When one of the Moms from our kid’s school told me, “I don’t volunteer after October,” I had no idea what a genius she was.
Yesterday, I went on an all day, outdoor class trip with the grade fives to a local lake/15th reconstructed Iroquoian village.
Before I moan and groan about the cold weather and spelling of Iroquoian yes, I did read the weather report for the day, no, I didn’t have a real sense or a reasonable wardrobe to combat -12 degrees but with windchill and native lake junk feels like a wet, -zillion.
We started our adventure with an overly long walk in frigid temps to look at a lake that to my thirty-eight year old eyes appeared to look just like every other lake I would have spent less time standing around on pleasant, warm days with a delicious cocktail in my hand.
We went inside to look at a re-built “Long House” except this one was a “Short Long House” which was confusing even to the adults but it did lend itself to explaining the mullet hair cut also known as the “shorty long back.”
Boys acting like lunatics is never a surprise on these trips. There was a moment when we (the volunteers) were left alone with a group of kids who were tasked with piecing together some old pottery (wink wink, I could see the Pier 1 clearance sticker) using masking tape.
The other group sifted through dirt to find carbon material in the bottom of a mason jar.
How much trouble could a few misfits get into with just tape and some ground up carbon?
One boy had his face totally taped like Hannibal Lechter within seconds of being unleashed on the roll. Another had tape wrapped around his neck a dangerous number of times before we could unfurl the first one and fully revive him.
The carbon was quickly smeared all over another boy’s face so there was no skin exposed that wasn’t completely black with filth.
When the tour guide started the next segment, she did something I have never seen done in my ten years as a parent on ANY field trip, ever.
She showed the kids a trick with a bone she found in a giant bin of dirt.
“Boys and girls, did you know bones stick to things that are wet?” (I didn’t and I’ve watched a lot of CSI)
She licked her hand and sure enough, the tiny bone fragment stuck to her hand.
The kids oohed and aahed and then she did something I will never forget.
She took the dirty bone and stuck it to the end of her tongue.
Really? Is this the right audience to be encouraging dirty bone licking?
The kid with the taped up face was the first to pounce on the jar (If I had a nickel…) before I blurted out in my most embarrassing Mom-I-can’t-believe-you’ve-ruined-my-life-on-a-class-trip voice, “No licking the artifacts!”
I know the other volunteer Moms agreed (too cold to nod but I think it’s safe to assume a united front when it comes to mixing the saliva of 50+ kids with the saliva of every previous class who has entered the shorty-long house with the bat whose backbone they were savoring). The teacher backed me up on the no licking rule.
Some things really need not be said.
My ears, toes and hands were throbbing by the end of the day and my body was going through a serious chocolate covered pretzel withdrawal/seizure.
Then Hanna did something shocking.
“Mom, will you sit with me on the bus ride home?”
I’m already looking forward to next year.