Flashback Friday: Field Trips for Crazy Parents

Posted on November 5th, 2010

I’ve been writing about my kid and parenting for about ten years for California newspapers. The blog, though, is fairly new. But I’m instituting Flashback Fridays and Toddler Tuesdays so I can reprint some of my favorite columns from the past.

When I was a kid, I loved field trips. We got to go somewhere, anywhere, other than our classroom and we didn’t have homework that day. Then I grew up. And had a kid of my own. And somehow, field trips just aren’t the same anymore. That’s because when you have a field trip, you have chaperones. These are the parents who either a) couldn’t think of an excuse fast enough; or b) are twisted, tortured souls in need of intense therapy who actually still enjoy field trips.

I’m a type A parent.

Look, I know that there are kind, decent parents out there who just love learning with their kids. I’m not one of them. Going on field trips requires me to be organized—and that’s just not happening for me. I usually end up slapping together a couple of lunches and foregoing my usual IV drip of coffee just so I can be dressed and ready for the trip.

And then we head for school—where the day begins with the singing of the national anthem. Now, I truly believe that if the person who put the words to music for the “Star Spangled Banner” actually started their morning with no coffee and twenty tone-deaf seven year olds singing it, they would have picked an easier melody. But they didn’t—and the rest is history and the first headache of the day for me.

For Junior, the best part of the field trip came next–the bus. Junior loves school busses. He believes that there is nothing on earth better than a ride to some unknown destination in a hot bus, surrounded by second grade boys having a gas-passing contest. Fortunately for me, Junior’s school only had enough room on the busses for the kids and the teachers. So I got to drive myself to the local farm/petting zoo/tourist trap—with no smelly boys, no smelly bus and I got to pick the radio station. That almost made up for the lack of coffee—but not the singing.

The first part of the field trip was fine. I managed to find Junior and the other kid I was chaperoning. We looked at scarecrows. We panned for gold. We sat in a teepee and nobody farted. We even got through the gift shop without the kids trying to buy or shoplift anything. But somewhere around the buffalo habitat, all hell broke loose. The boys were yelling and pointing and pretty much going nuts. The girls were holding their noses and screaming in voices so high, I swear I heard windows breaking in the parking lot.

And the source of this excitement? The world’s largest example of buffalo poop, of course.

After this historic find, we headed over to the llamas. Or Alpacas. Or whatever that furry animal was. Anyway, said furry beast approached the kids. Whatever it was—the thing was really cute. The girls oohed and aahed over it. Even the boys stopped grossing each out with poop stories to look at it.

And then that cute, furry, thing turned its back to us and–uh—used the restroom.

Well, the crowd went wild. Girls ran around like crazy, holding their noses, shutting their eyes and screaming. And the boys crowded at the fence, pushing and shoving to get a better look at the action—and hopefully get some smell time in, too.

After that, the field trip was pretty much done. Oh, there was more learning that went on, that’s for sure. But if you ask any boy in Junior’s class what he learned that day and he’ll tell you—it’s all about the poop—and the bus ride home, of course.

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One Response to “Flashback Friday: Field Trips for Crazy Parents”

  1. Andrew Campion Says:

    I once had cat allergies, but that was as a kid. After I survived my teenage years :-) I was no longer allergic, thank you very much :-D

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