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Breaking out on his own at age 5

Submitted by on Friday, 12 June 2009 No Comment

field_tripI’m not supposed to be here.

I’m supposed to be at a museum 45 miles away, watching 80 kindergarteners ooh and aah over helicopters and fire trucks while they occasionally pay attention long enough to learn something.

I’m at home with Boots instead of on Big Guy’s final field trip of the year, though, after a giant baby-sitter fail. Siblings weren’t allowed on the field trip, and I had no one to watch Boots. Really, I don’t need a village but it would be nice to have a reliable helping hand once in a while.

I could see disaster coming yesterday evening, after I’d tried to call the alleged sitter repeatedly to confirm. No answer, and no returned calls. “I might not be able to go tomorrow, babes,” I warned Big Guy.

He wasn’t ready to give up – “Can’t you call one more time?” he asked about 7 – but by bedtime I’d accepted that I’d have to turn my allergic child loose in a world filled with friends munching peanut butter and jelly for lunch. And I didn’t like it much.

The peanut allergy explains only part of my melancholy. His teachers have done a wonderful job of keeping him safe all year, they’re trained in using his emergency medications and we’d gone over lunch procedure. I knew they’d do just fine.

The bigger reason I’m bummed: Big Guy actually wanted me to be there, and that’s rare these days.

Increasingly this spring, he’s begged me to drop him off at school and leave. Some days I still manage to drag my feet until time for the bell to ring, but other times I can’t procrastinate quite enough.

Plus 5 is so young for a field trip, and please don’t accuse me of being a helicopter parent raising a generation of soft kids. I don’t recall going on a school field trip at all until sixth-grade. There were plenty with Girl Scouts, but I was in grade school in the day when 40 kids crammed into classes – days we could soon be revisiting – so teachers weren’t eager to hit the road.

“Don’t worry about it,” the teacher said this morning when I told her I couldn’t chaperon. “We had 13 parents sign up. We’ll have enough.”

Oh, wonderful! Sixty percent of the kids in class have a mom or dad who cares enough to be there while mine’s sitting at home with That Baby Who Ruined My Life, I projected on Big Guy’s behalf.

Big Guy was OK with it, though, by the time I dropped him off this morning. I’d hit upon a way to sell my absence that made everyone happy.

“Tell you what,” I told Big Guy when he woke up at 5:38 this morning, an hour and 45 minutes ahead of schedule. “You go today and learn all about it. As soon as your school is finished for the year, we’ll all three go there and you can teach Boots and me all about it.”

Big Guy was thrilled that he’d get to play tour guide. Boots was excited that he’d get to go on his own field trip.

Me? I’m still a little bummed.

Dang baby sitter.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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