-age.

I love that you actually have an acronym for LFS!!!

Laoch of Chicago said...

It is a noble and fine thing to volunteer to help children. But really you must stop eating Cheez-its!

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

So far I've resisted the urge to volunteer for anything, but that might change next year when Princess Nagger is in school full days - which means her class will probably go an 'real' field trips instead of just to an assembly at another local elementary school. ;) I'll definitely hold fast to the thought that her youth is slipping by and those moments are fleeting...and keep my fingers crossed I won't get assigned an LFS to my group that I might have to fish out of the river... ;)

Erin H said...

Kathy you are hilarious. I really think you could write a book about motherhood. Please don't forget to remind me about my LFS (which is terrible since I was the teacher) and the field trip to the water park...

Mocha Dad said...

This sounds exactly like the field trip experience I just had with my son. Only mine involved various forms of livestock, snakes, and chicken poop.

TKW said...

LFS! Love It! You are such a funny, funny writer.

Lisa (Jonny's Mommy) said...

Oh this is hilarious! I am so not looking forward to field trips when Jonathan gets older. Love this post though. Hilarious! Did I say that already? Oh yea, I did. Um....well, at least you know it is hilarious! :-)

MadMad said...

We have to talk, hon, cuz you're doing it all wrong and making the rest of us mommies look bad! You're not supposed to actually be NICE to the kids! Shove that bad one in, next time. Just a little hip check is all. You'll feel better, and... they won't ask you back, hahaha!

Mommy (That's my name, don't wear it out.) said...

hysterical! great recap of your field trip!!

Rob said...

I love when you post stories like this one. It makes me feel not so alone in the world. I am always amazed that you keep all of those bad thoughts in your head. Sometimes I have to admit I let them out. Like what the BEEP were you thinking. Only I do not always use the beep! Oh well I guess I am not perfect just as my life is far from perfect! Thanks for sharing another story in the world according to you!

Oh and as far as swine flu it is not in that pond it is in my town. I am starting to stress!

Becca
Askbecca.com

Ink said...

But a happy ending!!! Yay!

ps: I wrote the requested underwear note in the comment thread for you. Hope it helps. ;)

ScoMan said...

LFS sounds so much nicer than "Least favourite student"

I think had you pushed them in the river then people wouldn't put them in your group ever again. There would be no more "You handle her so well" remarks.

Jen said...

I just have to say, Are we having fun yet!?!

SAHM-I-AM said...

I don't usually comment on posts with such a huge number of comments already for fear of repeating what others have already said but ... OMG! I'm sitting here trying not to piddle. Love "LFS". Sounds like an affliction of teachers and volunteer parents ... as in "My LFS has caused such suffering". Great blog.

the ungourmet said...

Oh my gosh, my golly! I don't know how the heck I missed this post!

I hated when I get stuck with the LFS! Brat!

Very funny once again!

Happy volunteering!

♥ Braja said...

I forgot what I was going to say. Any schnapps around here?

xx