School Field Trip from Hell ~I have been on several field trips with my daughters over the past couple of years; so when I volunteered to go with my daughter’s first grade class to an outdoor field trip, it was not my first rodeo. I’ve spent their lifetime taking my girls and their friends on field trips to zoos, farms, historic sites and parks. We’ve been on outings to museums, nature centers, butterfly habitats and pools but nothing could have prepared me for the field trip I embarked upon last Friday. I’ve done a shitload of babysitting and I’ve been doing play dates now for about 5 years. I love kids; all kids, mostly or I did. But this field trip really tested my love for children, more specifically…other people’s children. It will be remembered as the the field trip from hell.
My Ella was so excited for this first field trip of the year. So many parents volunteered to chaperone and drive on this field trip that most everyone only had their own child, that was, except for me. I was assigned a little girl who turned out to be a Nellie Olsen. You remember the show Little House on the Prairie and that awful little girl who was always terrorizing sweet little Laura Ingalls? No? You know the type…spoiled, loud, obnoxious, loves to belittle and berate others, sneaky, generally intolerable and worse than that, she was mean. The moment our eyes met, I could see that she was going to test me. I was optimistic though that I was going to be the mom who made the Grinch child’s heart grow 3 times its size that day. I made up my mind to be very kind to this little girl, no matter her behavior.I would meet it with kindness. I had no idea how hard it would prove to stick to that plan.
Not surprisingly, things didn’t go quite as planned. I guess school field trips seldom do when you are dealing with small children. But it wasn’t the usual someone peed their pants, someone had a meltdown, someone lost their tooth or someone got lost. It was much worse. The other child, let’s call her Nellie, for the sake of protecting the innocent (what she might grow out of this abomination that she is right now?), started our field trip off by promptly disagreeing with me. It was a sweltering 50 degrees and I told her to bring her coat. She refused. I asked again and she again refused. I tried one last time, she smirked and refused. I bundled my child up and we headed out to the car. She tripped my daughter. I reminded her to be careful or someone would get hurt. Once in my car, she complained about the car seat. She complained about the music . My daughter tried to speak, Nellie spoke louder. My phone rang, she spoke even louder. I asked her to stop. She ignored me. I really wanted to scream “Can you please EVER for the LOVE of GOD Shut.the.FUCK.UP!!! She pouted then resumed an ear bleeding scream of tall tales and bullshit; telling Ella that no one liked her (Ella). Ella looked deflated. You know that friendless, oddball, booger eating sort of kid that gets picked on by all the other kids and then makes herself feel better by trying to take others down a notch? That’s Nellie. I usually tell Ella to be kind to these children because they need the kindness more than most. I told Nellie to stop spreading gossip and those were not very nice things to repeat. I was parenting overtime on that field trip.
Nellie is one of those needy children. You know the ones who hug on moms who are not their own and push the kid whose mom it actually is out of the way. I couldn’t shake her and I was getting frustrated because I couldn’t spend any actual time with my daughter. We arrived, Nellie was cold. She blamed me. She was pushing smaller children out of her way and knocking them over. She was a force. Grabbing binoculars while they were still attached to it’s tiny owner. She’s a bully. I asked her to stop shouting over the man giving the presentation to the children. She knocked my Starbucks out of my hand. She was annoyed with me. I was annoyed with her.I tried to take a photo of my daughter, Nellie jumped in the photo. Every.Single.photo! This kids was dancing on my very last nerve.
The kids are ecstatic to be allowed to dig for fossils. Tiny anthropological hands armed with gardening shovels, buckets and headed to unearth a treasure. My daughter gently removing earth and dusting off each rock to discern whether is was a trilobite or crustacean. The children were in a state of suspended fascination. Then Nellie bulldozed her way to the center of the digging area, surrounded by 30 tiny children enamored with their first anthropological excursion. Nellie dug with the fervor of a dog trying to locate his favorite bone. Dirt, rocks and fossils were flying everywhere. Kids were crying. She was unphased. This child was exhausting to everyone.
We left, Nellie wiped her mud covered slickers on the back side of my chair. What a asshole! We drove to the next location, she gave a running commentary on how her parents would do things differently; different route, better car, they’d know where there was construction and it wouldn’t have taken so long. Apparently, they are perfect and also extremely smart as they had the good sense to not accompany Damien on this field trip. To my horror, I watched in my mirror as Nellie taunted “My mom gave me lots of money” and with that she took her dirty wad of one dollar bills and smacked my daughter in the face. It took everything in my body NOT to stop the car and leave this kid on the side of the road. Instead, I reminded her that it was not acceptable behavior and demanded that she apologize to my poor humiliated daughter. I’m sure you are thinking , how fucking long is this story. Me too! But no, it gets worse.
We reached our destination, Nellie Olsen ran off. At every exhibit, she was fingering something, almost dropping or breaking everything. I asked her not to. I demanded that she stay with us. She wanted to lag behind. I said no. She spent her money on the first thing she saw and then changed her mind. Then I noticed Nellie holding a small vial of stones that she hadn’t purchased. I questioned her. She gave me several versions. I left Ella with another chaperone to try and prove or debunk the stories that Nellie gave me. Each of her stories were nothing more than that. In the end, not only was she unpleasant she was also a tiny little thief. Mostly, I think she is a little girl in desperate need of some quality parenting. I feel sorry for that little girl because children are not born assholes they are made into them by lack of guidance. Lucky for Nellie that this field trip didn’t fall on shark week, things may have went a lot differently. I went home that night and thanked God for my sometimes bickering daughters, who I thought were sometimes mouthy but are in comparison angels. I used to think all children were wonderful and every field trip was fun, now I know better.
Have you ever been on a field trip from hell? What happened on your field trip? How did you survive the field trip?