So remember two years ago when I thought it would be super fun to chaperon Junior's fourth grade class field trip to Flagstaff? Well apparently a bus ride with 64 unruly ten year olds is a lot like childbirth. You basically forget the excruciating pain and are stupid enough to be willing to do it again a few years later.
Last Friday I accompanied Mac with his class on the same field trip. We left the school at 5:30 A freaking M and returned at 8:30 that night.
And of course, Mac's teacher, Mrs. B, the same rock star teacher Junior was blessed with, made sure she saved room for me on the nice charter bus so I wouldn't have to drive like most of the other parents. And an hour into the trip I wanted to punch Mrs. B for not allowing me the pleasure of riding in a car with grown ups who probably weren't screaming at the top of their lungs and laughing because someone wrote the word "butthole" on their Nintendo DS pictochat function.
There were a few differences with this trip that I really enjoyed. First, at the Northern Arizona Museum, they separated the boys and girls. The girls got to go make pottery and the boys got to dissect owl pellets. And I have to tell you, watching my son pick through a nasty wad of owl vomit without wearing gloves is not my idea of a good time, but the look on his face when he found a rodent skull was totally worth it. Plus I had two bottles of hand sanitizer in my purse so I was able to give him a proper sponge bath.
While the boys were picking through the nastiness, the museum docents walked around to help them or answer their questions. One of them commented to me about how the pellets these days were really small. "They used to be so much bigger," she said sadly. So I responded:
"Well, with the economy and all. Everyone is cutting back..."
I know, right? That is FUNNY! I am hilarious. But no, she just stared at me and never even cracked a smile. You see, people who live in Flagstaff are weird.
Which reminds me, I was right across the street from NAU and never even asked any of you if you needed any weed. How thoughtless of me.
Okay so where was I?? Oh yeah, owl pellets. So the museum was kind enough to allow the boys to take home any of the barfed up bones they found. Wasn't that nice of them? (Is the sarcasm reading through??) So my precious little boy reaches his hand out to me and says "Here, put the skull in your purse."
"Um, no. " I told him. "You are not putting a dead mouse skull in my Kipling purse. This is my travel purse and I am not putting puked up rodent bones in it. How can I explore Europe knowing this purse once carried an animal carcass? Put it in your pocket."
What the hell is wrong with kids these days? They are just so selfish.
After the museum, we went on to Sunset Crater, where I lost my voice screaming at one kid who kept running. The trails there are uneven and the ground is very soft. I knew the kid was going to fall. And wouldn't you know it? Boom! Face plant right in the black lava rock. I just turned to Mrs. B and said "Dude, what the eff? Why do you always give me the spazziest kid in your class to chaperon?" And she just laughed and said something about me being funny and she knows I can handle it. Whatever, man. I wanted to smack that kid but the ground beat me to it.
This time we were also able to hike the Island Trail at Walnut Canyon. And as we began the steep 180 foot descent on the trail, one of the kids grabbed the railings and started hyperventilating.
"Are you afraid of heights?" I asked him.
"No," he said, his voice shaking. "I'm afraid of falling!"
It was pretty cool being able to walk inside the cave dwellings once inhabited by Native Americans. But it was not pretty cool hiking my fat ass out of the canyon. Holy calf muscles Batman. My sweet little Mac, who never even broke a sweat, kept walking ahead and then coming back to check on me.
"You okay Mom? Want me to walk with you?"
"No," I told him breathlessly. "Go on ahead. Save yourself! Don't worry about me. I have had a good life."
What a sweet boy I have.
Needless to say I made it out of the canyon without dying. Without needing the rescue team to come get me. Without just giving up and throwing myself over the ledge. YAY me!!
On the way home I turned and looked at my sleepy child, leaned back in his seat watching the movie the teachers had put on for them.
"Did you have fun, buddy?"
"Yes," he said and squeezed my hand. "I'm glad you were here with me."
My heart melted as I reached over and pushed the hair out of his eyes. "Hey, do you still have your mouse bones in your pocket?" I asked him.
"Nope. I put them in your backpack."
Awesome. Puked up rodent carcass in my Kipling backpack. I can never put my passport in there again.