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I agreed to chaperone for Take Your Children to Work Day tomorrow, because I've done it in the past, and it's pretty fun. It beats the hell out of office work, and really, in the past two years, we've never had any really serious disciplinary incidents. Last year one of the kids got in trouble for cussing another kid, and toward the end of the day, when a lot of the kids started getting bored and weary, it became harder to keep the group assembled and orderly, but overall, it was no big worry. They're doing it differently this year, and it is going to be less “observing in the workplace and seeing what a job is like” and more of a fieldtrip affair. It's supposed to be like a “fun” educational experience which will teach kids about the functions of city government, I think. In fact, I don't think the kids are going to be at City Hall much at all, and the bulk of it will take place at an exhibition hall, with bonus tours to a couple of museums and other sites. I'm hoping to get in on the chaperonage of one of the groups of kids 12 and up, because they get to go to the water treatment plant and the Kansas City Jazz Museum, two places I haven't visited yet, either. I hope they do tours up to the top of City Hall for views off the observation deck again, because that is really cool, and now I have a digital camera with which to take pictures off the tops of tall buildings.

Seriously, if you were me, what would you choose? The charge of shepherding a group of 6-8 middle-schoolers around on a field trip or a day of sorting and filing paperwork and pursuing research for citizens? Interesting fact: we chaperones were given tee-shirts with a logo of some kind on the front which identifies us as the responsible parties. They only had two sizes: X-L and XX-L. I'm not an X-L size of a person, but I do have a sewing machine and a reliable pattern for the kind of fitted tee-shirt I favor, so I am cutting it down to fit and re-making it to my own specifications. I expect to be the only person there whose shirt fits. I don't know what was up with the shirt sizes—I am guessing they weren't sure how many or how big their volunteers were, so they were hedging their bets against anyone not being able to get into a tee-shirt, and if more people showed up than they'd planned, maybe they'd make some of the smaller volunteers double up. As it is, you could easily get another entire me inside the shirt I was given, and while I'm not overweight by any means, I'm really not that small, either.

I got in a little hot water with one of my co-workers for wisecracking about my upcoming chaperone gig. I referred to the pursuit as “kid herding,” referencing my past experiences with restless children at the ending hours of these events, but my esteemed colleague took it as me implying that children are lesser animals, so an amount of apologizing, explaining, and butt-covering was in order. Sometimes I forget that most people don’t share my wry sense of humor. It's just as well he never heard me comparing very young infants to extremely loud potatoes.

I'm not one of those chicks who's all “OMG baaaaaybeeeeee” whenever I see a baby. I like kids. Kids have off the wall senses of humor–they are walking dada machines. Kids can be sassy and mercurial, but they can be incredibly charming, too. Babies under about 9 months of age generally don't strike much interest in me, but after they are old enough to laugh when you make goofy faces, and their parents have gotten over having to sterilize everything that comes near them, then I can hang with them. Ideal to me, however, is the verbal child. If you can ask me for the red crayon or explain that you bumped your elbow, not your knee, it's a good start, and if you can tell me that the dog's butt is stinky, that's even better. I usually like older kids pretty well, too, except for when teenagers are being deliberately annoying or inadvertently obtuse, but we've all been there, and I can still remember plenty of my own idiocy with cringe-worthy clarity. When they’re just being rowdy, however, that doesn't bother me. Hell, I'm still rowdy myself sometimes, and I'm definitely an official adult. I just have a better sense of timing and appropriate setting than most kids do. Usually.

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