The “C” Word For the Preschool Years: Chaperoning

We are almost 9 months into preschool, and I can’t help thinking that in the time it takes for a human baby to gestate, I should definitely understand what’s going on in the preschool scene.  I mean, I should understand the rhythms of the other parents and share a vibe with them since our kids are in the same school.  For the love of circle time, shouldn’t there be more common ground than not common ground at this point?

I thought so.

But there’s nothing like a call for preschool chaperones to really drive home my deepest fear: I don’t know what the fuck is going on.

Sure, I thought it might be fun to shepherd a bunch of 3-year olds to a “working” farm one day.  Who doesn’t love a jaunty bus ride on a rickety old school bus?  But I also thought it might be fun to get a pedicure while some other mothers watched my kid pet a domesticated pig.

Is that so crazy?

The real drama started when the teachers announced that the number of chaperones would be limited to three. GASP!  Only three lucky mothers would be selected from the group of us to load her purse up with Purell and head out to Green Acres.

There was a lottery, a panel of impartial lottery number selectors, a PriceWaterhouse representative to ensure that the drawing was fair– all to avoid the spectacle of hurt feelings and devastation for those not selected this time.

Fair readers, do you think I was chosen? Do you think I got the morning off for some ME time with my favorite pedicurist, or do you think I was selected to get my hay bales on and enjoy unlimited whiffs of cow excretion?

Check here for my latest post at Mom.Me to see how I charted the waters of the Chaperoning Sea.  Then you can explain the hoopla to me, but I still don’t get it.


44 thoughts on “The “C” Word For the Preschool Years: Chaperoning

  1. Oh, how I LOVED your post. All I’m gonna say is this: Can you and I skip the chaperone lottery and go get a pedicure together? Because I really don’t understand what the big deal is! I tired leaving you a comment at but they won’t let me sign up! Maybe they know what a bad mom I am for not being that into the pre school field trips?

    • YOu know what, I have no idea how to leave a comment at Mom.Me either. I got locked out a while ago and they must have smelled my non-chaperoning-loving ass. Honestly, I. Don’t. GEt. It.

  2. That is funny and perplexing. I completely understand the moms that. Desperately wanted to go, but showing up for the drawing? And crying? That’s pretty extreme. As a nanny, I was a chaperone on field trips, and it really is fun. But it is also a pain trying to keep.track of your assigned kids and dealing with issues. I would never have been disappointed if I couldn’t go!

  3. Responsibility for more kids than I already have??? No thanks. Want to chaperone the upcoming middle school dance? Me neither. I also know my kids behave so differently when I’m there. And it’s not the good kind of different. It’s the “you’re 9…get off my leg” different.

  4. Trust me…those that missed out will get their opportunity when their tiny tot turns into a teenager and volunteers them (for 25 points extra credit) for an outing to the zoo where you aren’t exactly sure which group is better behaved; the teenage science club or the spider monkeys!

  5. I wanted to go to Chuck E Cheese and Petsmart last week w/my 3 yr old’s class. Did I really? No, I didn’t. I didn’t want to go to work and I wanted a reason to not go. If that came in the form of wrangling other people’s hardheaded heathens (what almost all mild mannered children turn into at the threshold of CEC), then so be it. I didn’t go. My husband did. Later, I lamented my inability to share that time with the boy. Wild eyed and skittish, he looked at me and yelled, “Savages, the lot of them!”

    • Now, geting out of work is whole ‘nother matter. That field trip didn’t fall on a work day otherwise I would have stapled myself to the back of the bus and joined them, lottery be damned.

      On Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 10:35 AM, Outlaw Mama

      • That’s what gets me. Whenever there’s been a trip and they could accept only a few chaperones and I didn’t get chosen but still wanted to go, I’ve gone. I just drive myself and still wind up with extra kids. Once it was a movie (I cannot pass on the movies). Another was a farm with the absolute best slide ever. Screw the hayride; let me slide again. Or, we’ve gone back to a place that I couldn’t go with the kids. Then it’s even better because they’re able to explain things or tell me where to go to see all the cool stuff.

    • Just read it and had to come back to give you my best MY ABSOLUTE BEST Nancy Kerrigan Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy cry. You’re welcome.

  6. It’d be my luck, I’d win one of those allegedly coveted spots and wind up in a fender-bender. No thanks. I don’t get the big to-do over all of this. My daughter, The Diva, says one of the ladies that is a repeat offender, I mean chaperone, is downright scary. I’ll take absent versus scary any day. And if it’s any consolation, the older they get, the less I know about what’s going on.

  7. I with you, I don’t get it, either. My daughter’s school went to a “lottery system” for field trip chaperone selection, and the moms were all elbowing each other to get to the sign up table. I stayed back in the corner by the cookies and coffee…

  8. As a certified germaphobe (read: right thinking person) petting zoos and farms where you touch animals send me over the edge. (I once saw my son french kiss a goat at age 3. He lived, but that image is burned into my memory and it makes me wretch just typing about it)
    There were so many volunteers to spend their only child free hours AT SCHOOL they had to do a LOTTERY DRAY? Lawd!! I’d count my lucky stars there were so many suckers and run to the nail place as swiftly as my minivan would take me. –Lisa

  9. At my son’s preschool, most field trips require parent transportation, so I’ve never witnessed what you’ve described. I also can’t fathom it. If these mothers are that gung ho, why wait for a school field trip to go to some of these places? That way, you share the experience with your child without having to worry about anyone else’s kid or schedule.
    Am I being too logical?

  10. The thing about chaperoning is that I realize, about 4.7 minutes into the trip that pretty much I hate all the other children on the bus, and I’m not real fond of my own spawn either. I blame the air in those yellow school buses, which always holds just the faint tang of vomit. I figure I do it once. A year. Maybe. And I do NOT chaperone dances. Mamma’s gotta have her limits & there are things better off unseen: one’s 12 year old boy attempting to dance with a girl is one of them.

  11. I found that the parent helper scene was a rerun of high school…favorites, cliques, and me, hanging with the clueless! My son’s quirky behavior was so puzzling I always “made it” on the list 🙂

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