Yesterday was Jr’s first official school field trip. Like with permission slips and busses and “completely disposable packed lunch required.” Like for REAL field trip.
Also, with chaperones. EXCEPT, since it was the first field trip, half the kiddos’ in his kindy-prep class had parents who wanted to chaperone, and the teacher didn’t want to deny any of the parents the opportunity to witness this momentous occasion, so she let everyone who volunteered join.
I was one of those parents. And I lived to drink tell about it.
At 9:00 a.m. sharp under cloudy skies, 28 little energy-balls loaded on to two tiny busses, and off they bumped down the road with a line of carpooling parents convoying behind. 20 minutes later the whole kit-and-caboodle rolled up at a pumpkin patch located on the edge of the suburbs where sprawl gives way to wide open farms. What kind of hilarity/insanity ensued on those busses I will never know – Jr was tight-lipped about his first bus rides. I guess the Preschool code deems that what happens on the bus stays on the bus, yo.
With the abundance of parents, I had kind of pictured in my mind a paparazzi-style pack of us following the class around snapping pictures and looking conspicuous. But OH NO NO – if we were going to go, we were climbing in to the trenches with the teachers!! We each got two kids, our own and one other. I referred to them as my “accountabilabuddies,” amusing myself (and exactly not one other person,) to no end with the South Park reference.
Jr was so pumped – even in the chilly wind of a Colorado plains Autumn morning, he was way too excited to notice the cold. Accountabilabuddy numero dos was less impressed and talked mainly about when lunch would be, even as we lumbered through the field on a wagon pulled by a tractor and Jr squee’ed and squirmed with glee on the other side of him. (Honestly, it was pretty dang cold until the sun finally poked through, but come on dude, FIELD TRIP!!)
Each “friend” (as they call kids in preschool world,) got to pick out his or her own pumpkin with only one rule: it had to be small enough that the child could carry it without help. 15 minutes later a pack of empty-handed kids loaded back on to the wagon with 14 parents carrying an armload of kid-selected pumpkins, because four year olds? Not so much with the listening.
At lunch my formerly hungry accountabilabuddy suddenly swore off solid food, pounding his Capri Sun while side-eyeing the rest of his bag’s contents. Jr snubbed the Lunchable that was his special treat, opting instead for my pumpkin seeds and prosciutto and leaving me with slightly gummy crackers and ham. (He was happy to take the cookie off my hands though.)
Then there was goat feeding (no shit,) followed by handwashing and me pouring an amazing amount of hand sanitizer on to both of my accountabilabuddies up to their elbows (because seriously guys, do you even know your hands can go places that AREN’T on your face!?)
Which brings us to the pinnacle of the pre-k pumpkin-patch-apolooza. The one thing that every kid probably told their parents about when asked about the whole deal; AND the one thing that made accountabilabuddy number two grin and giggle and shout.
The “mine car ride.”
As it turns out, the mine car ride is actually a train of mini hay-ride-style wagons pulled by a tractor out into the fields and around a course designed to make Keri cry. (No? Well that is my story and I am sticking to it.)
It was FAST – way faster than I thought it would be – and I swear I heard the lady driving the tractor cackling maniacally she snaked us over built-up bumps and around crazy sharp corners. I froze my smile in place, reaching behind wooping accountabilabuddy B to clutch Jr’s arm because in my addled mind CLEARLY one of those kids was going to be thrown from that contraption, and dangit if it was going to be mine. Thankfully the cackling driver returned us to our place of origin (the barn, NOT the throne of Our Father, though I really thought it was going to go down that way for a minute,) and we disembarked.
The majority of Jr’s class is still firmly ensconced in the ritual of the afternoon nap, so some pretty significant cracks were starting to show in the behavioral foundation of the group as a whole. There was a fair amount of whining, dragging, hanging, and shouted refusals at this point. Must be group picture time! The parents tried in vain to position worn-out kids on and around an old-timey pickup truck and get everyone to hold still(ish) for a pic. It was like telling a nest full of hornets to smile and say “cheese.” ( I can’t wait to see if any of the parents there actually got a good shot – mine are a hilarious stop-motion series of the chaos.)
One more potty break, and back to the busses/cars for the return trip to school.
An hour later I was daydrinking chardonnay with a plateful of not-diet-approved chicken wings, because that ill conceived dare mine car ride left me with an acute sense of YOLO that could only be quieted with cheat food.
So we survived the first field trip.
Pretty sure I have a conference call the day of the next one… whenever that might be.

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