Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Today, at my wife's demand suggestion, I chaperoned a field trip for Daisy's first grade class. I approached this assignment with trepidation because, although I do own a six year-old, in general I am not good with them. They like to hit me. More on that another day.

The trip was pretty amusing though. We packed the kids onto a train car to go visit a suburban park for a morning picnic and playtime. (I'm not sure exactly what part of the school curriculum is satisfied by a picnic, but come testing day, none of these kids will be left behind. Bravo, San Francisco Unified School District!)

Parents often instruct their kids to use their "inside voices". This term denotes a tone of voice that is appropriate to use when speaking to someone in the same room. It's louder than a whisper, but not yelling. This is in contrast to the "outside voice" which is the typical high-decibal noise one hears on a playground.

I can now report the discovery of a new "voice". It's the voice that kids use on a train car and it is delightfully ear-splittingly loud, seemingly an order of magnitude louder than the underachieving "outside voice". A typical "conversation" went like this:

Kid X: (helicopter loud) SALLY!
Sally: (unable to hear Girl X due to the cacophony of other helicopters)
Kid X: (jet engine loud) SALLY!!
Sally: ....
Sally: What?
Kid X: *waves*
Sally: *waves back*
Kid X: ....
Sally: .....
Kid X: *turning around* TIMMY!!!!

This went on for the duration of the train ride. Thankfully my ear drums burst after a mere 10 minutes. (Note: be sure to wear blood-colored shirts when chaperoning field trips!)

Eventually we made it to the park, where the kids were promptly mesmerized by the squirrels. Apparently many of Daisy's city-bound classmates never see squirrels. These kids spent a fair chunk of the field trip chasing and treeing the poor animals.

Other kids spent a lot of time crying. That appears to be a classic field trip activity. At any given point in time, at least one kid was crying about something. I'm sure a better chaperone would have been more in tune about what the tears were about, but I just lurked nearby long enough to ensure that some other parent would supply the necessary hugs/nurturing/appendectomy.

I really was one of the worst chaperones. Most of the other parents seemed to have some innate ability to figure out what was an appropriate play activity and what wasn't. All around me parents were instructing the kids about what they could and couldn't climb on. Did I miss the parenting class where they said it was not ok to climb up the slide, or choke your classmates? I guess so.

I did however, spent some quality time thinking about what type of martini I was going to drink that evening. I settled on vodka. I enjoy setting goals and then achieving them.

Also, on the plus side of things, not a single kid hit me.


chess h said...

So you own your own six-year-old? I was told it's better to lease. Don't have to worry so much about maintenance that way.

zelda1 said...

Oh yes, I had forgotten, or maybe it was selective amnesia, those field trips. I am now shopping for a good day care for my grandson for when I go back to school. I've narrowed it down to two. One has this camera so you can look at any time online to see what your child is doing, I'm liking that one. But, while checking these out, I have been going to visit. I spot visit to see if the day care teachers turn into these really mean people, and I make appointments where Baby and I go together to hang out and this brings me to my point. Wow are those kids noisy, nothing like my precious Baby. He even covered his ears. I just turn down my hearing aides. The entire time I'm at these places, I think, are these kids really having this much fun, is it staged, or are they just nuts? At least they are not doing this all the time, only at certain times. The rest of the time, they have structured activities where they are quiet. In my book there is nothing worse than loud screeching kids. Well, maybe loud screeching women and men in bars. Yeah, that's a good comparison. Out of control loud children are like drunks. Yes, drunks. Which may be why you were thinking of a martini. I think of xanax. Wow, going to do one whole xanax when I get out of here. Yep, that's true. Loud kids who say nothing. Yuck.

carey said...

What, no pukers? You got off easy. As for noise, little girls rule that territory...that high-pitched squealing and screeching they do is the vocal equivalent of trying to slice stainless steel with shards of glass in the Arctic.

Painter Beach Girl said...

at least you didnt end up with boogers all over you...unless you did and didnt mention it.

Mike said...

Chess, well, technically I guess I don't own her. It's like I have a reverse mortgage on her. Each day I own her a little less. Or maybe it's like a regular mortgage, because it's so damned expensive.

Some type of mortgage for sure.

Zelda1, all it takes is one loud kid, and then they all have to be loud. It's a feedback loop.

Carey, yay, no pukers! And I completely followed your simile until it went into the Arctic.

Painter Beach Girl (Hi!), boogers?!?! I guess I avoided that pitfall by just not touching the vast majority of the kids. My designated kids appeared to be booger-free.

carey said...

"Arctic" as in: setting your teeth on edge, sending a shiver down your spine, making your hair stand on end...like that. Geez, do I have to explain everything? ;)

Mother Goh said...

Good thing it's your spouse's turn next. Sharing the load makes you drink less.

Mike said...

Carey, I do appreciate you taking the time to dumb things down for me. I owe you one.

Mother Goh, although I like your math, unfortunately, I still owe my wife about 10 of these trips.