May 6, 2011

The Field Trip... From Hell

A month and a half ago my daughter came home from Kindergarten with what I thought was her usual mountain of daily papers. I zipped open her bag of endless scribbles and art work and began flipping through her daily masterpieces when I saw it. There was a sheet of paper hidden among the others that as soon as my eyes scanned the words my head began swirling in a giddy haze of naive excitement. It was a glorious announcement... Field Trip.

The field trip was to see a production of Click Clack Moo and I knew my daughter would be even more excited about it because she would finally get to ride the big yellow bus. As I flipped the paper over I shot up in my seat and my heart leaped out of my chest in delight as I saw the three magic words that I had naively been waiting to see since she started school: Parent Chaperone's Needed. As the Hallelujah chorus echoed through my head I whipped out my phone and typed an email to her teacher as fast as my chubby little un-manicured fingers could move. I had to get the email out that red hot minute because the flyer said only five parents would be allowed. With eighty Kindergartners this must be a hot ticket! Off went the email to her teacher. "Don't mind if I do!"

Finally an opportunity with enough advanced notice that I could help out, get the day off of work and get to hob nob with the class moms. This was it. I was going to break into the coveted inner circle of the crowned room moms. The members of the lucky wives club who get to be stay at home moms and volunteer for all of their kids school activities without regard to work schedules. I was going to get to be that mom for once, if even only for a rare day. And when I told my daughter I was going to chaperon her school field trip you would have thought I told her I was buying her a miniature pony that shits candy. And in that moment I knew this would be a day we'd remember forever.

And I was right, just not in the way I thought I would be.

When the big field trip arrived this week we woke up early instead of hitting the snooze button three times while trying to perform complex algebraic equations in my head to determine how many seven minute snoozes could I take while remembering how far ahead I have my clock set at. None of that. Out of bed and on our way. It was FIELD TRIP DAY! If I had known then what I knew later I would have not only hit the snooze button, I would have unplugged the alarm clock.

We arrived at school among the normal hustle and bustle of kids racing to their classrooms and made our way with the other Kindergartners and the other mom volunteers. This was it. I was in. I was there proving that I'm not a complete absentee classroom mom and I was earning my participation badge. When we arrived at my daughters classroom I was immediately able to determine who the main queen bee classroom mom was. She was standing there all 5'11" of her dressed in her black skinny jeans and black turtle neck sweater looking very Angelina Jolie-ish and instructing everyone in a sexy Russian accent. Standing next to her I felt like Frumpy Smurf. But less blue. What the hell, when did room moms get so hot? I expected a nice approachable mom in pajama jeans with at least one coffee or toothpaste stain on her somewhere. This isn't going well.

Sexy Russian room mom smiled and handed me a white note card with bright, yet very hard to read, yellow text on it with the names of the five children I'd be responsible for not losing or breaking during the field trip. She also handed me five large bright yellow colored laminated tags with the name of our school on them for each of my kids. Each chaperon had five kids and each group was a different color. Color groups are easy, I get it. I can totally do this.

I placed my daughters name tag on first, obviously knowing which kid she was, then had her help me locate in the sea of kids the other four lucky yellow group kids. Yellow, such a happy color for our group. I found my next kid, the only other girl of my group of five, "M". "M" was sweet and friendly. Then we moved on and together found "L". "L" was adorable. I noticed he had quite the dirty face and was a little disheveled and couldn't keep his little shoes tied to save his life but Hell I'm a hot mess every day too. He was a sweet and shy little boy and so respectful. Next I found "N" and he was my charmer. I could tell immediately he was going to be a ladies man when he grew up. Adorable and outgoing. I had one kid left to find.

One minute later the teacher announced we were to take our groups to the bathroom and then head out to the bus. Two minutes later sad little "A" was laughing wildly, bouncing off the walls and all over me like a hooker on Charlie Sheen. What? Exactly. Who was this kid? He had a bigger mood swing in that two minute time period than a hormonal teenage girl. I started to panic a little on the inside. I only have one kid and she's been a pretty easy kid. I didn't grow up with brothers or sisters. I don't watch friends kids for them. Holy Hell it begins to hit me. I only know how to manage one kid, mine. I am completely and utterly unqualified and absolutely for certain fucked. I now realize that since I never volunteer that Angelina Jolie-ish bitch gave me the class trouble maker and my daughters tales of the naughty kid in her room are coming back to me. Fucked

Finally it's my rag tag little yellow groups turn to go to the bathroom. They sent my group last. I get them in the hall and they look to me to lead them to the bathroom like I'm in charge or something. "Make a line yellow group, we're walking in a line to the bathroom. You guys know how to do that already right?"

Holy shit they totally did. I told them what to do and they actually listened to me. Maybe this won't be so  bad after all. In to the bathroom they went. My girls were in and out like little well oiled machines. My boys? Not so much.  After listening to giggling and what sounded like a lot of water running I finally had enough. In my nicest you're-not-my-kid-so-I'm-using-the-patient-sweet-voice-so-your-parents-don't-find-where-I-live voice I asked them to please finish up and come out. I honestly prefer to think they were in their powdering their noses and putting on their makeup than creating some sort of massive sink overflow that would be found an hour after we left the building. I don't know what happened in that bathroom and I don't want to know.

My my little yellow group was the last group on the bus. Of course. So we were spread out. I managed to keep a seat next to my own daughter and had the cute little future ladies man "N" one row back. The bus ride proved how further clueless and sheltered I am as I had to say for the first 176 times in my life to "N" and his seat mate "keep your hands to yourself."Halfway through the trip "N" was starting to beat the crap out of his buddy and I told him to knock it off. He looked at me with his big puppy dog eyes and said, "But he broke a promise to me, he promised he'd be my best friend forever and now he says he's breaking that promise but you can't break a promise because a promise is a promise and you can't break it."

My response: "You guys are going to have to work it out between you but you're going to have to do it while keeping your hands to yourself."

What I really wanted to say: "Get used to it kid, the world is full of promise breaking assholes, you can do better."

Then I had to repeat the keep your hands to yourself bit another 253 times until cute little "N" decided to tell me that his mothers birthday was on April 28th and she's a nurse part of the time and doesn't something else the other part of the time but he doesn't know what she does but she's not home when she's doing it but she's not a super hero because if she were she would totally wear a cape and his mom doesn't wear a cape. "N" likes to spill secrets. I kind of like this kid. I'm glad he sat near me. I now suspect "N" has a mother who is both a nurse and a stripper.

I see my little drama kid "A" a few rows back bouncing off the seats. I suspect at this point that when he turned his back on me at the school when he was crying that he secretly snorted a pixie stick he had hidden up in his inspector gadget jacket. That's ok, we all have vices. He's no more than five or six right? I can handle this kid. I've got it all under control.

We get to the theater. We exit the bus one mom at a time by calling out our kids color group. "Purple kids come on." "Blue kids now it's your turn." My yellow group was next. I could see fear in the teachers face as she realized we were going to have to cross the street with these kids whereas the twenty other area school buses filled with kids got to part on the theater side of the street. I too begin to panic. At this point little "A" is so wound up he may propel himself into orbit and chill at the space station for a while.

I line the kids up outside the bus and tell them they are each going to hold a friends hand. "A" gets to the front of the line to the lead the way. This was clearly a rookie field trip mom error. We get to the intersection, it's not incredible busy traffic wise but there are five million other school groups there and and that many kids in one place makes me nervous. I mean if you lose one or break one they are really expensive to replace.

As we were crossing the street "A" lets go of "L's" hand and takes off across the street into a large crowd from another school. In my sheer panic I can't remember "A's" name so I do what we've been doing all morning, I immediately yell out our group color name. "Hey YELLOW kid get back here, get back here right now YELLOW kid!!"

Ummmmm yeah.

It took me a minute to figure out why the people from all of the other schools were looking at me like I had just fucked Hitlers corpse in the middle of that intersection. Then as I quickly put two and two together and divided by five and then multiplied by eight and found the square root of OH MY GOD it hit me. There stands the white lady holding hands with four six year old kids while she screams in a panic "hey YELLOW kid" at the runaway boy. The runaway Asian boy.

And then I wanted to die because there is no way to yell back at a large crowd of adults and children  explaining your schools stupid fucking colored group system and that your group is fucking YELLOW. A little piece of my soul died right then and there and I vowed to find the person who came up with the field trip color group system and punch them in the face. And this was only the first half of the field trip.

The next field trip I'll be chaperoning is the one to the liquor store. Alone.

Fuck. My. Life.


  1. I'm lmfao at the visual of you yelling "Hey yellow kid!" Priceless.

  2. I can SOOOOO realate to the field trip hell and I too will no longer be a chaperone. Hang in there!

  3. I so can relate! I just went on a field trip with my daughter's kindergarden class and I felt like I needed to do shots afterwards! There is just something about being responsible for other people's kids in a public place that can make you crazy!

  4. Bwahahaha!!! That poor yellow kid... you've probably scarred him for life! *snicker* Mine is on his kinder field trip today. Notice I am playing on the computer and not wrangling the little monsters. I'll do anything/buy anything for his class, but I don't do field trips.

  5. LOL.....before child, the principal at the school where I worked asked the school psych and me (speech) to chaperone a field trip. I thought it would be great and get me out of work for a day. I came back traumatized and vowed 'Never Again'.

  6. omg!!! i am crying i am laughing so hard "hey yellow kid" so wrong!! i love it!!

  7. omg. peeing myself reading this post.

  8. Thank you so much for the laugh! I'm a single mom too and can totally relate.

  9. Yeah. This is pretty much why I volunteer to do EVERYTHING ELSE EXCEPT field trips.

  10. Yeah I realized early on in my son's life that I don't really like most other people's kids and don't know how to handle their issues. Occasionally I volunteer in my son's class if I can get time off from work, but I've never done a field trip nor will I. If I wanted to be responsible for 5 kids I'd have stopped using birth control years ago...

  11. I am so sorry to tell you this, but this is one of the funniest posts I've read in a LONG time. Anywhere.

    I just went on a field trip with high school sophomores and got surprised: It was WAY easier than I thought it'd be, and I wasn't even in charge of my own kid's group. :)

    P.S. I bet your daughter was BEYOND THRILLED that you were there, even though it didn't go as well as you thought it would!

  12. I might have just peed myself a little.

  13. i won't lie. i'm sitting here cracking up. don't worry though, you and your daughter will have a lot to laugh about concerning this trip in the future!

  14. Ditto what Melisa said. Funniest.Post.In.Forever.

  15. In light of your little mishap, School District has changed their policy and all future field trip groups will be named after animals (can't fuck that one up). You know like the pussies and beavers.

    Your story makes me WANT to go on a field trip. I'm sure that says something about me...

  16. Oh God, this is the second field trip horror story I've heard and I'm scheduled to be a volunteer at one in two weeks.

    If I start laughing hysterically when this post comes to mind, do you think they'll notice?

  17. Baa Haaa!!! Now you know why my 'eager beaver' mother involved in school functions have come to an end :)

    Yes, enjoyed most of the trips but after awhile you come to realize it is SOME ONE ELSE'S turn! Unless you are a full time volunteer Mommy of course. Then you are the EXPERT and vomit your worthiness all over the place with a bad attitude to those mothers who have the audacity to WORK or have daytime lives.

    Has been my experience that unless you are willing to devote your free time 100% to your child's school chalk yourself up as unworthy and RETREAT!!

  18. Oh my goodness. OH MY GOODNESS! Hilarious : ) In every single way. I like frumpy room moms in pajama jeans WAY better than hot Russian ones. Way, way better!

  19. Absolutely hilarious!!! I can relate, though it wasn't so bad. I was the rare "Dad" chaperone a number of years ago for son #1's field trip to Pumpkinville. I recall that my son preferred to sit with a friend, rather than me on the bus. I ended up sitting with "J", not to unlike your "A". The worst thing he did, as I recall, though...was to drool on me. Yes, at the age of five, he still drooled!! There were other highlights, but none approaching the high points of your field trip. I wish you many more!!! John (johndoh12 on Twitter).

  20. I am dying! I read this aloud to my kindergarten teacher boyfriend. He almost pissed himself, he was laughing so hard. This. is. priceless.


  21. I am so glad that my boss doesn't consider children's field trips a legitimate reason to take time off! I don't think that I could handle it. I think that I'd probably have a flask in my purse

  22. This is exactly why I even when I was a stay at home mom, refused to volunteer for field trip duty.

  23. I can relate to your story it can be very stressful. My sons last field trip did it for me. There school decided to take the kid on the public train instead of just geting a school bus result a bunch of hyper children who keeped inching toward the edge platform and had to be told constantly to get back for 30 min. When the train finally came it was during rush hour so the train was packed and trying to keep a eye on scattered kids was very difficult. I was so stressed.


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