Today was field trip day — a day I rustle up my happy face for The Kid so she can enjoy having her mother with her. Don’t get me wrong – I think field trips are great. They get kids out in the real world, away from classroom learning into authentic environments. And she has a great class—they’re rambunctious and curious. Pluses all around. But I think the Dept of Education should throw parents a bone on field trip a day. Sure, I know there are major deficits at work — but really a few small perks would make these days so much more enjoyable — and likely have parents beating down the doors to sign up for the next one.
Here’s what quickly comes to mind:
1. A masseuse. Chaperoning kids is exhausting – particularly in New York where a Subway ride is often involved. By the time you’ve reached your destination your shoulders are bricks from stress and carrying the snacks, water bottles and our own lunch. Which leads to…
2. A chef. If they can cook a four-course meal in the Sahara for the Sex and the City gals, I’m sure someone can wrangle a battery-powered hot plate and craft up some tasty extras for the parents on the fly. We’re not talking foie gras here…but really some light appetizers shouldn’t be that difficult. Have the students do it and stitch it into a chemistry lecture on thermodynamics.
3. Manicurist. Field trips can often mean time just sitting around — not what us helicopter parents are well known for. Museum crafts are usually aimed at the kids, as are the movies, lectures and tours. And with parents itching to help build that pagoda with proper right angles, why not distract them with a quick mani/pedi. That’s likely to freshen up any lagging parent — and let the kids finish their own work in peace.
4. Libations. Or what a dear friend likes to call ‘Mama Juice.” Rotating shifts of parents could tuck into a nearby boite for a glass of something cold— or even decant into a water bottle and share among friends. Too few parents along for anyone to safely disappear for a round? Sofia Coppola makes cute pop top cans of her pink bubbly and they come with a straw too! Just like the kids!
5. Goodie Bags. Kids get them at parties and maybe handing them out after field trips might help bring more of a jovial mood to these events. The bags themselves could be stocked with anything — a paper fan, some breath mints, maybe a few chocolates, a cell phone battery back-up and a small vial of perfume — the later particularly valuable during the summer months in Gotham when our streets grow ripe in the heat and humidity.