Meatloaf once sang “I will do anything for love, but I won’t do that.”
For me, “that” in regards to my children, means, “go on a field trip as a chaperone.”
Since he could talk, Sam has been after me about being a chaperone on a field trip. Tomorrow, he has a field trip where they need chaperones. He’s been talking about this for weeks. And begging me to go.
I get it. It’s so exciting to have your parents be an actual chaperone. I still remember when my dad (my dad!) was a chaperone on a field trip we once took to Lewes Beach for some sort of Inland Bays Day in 5th grade (he got horribly sunburned).
But friends, I CANNOT. I just … can’t.
I was thinking today of all the things I would rather do than take a day off of work and be a chaperone (at the zoo nonetheless) for my son’s kindergarten class.
- Get a root canal.
- Be stuck in a small confined area with a piece of poop on me that is JUST out of reach.
- Give a giant presentation at work in front of hundreds of people on a topic I know nothing about.
- Be on the phone with IT for 3 hours.
- Not having my phone in exactly arm’s reach. For hours. Egad.
I love my son. I would do honestly anything for him. Vomit in the hair. I will wash it. Need a suppository? I will insert it while singing a happy song. Tick? I’ll pull it right off. That Lego set he wants? You betcha. Anything, anything, anything. He is my heart.
But my face when he asks me to chaperone? It me:
Maybe this is the place where I say I don’t like other kids very much, or at least kids who don’t pay attention to me when I tell them to do something.
Friends, I don’t know, but I imagine kids misbehaving and not listening to you happens a lot on school field trips.
Maybe this is also the place where I say if a kid doesn’t do something I want them to do (because they are being obnoxious or in danger), I WILL yell at them. And with social media these days, my yelling could possibly become an INCIDENT.
So, it’s best if I remove myself from the situation completely. Poorly behaving children is such a hang up of mine that we haven’t gone out to eat with the kids in a year because the last time we did, Kit misbehaved in a crowded restaurant (at 5:30 p.m.) and I’m still anxious about it. (She was fine, was just being a year and half years old but I DO NOT LIKE.)
The other day I was at the playground after pick up for Sam (Summer Fridays Bitches!) and this 4th grader was going out of his way to hit Kit (Kit! My Kit! She’s 2 and a half and sweet as pie!). Kit was just playing little kid slide, not doing anything. And this kid went down the slide and deliberately kicked her. Then he would run away and I would think, “I guess that’s it.” But then he ran by her again a few minutes later and smacked her on the head (friends, she was not interacting with him or anyone in the slightest; he was just targeting her). And I was watching like, “Am I seeing what I think I’m seeing? Why is he hitting her?” And he ran off again and I, again, thought this was the end. But a few minutes later, he ran by her again and smacked her on the head AGAIN. (She took it okay, was just very sweetly confused.)
Here is what I would have liked to have done:
I would have liked to yell, “HEY! HEY YOU LITTLE FUCKER. GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY KID.”
I would have liked to go over and point my finger in his face and yell at him until he started crying and ended up in a heap on the ground.
But, guess what. You can’t do that. You can’t yell at strange kids. Because of course they are probably just being an asshole. But maybe he has a sensory thing. Or is…I don’t know. What is the excuse for being 9 and going out of your way to smack a 2.5-year-old you don’t know and who is not even interacting with you?
I don’t know but I’m sure there is one.
So we just left because I didn’t want to get in trouble for yelling at a bad kid.
(This doesn’t mean I don’t like ALL kids. We have a lot of kids over at our house to play and it’s very enjoyable. And sometimes they ((and my children)) misbehave. But I can handle it because I have a relationship with these children and their parents, so I feel like I can can tell them to knock it off, and they will.)
ANYWAY, in closing, I can’t handle chaperoning. I can’t handle other strange kids in large places with lots of screaming happening and then witnessing interactions with my kids I’d probably be better off not seeing.
(I also can’t handle $10 lemonades. Fucking $10 Zoo Lemonades which I will buy because you need something to dull the pain. God, I’m getting anxious just WRITING this.)
Luckily, Nat CAN handle all of this and is being the chaperone tomorrow. So today when Sam asked again tonight if I was going to be a chaperone, we broke the good news that Daddy was going and he did a happy gasp and said, “So that means you and Mommy are both going to chaperone??”
We had to explain that no, I was not going. And my heart broke a bit … but not so much I am going to go (sorry, not sorry). But I did promise that I would take a day off this summer and we would have a Sammy / Mommy day, just the two of us.
And I couldn’t think of anything more I’d rather do.