Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Seventh Level of Hell (A.K.A. Kindergarten Field Trip)

Friends, get your favorite snack, your most cozy blanket and settle in for a long tale of woes and horrors like none other.  For I have traversed the portals of time, I have left human dimensions...and I have entered...The Seventh Level of Hell!  Also known as the Kindergarten Field Trip!

"Little, get up!  It's field trip day!"

Bad Sign #1:  "I know, Mommy.  I just want to sleep some more."  SSSCCCRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEECH!!!!!  This should have been a warning sign...you know, the Mack Truck that collides head-on with me.  Did I heed the warning?  No.  From this point on, I deserve what I get!

Bad Sign #2:  Little's class was the "green group" today.  Every one in the group, including un-medicated, freakishly involved parents such as I.  Not a problem, right?  After all, I did teach for 11 years in a school district whose colors were black, white, and GREEN!  I should have PlENTY of green shirts to wear!  But.......oh, yeah.  Since I quit teaching there over a year ago, I've given all of my green away to those who still live/attend school there.  Hmmmm.  Ah!  Here's a green shirt!  And, it has long sleeves--bonus!  It's only supposed to get up to 71 degrees.  Long sleeves should work nicely for our morning outdoors.

Bad Sign #3:  Said shirt DOES NOT FIT!!!  Now, this is actually a good thing.  It doesn't fit because it's too big--YAY!  (I have been working on this issue as you can read in my blog series "Fat Free")  No green shirt to wear, no time to run to the nearest beacon of hope--Walmart--what's a girl to do?  Wear a white shirt and write the word green on it?  Nah.  Wear a shirt that has green in the pattern, but isn't solid green?  SCORE!

All of the above occurred BEFORE 7:08!  What is it they say in baseball?  3 Strikes and you're out!  Perhaps I should have paid stricter attention to the signs....but, it was only 7:08 and I had not yet had my self-prescribed amount of caffeine.  Hence, we motor forward!

In case you'd like to know where the portal to the 7th Level of Hell is located, I can tell you:  The corner of FM 179 and Donald Preston Drive!  It's opening time, 8:01 AM.  The magic words that must be shouted at the tops of your children's and your lungs are, "MOM!!  WE'RE GONNA BE LATE FOR THE FIELD TRIP!  MOM!  I'M GONNA BE LATE!!!"  "I CAN'T GO!!  THERE IS A CAR IN FRONT OF ME AND IT ISN'T TURNING!"  P.S.  If you're in the school zone, and you're in the right lane, and you are NOT turning right, and it's 8:01 AM on field trip morning, TURN RIGHT ANYWAY AND SAVE YOUR LIFE--and the lives of 2 small children!  Or, don't get into the right lane to go straight when you only have 10 feet of lane left beyond the light!!

Finally!  We arrive at school and the teacher conducts about an hour of class....RePRiEVe for me!  "Oh, and parents, I'd like to remind you all that you are welcome to follow us to the Maze but no parent will be able to ride the bus.  Our buses will be filled to capacity with students and teachers."  Really???  AAWWWWW!!!  And I was looking SO forward to spending a joyful, noise-filled, 'Sit Down and Quit Yelling' ride with 100+ 5 year olds!  NOT!!!!!  We load the children and teachers onto the bus, the parents into their cars and OFF we go!

At this point, I should mention that the field trip is to the local Corn Maze...that's right.  We are taking 5 classes of 5 year olds to a maze cut into a field of corn.  Can you visualize this?  The corn stalks taller than the 6-ft. adult men who work there, and we are going to drag about 110 five year old children through this thing with nothing but some parents, five teachers, and a list of questions that we have to answer in order to receive the right direction to turn to find our way out of this maze!

Arrival!  As I exit the safety of my vehicle, I can hear the screams--of delight, I must say--from the bus and the bus is gently rocking back and forth, so I know the kids are jumping up and down, too!  Heaven help us!  As the teacher comes off of the bus and gathers all of my daughter's classmates around her, I hear her give a set of instructions that make me think, "Uh, I didn't agree to this!  I never signed anything and I could totally sue for this!"  She says, "Children, if your parent is here, go stand beside them and take one or two partners with you who don't have a parent here.  Parents, this will be the group you guide through the maze.  Every one partnered up?  Great!  Let's go!"  WHAT?!

Here's my pair...TELL me they don't look VIcIouS!

Into the bowels of Hell we go!  We have our list of questions and our instructions from the Maze/Hell owners:  1.  Don't pick corn off of the stalks.  2.  Don't pick anything up off of the ground.  3.  Don't run.  4.  Don't cut through the corn...stay on the paths.  Are you KIDDING me?  Which one of these is NOT encoded on a 5 year olds DNA????  NONE!

20 minutes, 5 questions and 3 wrong turns later, and much to my surprise and relief, we emerge from intestinal tract of Hell!  We did it...more specifically, I did it!  I got through the maze with the same two children I took in!  I didn't lose anyone and I didn't mame anyone!  We're out!  And, it's lunch time--what rewards!  We eat, we laugh, we visit, we enjoy the children and the other parents who, like me, still have that 'deer in the headlights' look but with a hint of 'okay, i am tough and i can conquer the world' smeared across their faces.

After we eat, I think, "This wasn't so bad.  I could do this again."  Then, the dreaded words that I've been praying not to hear are spoken in an angel's voice, "Parents, children, it's time for the hayride and pumpkin picking!  Are you ready?"  NOOOOOOO!!!!  Alas, we board the hay-laden trailer bound for the pumpkin patch.  As we ride, with dirt being thrown up into our faces because my spawn and her fiendish partner thought it would be great fun to sit right behind the tractor tires, we're given a lesson on pumpkins and subsequent instructions for when we get to the patch to pick our own....WHAT?  You're letting the kids OFF of the trailer to run rampant into a vast field of pumpkins to choose their own?????  Do you KNoW how long this will take!?  Have you ever shopped with my Little???  We'll be here ALL DAY!  In the back of my mind, I'm hearing the kind and loving voice of a dear friend of mine who is the world's authority on safety--she's like degreed and endorsed and certified and everything--"Oh.  This isn't safe.  Allowing children to exit a hayride without at least one adult per child to run around an open field next to a highway isn't safe.  I think we should all stay on the ride, allow the nice tractor-driver-man to cut 100+ pumpkins and hall them to your bus for your teachers to pass out at school.  Yes.  Let's do that."  And, yet...here we are...

Pumpkins in hand, back to the safety of the 'courtyard,'  all children accounted for, all parents accounted for but somewhat ragged and worn, it's time for the CowTrain and Pumpkin Pictures...A.K.A.  the places where parents can stand and breathe for a moment.

Praise the Lord, the words we've waited to hear all morning:  "Parents, children, we have time to take one more picture before we get back on the bus.  Let's all go to the windmill and have our whole class in the picture before we leave."

At 12:42 PM, the bowels of Hell opened up and I was ever so gratefully spat out, war-torn, dirt-coated, and exhausted.  But...I survived!


  1. i'm glad you survived and lived to tell about it... oh what the mother of a 3 year old has to look forward too!!! thanks for the telling! now i have a good smile on my face to go about my day!

  2. The whole Field Trip concept is not safe! However, many life lessons can be learned by all during adventerous, unsafe Field Trips. Such stories remind me to live right because Teacher Hell will be... Giving a TAKS test, during a field trip to a homecoming pep rally for all eternity!
    *I hope she picked the perfect pumpkin!

  3. OH MY GOSH!!! Pam, that is teacher hell! That is EXACTLY what teacher hell will be like!!

    Extreme insight must be added to your super powers list!!

  4. I don't know. I think you were lucky the field trip was a corn maze. My last kindergarten field trip was to a swamp - filled with frogs and other icky stuff they encouraged us to touch. Yuck!!

  5. Rhonda....NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Water, living creatures, AND encouragement to touch the creatures?????!!!!! AAAAAAAAHH!!!!!

    Pam, you have infinite super powers! i think Teacher Hell will also include "all while bound by Copyright Infringement chains just outside of the restroom door when your bladder's about to burst as your principal is droning on during a faculty meeting."