Monday, April 14, 2014

Legoland school field trip.

On Wednesday the first grade classes (and the K kids in SS's combo classroom) had their field trip to Legoland. I volunteered last year to chaperone, and busted foot and all I followed through. It was a hectic and fun day, but I also learned along the way. The first thing that became clear is that SS won't be in a school bus without one of us for a while.  As we were getting on the freeway the bus bounced, like they are known to do, and SS flew up on her seat. Had I not been there she would have hurt herself. Damn those buses have not changed since the last time I rode one. Hard to believe that after all these years they are as bouncy and not too safe.

There were enough chaperones that every parent had a group of three kids, there are 24 kids in the classroom.  SS chose the kids in our group and I was not surprised to find out that she chose two boys. Quite frankly I rather deal with boys any day than girls, except for my girl. The teacher, Mrs. S told me that one of the boys had just started school the week before, kinder, and was very shy. Mrs. S said that SS picked up on the boy's shyness and insecurity and reached out to him. I am glad that for as self absorbed as SS is, she is still aware of others in distress.

There was only one dad in the group and since he has a daughter, he was assigned two other girls. Now this is interesting, he was told that he needed to pair with a mom because of bathroom trips. I get that, as a guy he can't go into the girl's bathroom. But I was not told the same and I sure as hell was not going into the boy's bathroom. No one offered to pair with him, I volunteered, and I'm glad I did. He is very similar to P, and we did well together.

The teacher had requested that the chaperones bring backpacks to carry snacks for their kids. I went ahead and brought gogurt, string cheese, crackers with cheese, raisins and juice boxes. Again glad I did, because the snack consisted of a small bag of cheese crackers, wafers and a small bottle of water. The kids were not allowed to bring backpacks, and if they brought a lunch it could only be stored in a paper bag.  Another lesson, seven is too young for a child to be without their parents on a day long trip. No one is going to look after your child like you do as a parent. That being said, I went out of my way to treat my young charges like I would like SS to be treated.

The third lesson became glaringly obvious as soon as we entered the park.  The boys were angels on the bus. But once we got to the park they went into manic overdrive. In our buddy group, SS and I were the only ones who had been to Legoland before. Since the kids had no idea how much there is to do, they just wanted to do whatever was in front of them. We actually wasted half an hour in a maze with ball shooting guns.  Cool, but you can do that at any fast food restaurant play area.  SS was very unhappy because she wanted to see the 4D movie.  More important, they have the basement set from the Lego movie. Even JJ wants to see it. Alas, only SS and I had seen the movie and how cool it was, and SS was furious when no one else cared. I finally had to take my rightfully teed off girl aside and explain that the field trip was about the experience, not about what she could see. Since P and I anticipated SS's disappointment, we were prepared. I told SS that we will be spending a weekend Legoland in late September, AND we will be staying at the Legoland hotel. That really took the sting out of not doing what she wanted to do. SS was good for the rest of the day.

Back to that third lesson, having more than two kids is just plain crazy. No matter how well organized you are, it just does not work. When you have to split your attention with more than two, all the kids suffer. P and I have discussed this extensively, and more than two is all about the parents. Whether it is financial or emotional, the more kids you have, the less you can give them.  And to be honest, I'd have to think long and hard before even considering two kids at home.  Especially if they are close in age. There is something to be said about quality of life.

We walked 5.2 miles that day, and how do I know that? because D, my chaperone buddy, is a gadget guy, and had a nifty $100 wristband that keeps track of his vitals and daily activities. My aching foot will attest to its accuracy.    

Leave it up to SS to want to pair with the biggest kid in the classroom.  They look so funny together.

This is why we were an hour late, because some idiots  parked on the red zone.

SS's iPod came in handy because the noise on the bus, human and mechanical was too much. She really enjoys watching videos. We need to get JJ to download more for her.

The kids had a 45 minute class about structures,, and were then told to pair with a buddy and construct a solid structure.

This girl grabbed SS as her buddy.

But when it comes to Legos SS does not need a stinking buddy. She built the structure on her own.

But her buddy insisted on helping carry the structure and claiming credit.

SS's structure survived the earthquake! Half her structure did.

Class picture.

We had decided that SS would only get a Lego figure, because she has plenty at home.  But SS was such an amazing child through all the day long madness that I had to reward her behavior.

I left with three and returned with three, that's success in my book.

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