Thursday last week I went on a school trip. Festive shenanigans at a pantomime with 90 primary aged children. I expect you’re all smiling about this, thinking how cheery and Christmassy?
Well bah humbug to that. Describing it all would be nigh impossible but I will say that one parent helper sent out a Facebook plea reading simply “send help”. I think possibly “send help and alcohol” may have painted a clearer picture.
Here’s what I remember of Thursday – numbed as it has been by exhaustion, sleep deprivation and a mix of wine and chocolate:
1) The teachers had stationed two of us ‘mums’ by the gents toilets…. The result of this was that I have now spent significantly more time in the blokes’ loos than I ever had in the entirity of my previous 30 something years. In turn this means I’ve learnt:
- 4-6 year old boys cannot reach a urinal. They should be strongly urged to not try.
- Blokes really can’t aim. By the end of the show the floor was absolutely a puddle.
- Men stink.
- Children cannot hold their bladder.
2) Pantomime villains can be terrifying to the very young. How many children can one teacher have on their lap? I didn’t quite complete counting as there was a lot of squirming and moving and I wasn’t sure which limb belonged to which little person, but it seemed to be quite a lot.
3) A journey back from the pantomime which ends in a city centre rush hour, will not be short. It will be significantly longer if it’s also dark and pouring. Longer still if you get stuck due to an accident and police closing the road. A wee bit longer again if the bus is too big to perform a turn in the road.
4) 4-6 year olds on said bus at said time will be very tired. They were indeed Very very tired – to this extent:
5) Such a long journey with the above described little people will require a roadside stop for a toilet break. This break took place on a grassy verge in the dark. Two people on the bus passed children to me, I held them up as they watered the grass. I passed them back to the adults on the bus and this cycle continued. Later I would discover that my only option to wash my hands was with a baby wipe.
6) The joy of this journey was completed by a child having a number two accident on board. More than once.
Anyhow we made it home, and considering it all the children were remarkably well behaved. Our arrival back was accompanied by the sound of parents waiting to collect children cheering, the little ones on board snoring and us helpers yawning.
Of course what I hadn’t bargained on was the text message the next morning:
We have a confirmed case of norovirus. You have the choice whether to bring your child to school.
Well. I thought about it. I had spent 8 hours with the children. I had spent much of that time helping them go to the toilet and hand washing was not always an option. I gulped. I began watch.
Every twinge, every tummy rumble was noted.
Norovirus for Christmas? Not quite what my wishlist had contained.
I’m relieved to say now that I escaped it. And have solely gained a cold and lost a voice.
The school is now fumigated and out of quarantine and the countdown to holidays continues. Righto, it’s off to move an elf for me…