Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The field trip that was worse than a horror movie

Today I put on my Mrs. McAghon name tag and chaperoned Alison's field trip to the Minneapolis Fire Fighters Museum. I also had to take Oliver along. I wasn't too worried about it. Until I found myself laying on the floor of the museum on my stomach with a coat hanger in my hand trying to fish a car that we didn't own out from underneath some old piece of fire fighting equipment. Then there was the time when we were counting up all of the kids and we were missing one. And I couldn't figure out which one it was. It was Alison. Not only is she MY child, she was also one of the 4 kids (besides Oliver) I was supposed to be in charge of. I rock.

There was a room called 'The Fire Prevention and Safety Room". In this room was a small house with different rooms in it, and the front was covered in plexiglass so you could see inside. There was a small plastic guy falling asleep in a chair with a cigarette, a dryer with the vent full of lint, some bad wiring...the whole shebang. There was also a man hyped up on fire prevention speedballs or something, giving a group of kindergartners a talk about fire safety. He went well beyond the 'stop, drop and roll' bit. He told them about being wet and touching electrical outlets, and then made his point by making a spark come out of some room in the little house, complete with a nice, loud sizzling sound. He made the living room, where the guy was falling asleep smoking a cigarette, fill with smoke. He made the wall behind the dryer glow orange with fire. He even emphasized his point by some pretty horrific true life stories. One ended with a little boy being badly burned and scarred because instead of stopping, dropping, and rolling he ran to his father, feeding oxygen to the fire.

The whole time (well, except when I was on my stomach out in the museum fishing a car my 3 year old had stolen from the play area out from under some old piece of metal) I stood in the back of the room and watched Alison. She was on the edge of her seat. Soaking up everything that was happening in the little house, and remembering every word that guy was saying. I knew we were going to have a problem. Ever since we told her about the smoke detector and what it's there for a few months ago she has been nervous about fire. When fear monger bill was done with his speech and it was time to move on, Alison turned around with the rest of her classmates. But instead of running happily out into the museum to play on an old fire truck, she ran to me and grabbed onto my leg. Her eyes were red and brimming with tears.

I managed to calm her down, and she had fun the rest of the trip. Then we came home and before dance class she gave Oliver a speech about how he shouldn't touch anything electrical when he's wet. And she reminded him about how to stop, drop, and roll. And she asked me about our dryer's lint trap.

Then came bed time. Oh, man. At one point Oliver was showing her how to crawl out of bed and into the hallway in the event our house starts on fire to help her calm down (apparently he was paying more attention that I gave him credit for). He also very helpfully reminded her they could go out the window if there was fire in the hallway. She begged him to stop talking about it. To finally get her to bed, Silas had to promise her our house would not start on fire tonight.

I know that most of her class did not come home with a brand new fear of fire. In fact, I'm pretty sure she's the only one who took everything to heart as much as she did. That's just the way she is. She worries about stuff most kids don't worry about. Stuff that she should be trusting Si and I are taking care of. Even while I'm telling her not to worry and we've got it covered and her job is to be a kid and have fun and OUR job is to worry about everything, I know exactly where she is coming from, because I was the same way. I remember thinking that if I wasn't going to worry about this or that and remind my parents, maybe they would forget and then whatever it was wouldn't get done. And to tell you the truth, every once in a while she does remind me about something that I would've forgotten had she not said anything. It's taken me many years to learn how to not sweat the small stuff. I hope I can make her figure it out much sooner.

Although, come to think of it, your house starting on fire really doesn't fall into the "small stuff" category. More like the "stuff you don't have total control over" category. I can't really help her out with that one.

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