So "S" begged me, I resisted, she begged me some more, I stood firm, she dealt the guilt card and I caved. I relented and signed the form declaring myself as a field trip monitor. Any parent who actually signs in the affirmative before knowing exactly where the class is going is either foolish, or living on the edge. I mean no offense to the rare parent who actually thinks accompanying 20 something first graders to an unstructured playground of some sort is fun, but this lady has gone on more field trips than the average age of the mothers I went with today and my recent tooth implant was easier! At first I was hoping that this year's "Let's celebrate the near end of 100 or so days together" would be to the theater or some other sort of sit down and mandated quiet in an air conditioned facility, but alas, it was the zoo! You begin by a set of instructions that could make the teams at GM blush, due to the specificity of details. Upon review of such directions, one gets the sense that any sort of failure will result in a flogging in the front schoolyard! Be here at 8, pick up the name of your group, pick up the directions to the zoo and within the zoo, type the phone number of the teacher within your phone, meet the buses at this time, get your wristband, stay with your group, eat at this time, certain locations are off limits, do not buy extras, do not share food due to allergies, wear these items, put on sunscreen, and most of all have fun! The day was to last until 1:00. At 11:30, I asked the time every five minutes or so in hopes it was time to board the bus. I was not in a minority at this point! The simple fact is that bringing a single child to the zoo is not the same as that same single child within a group of peers! Mass mentality clicks in, and strolling from cage to cage, categorizing the animals according to habitat, or reading the information is not the reality. Children running, yelling, going in different directions, getting lost, crying about hunger within minutes of entering the park, having to go to the bathroom several miles away, squealing when the animals defecate is closer to the recall of the day. I clocked about 10 miles of walking and am almost hoarse from the repetition of certain statements, "Do not run"," Do not climb on that fence", "Do not pick that up", "Where is so and so?", "You have to go to the bathroom again?", "Stop pounding on that glass!" The zoo echoes with these words from the teachers and parents scurrying through the paths of cages, trying to keep up with the pace of children while ducking to miss the cranes flying above. I actually imagined one of the monkeys wihispering to his mate that he was glad he was in the cage separated from the frenzy outside! However, "S" had a fantastic time, I have accumulated at least 10 more points toward the entrance goal for heaven and no one had to be summoned from the PA system! All is well with the world and God bless parents, and teachers alike because you rule the world!!
Garden Ridge, Texas