Typically, when we have kids who aren't going on a field trip with us, they are told to stay home, because there won't be any kindergarten staff at school to supervise them. (We can get away with that because in Illinois, kindergarten is still not mandatory.) On the last field trip day, I had about 6 kids show up who weren't supposed to, despite sending no less than 3 letters home saying they had to stay home. Dori had even more than that.
So, of course, this time we sent several notices AGAIN. I even put it in my newsletter on Monday. I said I would be calling the homes of any students who show up that aren't supposed to. I didn't have any show. Dori, though, had 4 or 5 show up. What the hell is wrong with her parents?!?!? I don't understand why they are so disrespectful to her. When she questioned the kids about why they came, they all said something like, "I told my mom, but she said I have to come anyway." She was able to call some homes, but she was still stuck with 3 kids. Of course, now we're running late, so I took the rest of the kids to the bus, while she tried to find somewhere to leave them. How irritating for her! Thankfully, Mrs. M. took all 3 for her.
So, we rush off to the arena where the Pre-Kwanzaa festival was taking place. The bus driver dropped me off at the box office to pick up the tickets, then drove to the gate. Well, little did we know, this place was run just like the Hell-Hole!! I stood in line, in the freezing cold, without my coat, for over 35 minutes!! The damn box office was printing out the tickets as people checked in. What the hell?! Do you know how long that took? Like I said, I stood in line for over 35 minutes. By the time I had our tickets in hand, it was 10:30, which was the time the show was supposed to start. I went running all the way around the building to where the babies and Dori were waiting. We get checked in, then escorted to our seats. We get the babies all settled and excited about the show starting, only to sit for almost an hour. I couldn't believe it. Do you know how hard it is for 5 year-olds to sit still for an hour in an auditorium? Plus, all the "big kids" around them were being loud, and walking around, and their mean teachers made them sit perfectly still and quite! By the time the show started, half of the babies were almost asleep. And, to top it all off, they were starving! We normally eat lunch at 10:30, so I knew that was going to be an issue. I meant to give them a snack before we left, or at least on the bus, but with all the confusion with the extra kids and the check issue, I forgot.
We were told when we made the reservation that they show should be over around 11:45. Well, it didn't even start until 11:30!! Then, this group that put on the show has a procedure where they call one school at a time out of the auditorium as the buses pull up. So, of course, we had to wait to be called. But, after we sat for about 15 minutes, Dori and I decided we should just sneak out, since we had such a small group. (There were only 25 kids, and 3 adults.) Our babies were hungry and tired, after all! Luckily, as soon as we got downstairs, Dori saw our bus, and we were able to run right out and jump on, and go!
By the time we got back to school, it was 1:30. I don't know how the babies held on that long. I left all of them in my room with Dori to eat while I ran out to get lunch for us. They were so hungry, there wasn't a peep in the room. Too funny! After they ate, they watched a Yogi the Bear Christmas movie, and it was time to go home. Great day!!
Sometime during the show, the babies naturally had to go to the bathroom (since they had been sitting for two hours!) I took a small group of three of my girls first, and as we walked into the bathroom, they all looked around in awe, and one says, "Wow! These bathrooms be beautiful!" How sad! They all said they wished our bathrooms at school were like that. Gee, there was toilet paper, soap, paper towels, warm water....why would they want all that nonsense? Plus, there wasn't any graffiti, or just plain dirt and scum. How boring!! How sad and pitiful that a PUBLIC RESTROOM could be that impressive to 5 year-old girls. Gives you a little window into their world, doesn't it?
If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all.
---Pearl S. Buck
These babies are definitely falling through the cracks. The whole system is failing them, starting with their parents in most cases. God help them. And, THIS is why I drag my ass to the Hell-Hole everyday....