Of late I have found myself volunteering to do stuff I really would probably rather not do.
I have helped out at school fairs, joined the PTA and recently went on a school trip with Seth’s preschool.
I don’t know how I end up in these situations, I just find myself going “yeah why not” before my brain engages.
Maybe it’s my desperation to be one of those ‘good mums’ that I see around. More likely it’s my nice nature. Whatever, there I was, at the school gates at 8.50am and raring to go.
I used to love school trips when I was younger, well except the one where they discovered I had chicken pox at Chessington Zoo and no one was allowed to go near me. That one was a bit of a bummer actually, who needs that enforced alienation as a child? It’s probably had long-term effects.
Anyway, I digress. I think I partly volunteered because I anticipated it would be like one of those well planned, all in, absolute tours type of things.
I was designated a small group consisting of Seth and two little girls who I didn’t know. They seemed nice enough, they didn’t sneer at me and they seemed to hang on my every word so all was good.
However, with great power comes great responsibility and I had to take on ANOTHER new name. Not only am I Anna, Annie, Mummy, Mum and Mother, I was now also…
I had to carry a box to the bus and so made my group hold hands and follow me Pied-Piper style down the corridor, I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed the power. Then I remembered that, not actually being one of those ‘good mums’ I see around, I didn’t actually know my way around the school to the main entrance and so designated a 4 year old to guide me. The power had shifted.
We boarded the coach, I was handed a couple of those cardboard sparkle bowls
“Oh dear God what have I signed up for?”
I sat with Seth, the girls sat across from us
“This is SO exciting…” “Look at the sunshine” “What do you think we will see there?” “I can’t WAIT to get there” “Am I having fun yet?”
I looked at Seth, his face pressed against the glass as it always is when we travel by public transport. This is why I helped out, to see his joy. I tried really hard not to think of the window germs all over his face…
The coach moved, the excitement moved up a notch and then it began.
“I’m tired, are we nearly there yet?” “I’m bored, how long will it be?”
*Mate, it’s only about ten minutes away, we’ve only been travelling four. You’ve got to rein it in*
IT’S BEEN 6 MINUTES.
After what felt like a lifetime , we arrived at our destination – The Rainbow Factory, a land of wonder and imagination.
“I’m hungry, is it lunchtime yet?” “No, it’s 9.45 am…” “Snack time?” “There are no snacks”
*LOOK OF HORROR*
The Rainbow Factory is a great concept, a fairytale land exploring “storytelling through imaginative play and the performing arts.
However, a whole day in one place is a big ask of thirty 3-4 year olds.
By 11am they decided that they had done more sitting than they would like and started to get antsy. One of my cohort decided she didn’t like me very much and decided to go off with another Mum. I don’t blame her – I asked her to stop picking her nose, I was a joy vacuum.
I needed coffee.
Much to the delight of everyone, it was lunchtime. The delight was short-lived.
“Why does he have a chocolate wrap and I don’t?” “I don’t know, maybe because your mum is more concerned about childhood obesity. Just eat your quinoa and kale nicely.”
The rest of the day was largely a lot of preschoolers declaring their disinterest in creating a beginning, middle and end of a story and being a bit pissed off that snack time and mud kitchens didn’t exist in this fairytale realm (this is by no means a reflection of The Rainbow Factory (which is awesome) rather a reflection of pre-schoolers)).
“I’m hungry” “I’m poorly” “I want to go back to school” “I need a nap”
The coach home was a more muted affair, pretty much every child had a danger nap. Literally, the only joy of going on the school trip was being able to prod Seth so he didn’t fall asleep.
So what did I take from my school trip?
Preschoolers have a small attention span, smaller than you could ever imagine.
One hour sitting is considered too much sitting.
Kids like their routine too much to throw a school trip into the mix.
They’d enjoy a bus trip round the block more than any event you have spent hours planning.
Seth is actually a LOT better behaved than some kids.
I know why teachers drink wine.
I won’t be volunteering again.Until next time….
This is a collaboration BUT that doesn’t make the whole event any less traumatic.