Day at the Museum

I spent yesterday with Ben’s third grade class at the Museum of Natural History. It’s great to still be at that stage in life when your kids aren’t mortified by your presence. Though I do look forward to being the mortifi-er rather than the mortifie-ee. I assume it’s much more fun.

When I told Bryna I had signed up for this trip she just laughed at me. And I admit my expectations and the reality were slightly different. I thought I’d be hanging out with Ben and a few of his buddies while taking in the ancient bones of t-rex, stegosaurus, and the rest. No, I didn’t read the fine print. I had inadvertently signed up for chaperone duty. And while that may have different connotations for a high school dance, chaperoning third graders is mentally and physically exhausting.

I was assigned a group of five kids. My only charge? Don’t lose one. So I spent all morning counting to five over and over again. In between the counting were split seconds of terror when I momentarily couldn’t find one. When I got back to Todd School, someone asked me how the museum was. I really have no idea – all I saw were the backs of five heads.

What I really wanted was to get five leashes and hook ‘em all up. I’d look just like one of those professional dog walkers you see in Central Park, minus the plastic baggies. I also considered duct taping them together and wheeling them around in a shopping cart. Either method would have been much more humane – for the chaperone.

After shepherding all five of them back onto the yellow bus, I felt an extraordinary sense of relief. Of course this quickly turned to nausea as the bus pulled out and I realized I hadn’t ridden on a school bus for about 25 years. They really are horribly uncomfortable. But Ben and the rest of our group had a great time and no one got lost. I think I’ll stick to shepherding my congregation.


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