Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mama's First school trip

The Snot Noses singing at the The Amsterdam Music Hall
I am so proud of myself: I survived my first school trip as a chaperon! It may not sound like an accomplishment to most people but honestly, for me, I felt like I climbed Mount Everest!

First of all, I was scared out of my mind that either I would lose my own kid or lose someone else's kid. And well, I don't have a great track record when it comes to losing kids! Secondly, I am looking after kids that do not speak my language. I have to speak their language and God knows how insecure I am about speaking Dutch to such little critics. It's sad, but when I speak it to the Dutch kids, they always correct me. So, I had to be in top form and able to be quick so the little snot noses wouldn't escape.

And well, most importantly, I was worried about the judging eyes of "The Juffrouw"! Yes, Miss Juffy who all but said my kid was the worst behaved in the class. I just knew her beady eyes would be analyzing my every move and scrutinizing my parenting skills. I felt like I was getting ready to take a standardized parenting test and there was no handbook to study!

Of course I didn't get a wink of sleep. I spent the entire night imagining discipline-scenario-after-discipline-scenerio in my head. What if my son ran away, should I drag him back by the hair? What if another kid ran away, how should I react? So many crazy hypotheticals went around and around in my head until by morning I was exhausted!

So its my debut as Outsider Mama goes Chaperon and I am exhausted, wet and nervous and ready not for my Judgment Day! We arrive at the school all soaking wet from the typhoon we had to bike through and Juffy is waiting with "The List." She immediately runs over to me and reads off the three names I am responsible for: Naughty (random kid), Naughtier (my son's best buddy) and Naughtiest (my son)! It wasnt until she called out the assignments did I realize the other parents were assigned to 4 or 5 kids. What a humiliation! Juffy had no trust in me...she thought I could only handle three. The shame!

I sucked in my tears and decided I would show her! I rounded up my boys and told them they had to stick with me or I would call their mama's and they would have to go home. Naughtier spit right in my face! I had to think quick, This was not gonna be easy. So I pulled my boys to the back of the line. I made them hold hands and once the other mothers were out of earshot I dared them to even blink the wrong way!

They walked to the bus with no problem and everything went well at concert...I was on top of the world, I did it! We just had to walk from the bus to the school.

And I was just 20 yards from the school, we were about to cross the bike path when disaster struck. We followed the crowd across the path but I didnt think to look to see if bikes were coming. And sure enough, up flies a grumpy grampy yelling. Juffy immediatly turns around and sees it all. The old man is telling me off saying that I need to watch the kids correctly, blah blah. I was devastated, I was red and Juffy had seen it all! I could see her disapproving squint and the slight shake of her hed like a mother does when a kid does wrong.

I guess two of the other parents could see the shock on my face and took pity. They began arguing with the old man. They had my back! And in front of Juffy!

But, never-the-mind, I had failed. I knew I had failed when Juffy stayed close by for the rest of the walk back and even personally gave my boys an escort across the last bike path crossing into the schoolyard. But the funny thing was...I didn't care at this point. I had survived the most stressful two hours of my life...no kids were lost and they sang in their concert. And the three Naughties told me goodbye with smiles! And that's a mother's highest seal of approval!


  1. you are brave to have given it a try, Catina! and you all lived to tell, so well done!

    1. Thanks Deb, I still can not believe I survived it. Im not sure I will be volunteering again anytime soon until my Naughty reforms into Better Behaved!!


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