Thursday, March 5, 2009


Monday night my mom and I were talking on the phone and I told her that on Tuesday, I was chaperoning Casey's field trip to Busch Gardens. She knows every sordid detail of how difficult it has been for me to adjust to Casey's new school. Mom was totally supportive and said, "Don't screw it up."

So on Tuesday I tried extra hard to be an attentive and responsible chaperone. I was prepared to be in charge of three or four kids, but the kindergarten teachers were apparently not so keen on entrusting more than one kid with me. Justifiably so, I guess, when you consider the one I was assigned:

And before Tuesday, all these teachers knew about me was that I couldn't dress my kid in the right uniform on the right day and couldn't even remember to send Valentines to school on the day of the Valentine's party. So can we blame them for wanting to protect all the other little kindergartners from me? I might get distracted by the flamingos and leave them in the bathroom or something. But they probably assumed I would be highly motivated not to lose my own kid (silly teachers).

See Casey there? He's the one with his hand raised. The guide just told the children that possum are the only animals in Florida that carry their young in pouches. When the guide let Casey ask his question, he said, "But what about sea horses?" The guide said, "Okay, let me clarify -- possum are the only mammals in Florida that carry their young in pouches." That's pretty much how the whole day went. The guide would tell us something, Casey would ask a question that illustrated how she was dumbing it down for the kindergartners, and then she would clarify her answer. She eventually started ignoring Casey's raised hand.

Hey look! Flamingos! Casey -- look at the Flamingos! Casey?

Anyway. At the end of the field trip, the chaperones were allowed to sign their own children out and drive them home instead of following the bus all the way back to the school. Our friend JP plays in a show at Busch Gardens and we had just enough time to catch it before we needed to leave, so I signed Casey out, the teacher said, "Have fun!" and off we went to the Doo-Wop Show.

There's JP sitting on the stool at the piano. He's great. The show was great. Everybody was happy. After the show, JP came down to say hi and as we approached him, we hear, "CASEY! CASEY!" We turn around and there's our guide running down the aisle to the stage and with the entire cast of the Doo-Wop Show and all the other parkgoers who were at the stage to talk to the performers looking on, we get a lecture on why we were not allowed to stay in the park after the field trip and that we would have to come with her immediately to be escorted out of the park. The only reason she knew where we were was because I had told Casey's teacher where we were going and when the guide started freaking out because we weren't with the rest of the class when we got back to the education center, Casey's teacher had started calling my cell phone to tell me we were in trouble. I'm pretty sure that guide had it in for us -- Casey had been showing her up all day.

So Mom, I'm sorry. I got myself and your grandson thrown out of Busch Gardens. I screwed it up after all.

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