Friday, November 18, 2011

Chaperone Duty

It's field trip season, which means a whole new level of chaos in the home. You got permission slips slipping to the back of the drawer. Field Trip fees that go until the last minute to be paid and then in the confusion are paid twice, once by daddy in the morning when he drops off and once by mommy in the afternoon when she picks up. You have to pack extra clothes to forget in the backseat of the car, and an extra hat to leave on the school bus. You also must load your kid up with extra snacks to be kept in your kids jacket pocket until spring. And finally there is CHAPERONE DUTY. I don't know why I just shouted, I think it's a nervous tick.

I recently saw the sign up form with an empty line calling my name. "Sign here or you are a crappy parent". Actually, I was really wanting to go and see what the teachers and kids were like that are now shaping my little guys personality and memories, so I decided to kill some of the vacation time I should have used earlier this year and I signed my name. Plus, I totally succumb to guilt trips and don't want to be a crappy parent.

Chaperone duty is like the first day of high school. No matter what you do, you look out of place. The chairs are designed for kids to sit and adults to fall. The coat racks are installed at the height daddy will hit his head, and the cups are so small, daddy forgets its a cup of water and shoots it like a shot a tequila, slamming it down on the miniature table.

Despite the feelings of awkwardness it's a joy being a part of their little world for a day and getting to meet their friends and taking part of their routines and rules.

As a chaperone I was put in charge my kid (no more risk than usual) plus one (uh oh). This is the hardest part of being a chaperone. I was terrified that I was going to break my plus one. The way I roll with my kid probably isn't what other parents do. He's my buddy, I know when he's hungry, I know when he has to pee, I know when he's about to melt down, I know when he's tired and I can tell when he is hot or cold. But my plus one was as foreign as the allure of "Under the Tuscan Sun" to a 30 year woman. My paranoia got the better of me and I interrogated my plus one the entire trip. Are you hungry? Are you allergic to anything? Peanuts? Eggs? Cats? Pleather? Are you cold? Do you have to go potty? Are you tired? At one point my son and plus one looked at me as if I had three heads. They shook their respective singular heads side to side turned around and went to play. I'm pretty sure plus one said, "your daddy is a nut job"to my son as they ran to the slide.

As nerve racking as it was, I survived my first field trip in 25 years and I bring back knowledge so that other Stunt Dad's will prevail.
  1. Bring a whole bunch of extra shit in a backpack. Clothes, blankets, snacks, Swiss Army knife, crayons, coloring books, napkins and WIPES. That shout wasn't my tick, it's for emphasis. I don't think you will actually use anything but the wipes, but the backpack can be used as seat cushion while riding on the incredibly uncomfortable school bus. Yes, in 30 years they still can't make a school bus seat that doesn't cut off circulation at the tailbone. However the buses do have speakers embedded in the ceiling, so you'll have that going for you.
  2. Don't Give Your Kid More Attention. Your job is to help everyone assigned to you and keep everyone safe, happy and relatively clean. So don't laugh louder at your kids joke, or do just what they want to do. Treat all the children as equals and then spoil your little one when you get home.
  3. Listen to The Teacher. Yeah, you may be all grownsed up, but the teachers are in charge. So put your listening ears on and mind their instructions. It's strange, but common adult sense doesn't go very far in a classroom of kids. They have clever ways of getting kids to listen, obey, be safe and have a good time. So listen to the teacher. Now touch your nose so I know you heard my words.
  4. Don't Do Heroin in the Bathroom. It seems obvious to you and me, but this Wisconsin parent thought otherwise.
  5. Be Aware of Food Allergies. Food allergies are on the rise in the US. In a ten year span the number of children under the age of 18 with food allergies grew by 18% to 3 million. Find out if your plus 1 is allergic to anything like eggs or peanuts.
  6. Don't Be a Social Butterfly. Chaperone time is not time for the parents to chat about last nights game. Your job is to keep kids safe and smiling. Chit chat is fine, but keep your attention to the kids. After all, they are the future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Huh? Sounds strangely familiar...
  7. Make Potty Breaks. Field trips are so fun they make me want to pee my pants. So just think how those little ones feel? They are totally distracted, out of their element, have a strange parent asking them if they are allergic to stuff, and there are a million new things to see, touch and lick. Potty time is the last thing on their mind until it's too late. So unless you want to have a pee drenched kid sitting on your lap for the bus ride home, make it point to offer frequent potty breaks.
Follow these tips, be cool and you are bound to have fun.

Any other Stunt Dads have a story or chaperone tips to share?

StumbleUpon Pin It Now!

No comments:

Post a Comment