Wait, let me back track.
Growing up, I knew of a family who never let their children go on school excursion. This OTT rule extended to high school, which made it seem even more absurd and out of touch. I mean, how do you even begin to explain to your teachers that your parents have absolutely no faith in them and that yes, you will have to spend the day in the school office while the rest of your year group have a fantastic time rolling down the Kurnell sand dunes. Anyway, I digress.
Recently, the parents of this family were fore of mind when I, as a parent helper on excursion, actual lost a child.
This kid was kind of bratty, not interested in following instructions and definitely not keen on learning about Australian colonial history. So basically, he was a regular eight year old boy. Of course, I knew I was in trouble the second this child was assigned to my care alongside ten other kids. On the bus, he was the loudest, and off the bus, if I couldn’t hear him being jovial, I would panic and dash around between the other 60 odd kids on excursion trying to locate him.
After a terribly uneventful couple of hours, where said child actually enjoyed having leg irons put on in a lesson about convict life, he managed to dash from view when the group sat down for a quiet lunch in the Botanical Gardens.
Ah f@*k! That was my first thought, followed by, why didn’t we just keep the leg irons on? But how could I blame the child? I was the adult in charge.
I was living my worst nightmare and ready to speed dial the police.
After calling out like a madwoman who had just lost a child, his best mate run over to announce he had locked himself in one of those fancy self-closing toilet cubicles and pushed all the buttons at once so the electronics were all confused and non-responsive. I laughed from relief! While his teacher berating him from the outside for not asking for permission to use the bathroom, I was just thrilled to know he was safe.
In those next 15 minutes waiting for the door to auto release, we casually chatted through the brickwork. Turns out he was quite a funny and entertaining kid. Just not one I would want to have on my watch ever again.