Baby E started preschool this year. She only goes for a few hours a day, but it’s enough to let her socialize with children her own age. They color, play, and start to learn their numbers and letters. She was so excited to go to school. Mrs. Revis got a tad emotional about how quickly our little girl is growing up. Her preschool is attached to the actual school she will be attending next year for kindergarten, so she’ll be with the same kids as she moves up in grades (which is cool).
A week before Halloween, their class had their first field trip. They were going to a farm to pick out their own pumpkins. The farm also included a petting zoo, playground, and other kid friendly activities. My wife decreed that one of us had to go with her. I had vacation time. She didn’t. So, I had to volunteer to chaperone on this field trip.
On the signup sheet, it stated that chaperones would be responsible for their child, plus one other. While, I was looking forward to sharing this experience with my daughter, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about the “one other”. I’m pretty patient with what I call “my kids”. “My kids” include my daughter, my nieces and nephews, and my friends’ children. I have very little patience with any child that is not one of “my kids”, mainly because I shouldn’t have to deal with them if they’re not on that list.
When we got to the school that morning, it was revealed that because so many parents signed up to go on this trip, I was not being given an extra child to watch after. Woohoo!
Once everyone was accounted for, it was time to get on the bus. Because the school system of our town is independent, they don’t have money to pay for full busing services. Almost all of the kids who attend the school have to get their by either walking or getting dropped off by their parents. I drop my daughter off at school every morning before I go to work. Therefore, she had never been on a bus before. It freaked her out a little. For the first 5-10 minutes of the bus ride, she grabbed my hand and wouldn’t let go. Eventually, she got used to it and let go.
When we got to the farm, they first put on a little puppet show for the kids, talking about all the animals they had there and what kinds of crops they grew. Baby E was into it. I quickly became bored. The puppet show mercifully ended and we moved onto the petting zoo. There were all kinds of animals, some you were allowed to pet and some you weren’t. There were the normal farm animals, like cows, horses, and chickens. Then they had some odd ones like llamas and a camel. Her favorite was probably the sheep because they gave the kids food that the sheep would eat right out of their hands.
After that, we loaded up onto a wagon and were pulled along on a tractor ride. This also scared her a little and I had to hold her hand most of the time. The tractor pulled us to the picnic area where we ate. The playground was right next to the picnic tables so kids immediately ate two bites of their lunches and then bolted for the slides and swings. This is also where the chaperoning thing fell apart. Even though I was technically only responsible for Baby E, I found myself watching out for a few other kids who were just running rampant without their chaperones paying any attention.
That particular nightmare didn’t end nearly quick enough for my taste. From there we caught another tractor ride back to the front of the farm where all the kids got together on big bales of hay for a class picture. It was a jumbled mess of kids not wanting to sit still, teachers trying to keep order, and parents watching the whole scene unfold through their phone’s screen.
We got back on the bus as soon as the picture fiasco was finished. By this time, Baby E was wiped out. She crawled up into my arms and fell asleep. She slept the entire way back, except for when the bus hit some bumps. Then she’d open her eyes long enough to look at me, and then she went back to sleep. Since the bus ride was only about 25 minutes, Baby E turned into Princess Crankypants when we got back to the school and I had to wake her up from her nap. I would’ve carried her to the car to avoid that, but holding her on that bus ride had seriously put some pain onto my back. Thankfully, we got to go home after that and we just hung out together for the rest of the day.
Overall, it was a great experience and I’m glad I got to share it with my daughter. But, I still told my wife that the next chaperoning gig is all hers.