Raisins are people.
This is what I told one of the boys I was responsible for chaperoning during a field trip the other day.
This is also probably why I’ll never be invited back to chaperone for his class again.
..because raisins are people.
My son, who is four years old, had his first field trip the other day. I volunteered to be a chaperone for the trip. I did this for a few reasons:
1) It was my son’s first bus trip, and I wanted to be there for it
2) I hate working.
3) I’m usually the only guy who chaperones. This leaves me as typically the only guy amongst a group of moms…who look at you as sensitive and caring. It’s MILF-lover’s territory (and in some cases, GMILF territory...(grand-MILF's for the older generation).
So I was in charge of my son, and another boy named Dominic. Chaperoning in and of itself is not that tough – you need to make sure that your kids stay in your sight, listen when people talk, and – in general – that they don’t get killed or mauled by anything. Other than those responsibilities, it’s basically a vacation day (surrounded by moms – but I think I mentioned that already).
Kids being chaperoned usually aren’t very talkative with adults. This is where you have to get inventive so they don’t feel overwhelmed by authority. My strategy is simple: make stuff up and entertain them. This is basically to torture their parents when they get home and retell their day. I only wish I was there when they started mentioning the things I’ve said.
Anyway, here’s how it went, and what I said to keep myself entertained at the expense of four-year-olds.
Item #1 – Get their parents to build fake shit
My son, for some reason, mentioned an “invisible bathtub” in his room during conversation. I have no idea why this came up, or where he was going with this. Dominic looked confused. I looked confused. Deciding to run with it, I told Dominic that my son did, indeed, have his own invisible bathtub in his room (for the record, he does not), and because it’s invisible, it’s really easy for a dad to build. I told Dominic to go home, and tell his dad that he wanted an invisible tub installed. I also told him that if his dad didn’t do it, that it was okay to move his bedroom stuff into the bathroom and use that one instead.
Item #2 – Freak them out
As we were riding in the bus, we drove by a swamp. I told the kids to look for alligators as we drove by – which they did (please note that we live in New Hampshire). My son insisted that there were no alligators in that swamp, because it was too cold and alligators only live in Florida (although only partly correct, it’s one of the main reasons I don’t want to live in Florida). I disagreed, saying that many an alligator has been seen up north, and – in fact – the bus seats were made from the skins of alligators caught here. If you’ve been on a bus, you know the seats are green vinyl-leather…and look like alligator skin…so it was an easy sell.
Kids are so stupid.
Item #3 – Really freak them out
We somehow moved back onto the bathtub discussion again, where I asked Dominic what he would actually DO if he did have a tub in his room. He responded by saying, “I’d take a bath ALL the time.”
I said, “Well, if you took a bath all the time, you’d shrivel up. Haven’t you ever looked at your fingers when you stay in the tub too long?”
He looked at me and shook his head ‘yes.’
Then I said, “You’ll turn into a raisin.”
..now…I’m not sure how or why this next thing popped into my head…but it did. And I said it.
“In fact, raisins are actually people who’ve stayed in the tub waaay too long. They get all wrinkly, shrink and die. Then workers come and pack all these shriveled people into little raisin boxes and sell them to stores. They’re very healthy for you. People protein is some of the best protein. Did you know that?”
He and my son both tried calling me out on that one: “No they’re not!”
“Yes, they are,” I said. “In fact, the next time you eat a raisin, be very quiet and eat it in a quiet room. If you listen very closely, you can hear a tiny little “ow!” when you bite it.” (for added effect, I said ‘ow’ in this little, squeaky munchkin voice)
They’re sitting there horrified...faces pale.
I’d be surprised if either one ever eats a raisin again – but if they do, I bet they do it in silence...listening for the little "ow!"
I’m waiting for the hate letter from Dominic’s parents…and the love notes from the other moms.