When asked if I would like to be Parent Helper for my six-year-old's Skyrail (gondola) excursion, I hesitated. Would I? Would I want to be in charge of a number of children who are not my own?
- What if I lost one of them?
- What if they were naughty? What parenting tools would I be able to employ with someone else's kids in a school environment?
- I couldn't give them 'The Evil Eye', because the kids don't know me and would just think I'm having a fit or something that makes my eyes go wonky.
- I couldn't scold them too harshly or I'd have the parents on my back. Besides, I might make them cry if I put my cranky pants on and they, unlike my own children, don't know that my bark is worse than my bite.
- What if the kids didn't like me? I'm not exactly a fun mum. I'm more of a practical mum. Acting goofy and getting on child's level is not my forté.
I needn't have worried. The teacher has high expectations for behaviour and the children were well behaved, while still having a great time. And we didn't lose one child.
What did I learn on the day?
|Taken on a previous family Skyrail trip*|
- Six-year-olds can say the funniest things. One boy in my group chatted my ear off throughout the entire trip. As he was bending my ear during lunch, one little girl in the group next to us, caught my eye and whispered in my ear, "SOME people never stop talking."
- If you say "ahhhhhhh" whenever the gondola reaches a tower and the cabin starts to jutter, your voice goes all juttery and six-year-olds love that, and so will you.
- If you relax and have fun with your charges, they will fight over who gets to sit next to you in the gondola, after every stop.
- Long drop toilets will be a topic of conversation for six-year-old boys long after the toilet break is over.
- A common brown tree snake (I really hope that's what it was and not a more deadly type) will slither fast in the other direction when 25 pairs of stomping school shoes head its way.
- A group of uniformed school children trailing behind their teacher in rows of two are a great spectacle for tourists, even more so than the actual flora and fauna they came to see.
- The sap of the mangosteen tree can be used as medicine and there's a red berry from a certain bush that can make you go blind for two hours if you eat it.
- An excursion with your child's class can actually be a lot of fun, and you will be "Parent of the Year" in your child's eyes...at least until the next time you make him clean up his room.
- I can be goofy, OK, maybe not goofy, but not such a stick-in-the-mud that my family seems to think I am.
*This is because no photos were allowed to be taken of the children except with cameras provided by the school. Of course we couldn't control the numerous photos and video footage taken by tourists everywhere we went.