I got to spend twice as much time at Field Day as my children.
In the morning, while M and the big kids were out, I was a playground monitor. It was pretty boring. Ironic, too, because I am very laissez-faire about the playground. On my own, I fully support kids going up the slides and climbing slightly too high and running wildly. So I mostly stood around, except when kids from M’s grade were playing, and then I took photographs. I’m on the committee for the fifth-grade yearbook, which means that next year several other mothers and I will be scrounging for photos of everyone in the grade. So I walked around soliciting models. The other interesting part of Playground Duty was observing the various teachers’ styles. Next year M may get any one of three teachers, one of whom she’s had already, and two who were strangers to me until today. Teacher 1 walked up to me and said hello. After we’d introduced ourselves, she walked around taking photographs, smiling and chatting with the kids the whole time. Teacher 2 ignored me and never made eye contact and mostly sat down, although she did take a few photos. So now I have a preference when I didn’t before. The whole teacher/class assignment thing is gripping and suspenseful. Our school has the kids meet with the following year’s teacher and classmates for a few minutes on the last day of school, and I love that, because it gives the kids a chance to see that whoever they have is Nice, and they can identify a friend or two in their class, so they don’t have to fret all summer. Meanwhile we parents, who have opinions about the teachers and friends with whom we’d like their precious darlings to spend most of their time, spend the weeks leading up to this revelation full of angst and speculation whenever we get together, then when the kids talk about it, we valiantly present cheerful and neutral fronts, because of course it will all work out great. Absolutely.
I ran home for a quick lunch, and if I had been clever, I would have looked in the mirror and noticed that although I’d smeared sunscreen on both girls and my arms, I’d somehow forgotten my chest. Alas, I didn’t notice this until much later. So now I look like this:
In the afternoon, I had “Bucket Brigade” duty, which was surprisingly taxing, because the younger kids are not so awesome with the spatial awareness required to pass a bucket full of water from point A to point B. Also, a few of the kids didn’t want to get wet, which was problematic, since each bucket was punctured in several places for Maximum Wet Fun. Perhaps next year there can be an alternative line for children not interested in MWF? Seriously, during one kindergarten session I had two separate, simultaneous fights over line territory and one child crying because they’d skipped his bucket-passing turn and another little girl whom I snuck out of line because she clearly dreaded her turn. I actually threatened to make some kiddos sit out. Which, hello, I did not think that I’d need to Bring the Hammer on super-fun field day. But whatever. There was also one little child who was miserable. He kept sobbing, and one adult after another would attempt to console him for as long as they could before they lost all patience. Because the whole time he was sobbing it was their Break-and-Eat-a-Popsicle time. And it is difficult to maintain Optimum Patience with a child who insists his life is miserable as he sits outside in the sun eating a popsicle.
By the end of the day, the girls and I were exhausted. M still had an evening birthday for which we had yet to buy a gift, and J had what is usually one of the highlights of her week, Open Gym at Cartwheels. I dragged them both along to Target, where M found a gift for her friend and a t-shirt that she loved for herself. I suggested that she offer the t-shirt as a gift idea for her friends, since her birthday party is next week. She countered that it could just be a gift from me. I reminded her that she was only getting her new bed from us. We went all through the store, and when she saw that I fully intended to check out without buying the t-shirt, she decided that she would put up her own money for it. I can’t blame her. It’s a pretty kick-butt, M-esque t-shirt:
We returned home and J decided that she couldn’t possibly do 90 minutes of gymnastics, but M was rarin’ to go for the birthday party. As for me, I was in pajamas by 7 pm.