When my kids were in elementary school it went like this:
“Mommy, Mommy, pleeeeaaaase can you come to Baby Animal Day with my class? Please, please, please?! I miss you sooooo much when I’m at school and if you come you can be with me and all my friends! We can ride the bus together, and eat lunch together, and hold hands and walk around together to pet the animals! It will be so fun! Pleeeeeaaase?!
“I’d love to, sweetie!”
Hugs and kisses.
Yesterday, as I was getting ready to go to “Careers Day” at the BATC with my son’s 7th grade class, it went down like this:
“Why do you have to go, Mom?”
“I don’t have to go. I volunteered to go.”
“Ugh! Why do you do that to me?”
“What? Care about you? Want to be involved in your life and your education?”
“Yes! It’s so embarrassing!”
“Fine. I’ll stay far far away from you and your peeps so I won’t cramp your style, dude. But if all the kids start hangin’ around me and decide I’m ‘Da Bomb Mom’ and you walk up to me and say ‘Yo, Mom,’ then I’ll say, ‘You wish I was yo mom kid, now beat it.”
He got off the hook anyway because I wasn’t even assigned to his group. At least I was assigned to the same group as my friend so we could smack kids around together. Then my friend got moved to another group because one of the other mom’s had to trade because her son didn’t want her in his group.
I feel your pain, sister.
I think I rode the bus sitting next to the same girl that offered gummy bears to Ferris Bueller’s principal.
She’ll outgrow her awkwardness, I hope.
We were dropped off in the parking lot at 8 a.m. where we froze our patooties off while waiting for further instructions.
It is May, right?
I had a jacket on, but I didn’t dress for sub-frosty weather so I was especially distressed when I found out our first two stations were outdoors.
As I looked around at my shivering group, I realized nobody else received the memo about this activity being mostly outdoors.
At least I had a jacket. Many of the kids were just in shorts and t-shirts, including my son. I thought of all the mothers like me who said to their kids this morning as they ran out the door, “Take a jacket!” and got totally blown off.
Our first station was about construction careers.
Bob the BATC Builder and friends were all set up to let us dig, ride, and operate the heavy equipment used for construction. Lines quickly formed next to backhoes, excavators, and boom lifts. At first I just wandered around and watched the kids dig in, not wanting to take away turns from budding career interests. But my selflessness quickly wore off and I got in line to ride up a cherry picker.
I was freezing and I needed something to look forward to in order to pass the freakin’ frigid time.
This was a growing experience for me because I’m deathly afraid of heights. I don’t even go out on hotel balconies over two stories high.
Note: The place to overcome a fear of heights is not on a boom lift with three screaming teenage girls. “OMGsh, this is soooooo scary! Don’t look down! OMGsh, is that Jadon down there looking up at us? He’s totally going to see us acting, like, all stupid n’ stuff and think we’re, like, total newbs!
I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to be back on solid ground, except perhaps the time I spent four rainy, seasick, miserable, days on The Big Red Boat cruise line to the Bahamas.
Our next station at least had some of the displays semi-indoors. I asked some auto tech guys a series of quasi-interested questions for over twenty minutes just to stand inside the garage. Eventually I think they became suspicious of my motives and encouraged me to go visit some of the other booths.
This is when I came upon the most bazaar booth of the day. Under a sign that said “Culinary Arts” were a bunch of bloody chefs, and I don’t mean that in the British way. They had streaks of blood all over their cooking smocks and their faces were made up like zombies with gashes, blood, and human hamburger effects.
I was creeped out and confused.
Do they teach cannibal recipes here?
As we waited for an explanation, the zombie chefs started challenging personal space boundaries and got all up in our faces with their creepy faces. Just as I was about to abort activity, the one blood-free chef spoke up.
“Hi everyone, and welcome to culinary arts. We have a fun activity for you to participate in. These bins in front of me are filled with flour and wheat kernels. Just take one of these sieves and scoop it in the bin. Shake the sieve until just the kernels are left. Then take a straw, put the kernels inside, and blow them at the zombie chefs. When you hit one they’ll give you a Tootsie Roll!”
What did this have to do with culinary arts?
I mean, I’m no trade school administrator, but maybe a cooking demo, or a display of kitchen tools and uses would be more educational. Or maybe even hand out some food samples that weren’t commercially mass produced from sugar, wax, and imitation cocoa.
The kids didn’t get it either, but they were all over zombie pelting for some candy so they dug into the flour.
I was out on this one.
I wandered over to some other booths where I saw a freshly removed cow eye at the veterinary sciences booth, learned how to cut a mohawk at the cosmetology booth, and cleaned a dental dummy’s gums at the dental arts booth.
I did notice a common theme throughout the fair—candy (see yellow arrows).
These people certainly knew how to lure teenagers. Every booth had a big bowl, pile, or bag of candy to entice an audience to their displays.
Pumping 800 kids with candy in the early a.m. when most of them probably didn’t eat breakfast has hyper consequences.
My pretty lax chaperoning responsibilities gradually escalated as the morning went on.
The instructions we were given by the teacher in charge when we arrived were “Keep the kids from doing anything stupid.”
I assumed he meant nothing stupid enough to threaten public safety.
Mostly, the kids were really good. There was a group of boys from another school that got caught being inappropriate with the CPR dummy who got sent home immediately.
I hope their parents grounded them until they’re of legal age—sick jobs.
When the gig wrapped, we loaded the buses and told the driver to crank the heat. I managed to avoid gummy girl, but ended up sitting next to Opie who had a lot of fishing tales.
When my son got home I asked him about his Careers Day, “How was it?”
“I know. I’m so glad I had a jacket!” I rubbed in. “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
Well, at least he learned something.