Wednesday, October 28, 2015

San Diego Safari Park

A week ago we were surprised to receive an email from Mr. H. He lost his composure due to two kids misbehaving more than usual. Mr. H has the bulk of the rowdy boys this year, and a bad situation escalated to worse, with Mr. H raising his voice.  He apologized not only to parents via email, but to each child individually, explained he was not perfect, would strive to be a better role model, and asked for their forgiveness. We do appreciate his remorse and understand how difficult it is to keep 27 children on task, and behaving appropriately. If this happened with JJ (when he was SS's age), it would only be a matter of talking to him, allow him to process what he witnessed, and move on.

SS is a very sensitive child, the smallest things truly upset her. When she was in preschool we had a similar incident, so we knew to be worried. SS had been moved from the toddler class to the preschool group. That was a big change for her in both positive and negative ways. The toddler teachers coddled SS, something that did not help SS with the transition. One morning she said she did not want to go to preschool, which was surprising, SS loved preschool. When I asked why she said the teacher was mad at her, then the tears began to flow. I reassured her her teacher liked her, and was not mad at her. When I talked to the teacher she was upset that SS thought she was mad. As it turns out the previous day a few kids in SS's class were not listening. SS was not a part of the group. The teacher admonished the rowdy group and said "You guys I'm not happy." That was it, and SS internalized that admonishment and was hurt. The teacher had a talk with SS, praised her behavior and apologized for the misunderstanding. I wish we could say SS has come a long way in that regard, but she is still hypersensitive.

Now we have SS scared of her teacher, although she still likes him.  SS was really looking forward to the field trip to the Safari Park, but was hesitant to go. Mr. H talked to SS again but our daughter was still fearful of him. The school district determines how many parents are permitted as chaperones for field trips. The two chaperones had already been selected, no room at the inn for a third. Thankfully the teacher and the principal came up with a solution for SS to participate. I have a purple volunteer badge, that means that I can be around the kids unsupervised. SS is required to ride the school bus for the field trip. I will be allowed to join them but must drive on my own, and of course pay for my admission. Not a problem on either requirement. It was a good thing I was there, because one of the mothers was a no show.

SS gets her first glimpse of me as they arrive. She had been looking for me during the drive to San Diego, did not see the van and was becoming anxious. I arrived at the park way ahead of the bus, lead foot that I am.

Front and center, loud and proud.

The deer were a hit with the kids, especially the one standing on its hind legs.

The okapi was hands down our favorite animal. 

Lions laying around enjoying the sun.

SS loves tigers.


I am not a fan of bats, they are rather creepy but SS loves them. I don't know if it is about Batman, but she really likes bats. I had to suck it up for my baby girl and look at the yucky creatures.

Beautiful creatures.

Our beautiful creature.

The kids were allowed to spend five minutes at the splash pad.

SS looks like a world class runner on this action shot.

Another one of those moments when you have to suck it up and allow your child to do things that were taboo for you. Abuela was big on germs, cleanliness, and that translated into a strict animals are filthy and are not to be touched  rule. At least they had brushes for the kids to use. I'm still uncomfortable with petting zoos, but I realize it's just conditioning. I don't want SS to miss out because of my hang ups.

I am glad I was able to join SS on the field trip. Initially the principal decided an appropriate punishment for the rowdy boys was they could not go on the field trip. I don't know why, but she changed her mind. They were there, and there was only one chaperone. It took me about twenty minutes to figure out the three boys identities. I asked SS and she confirmed my suspicions. Those boys are very high maintenance. And this is coming from the mother of a very high maintenance boy.

Mr. H is a very nice person, but very inconsistent, I could see how the kids get out of control.  He is naturally loud and comes across as yelling, so I wonder how much louder he was when he lost his cool. One minute he is the kids best friend, the next minute he is stern. I wondered if it was situational, but SS told me that is how he is at school. Again I can understand how the kids take liberties when he is on I'm your friend mode. The important thing is that SS was able to participate, and had me by her side amid all the madness.  It was quite a crazy day, I found myself texting P about how freaking LUCKY we are with SS. Sure she is a hellion at home, and sometimes makes us want to bang our heads against a concrete wall until they crack.  But she is such a well behaved child at school and wherever else we go. The most remarkable part is that she is so good despite our fly by the seat of your pants parenting. Yup, lucky indeed.  

This one cracks me up because it's classic SS. Everyone around her is going wild and rolling downhill. I told SS she could join them but she declined. There she is watching it all, and when she decides to join in the mayhem, she does it her way. She tentatively walks around, then walks backwards. That was a big rebel move on her part. SS is not comfortable with chaos, or what Abuela calls bullicio (I think).

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