You will never understand stress and exhaustion until you have been on a child’s school trip where you have to use public transport. I still don’t think I will ever get over it.
I am the ‘School Trip Mama’, I have been on all of Albert’s school trips including the one to the postbox across the road. Being an ASD Mama you kinda have no choice – No School Trip Mama = No School Trip for Albs.
So this week I was lucky enough to accompany 60 year 1 students on their school trip to The National Gallery (I would say London but we live in London and its not as glam as it seems). We took the bus!!! Yep thats right – THE PUBLIC BUS! 60 5/6 year olds and 10 adults. Well 2 buses because it was quite busy. So we get on the bus and it takes almost 2 HOURS to get travel a distance that normally takes 30 minutes. THEN the buses decided to terminate early. The stress could be seen on all the adults faces, busy central london, 60 kids and 10 adults to get off buses safely and have them all counted TWICE and then to wait for another bus for everyone to get on and then be counted AGAIN!
We get to the gallery and it was fine, we were very proud of ourselves as adults – we made it!!! It was hot and the kids just wanted their lunches (you know the free ones the school provides and the Tories want rid of) – can’t say I blamed them because I was starving, and the sandwich I had made myself was burning a hole in my bag. What they don’t tell you when you decide to sign up to accompany a school trip is that you get no break! You spend the lunch 30 mins opening bottles of water, cleaning up messes, answering questions and doing loo runs to actually be able to eat your sandwich. I managed to ram half of it down my throat before anyone noticed.
Once feeding time was over we were having a our very own guided tour. Our tour guide was nothing short of AMAZING. She was captivating, enthusiastic and the children actually loved her. I was excited because I love hearing all about the artist and the passion of the guide because they tend to pick the paintings they like the most. BUT NO! The guide made an announcement to the adults that we needed to police the area and make sure no one took photos of the painting she was talking about because tourists like to take sneaky (and obvious) photos of groups of english kids in uniforms in museums and galleries. I thought she was being over cautious – nope she wasn’t. It was literally like swatting flies for an hour!
Then it was home time…back on the bus (oh joy!) this time the 60 kids and 10 adults got on the same bus. this wasn’t at all ideal. Upstairs filled up quickly so the rest of us sat downstairs. I was lucky because Albs and his partner fell asleep – how I have no idea because it was the bus journey from HELL! My ears are still ringing nearly a week on! The kids were feral! They were just so so loud. I know understand why they need playtime outside – there is just too too much energy they need to get rid of. We got back to school at 3.32pm – so I was 2 minutes late picking Sid up from nursery #BadMama.
The kids all did some amazing little sketches and they loved being out of the classroom for a while and they learnt lots about the art. SO it was a very worthwhile trip. It was lovely to hear about their interpretations of the art.
Although the questions from some of the children did make me blush – like ‘Why are there so many naked people?’, ‘What are they doing to his leg?’ (The Circumcision of Jesus Christ – I will leave it to your imagination but it wasn’t his leg), ‘Why does it say its a boy they have long hair?’ and my favourite…’Why does it smell like dead old people?’.