Several weeks ago, I volunteered for Brady's first official field trip. He's taken field trips before with school - but, the parents all HAD to go. There was no option. In Pre-K, we met at the field trip locations...no bus involved. So...considering that this time there was only a handful of parents, a gazillion kids, and a bus to and from...this was a REAL field trip.
When I signed up for the field trip - I was really looking forward to it. Seriously. I'm not sure what type of magical experience I thought I would have...but, I must of thought that it would be pretty special. At first, Brady told me he did not want me to come...as much as it hurt - I was okay with it and was ready to NOT volunteer. Luckily for my self-esteem, he changed his mind as I was filling out the permission slip.
Well...today, was the big field trip. We went to Superstition Farm...a family-owned dairy farm near my parent's house. We've been there before - once with the family and once with Brady's Pre-K class.
I arrived to the school ON TIME. Yes, I was proud. I was quickly given my "nurses pack" which was basically a sandwich baggie filled with the following supplies: rubber gloves, tissues, alcohol wipes, gauze, and bandages. Luckily I had a wipey case of wipes in my purse...so with those included, I was a walking first aid kit. I was given a small piece of paper with a list of the 6 kids in my group, one being Brady. I really didn't think he would be assigned to my group...don't most kids listen to other parents better than their own?? but, he was. After handing out name tags to my group, we lined up and headed to the bus.
The bus was chaotic. For most kids, this was their first ride on a school bus...Brady included. They thought it was AWE-SOME!! They couldn't get over the fact that they did not have to wear seat belts. It was rather entertaining. After watching the teacher's aide continuously yelling for kids to sit down (as the bus was driving) I joined in on the "discipline" and kept my 6 in line. Well...I wouldn't call it keeping them in line...more just constant reminders to sit down.
Upon arrival to the farm...our bus stopped and parked within 50 feet of a cow giving birth. Yes...the kids watched a cow birth a calf. Most of them had no idea what was happening. The maternity area was busy at the farm today...5 babies were born...2 while we were there, if you can believe it.
We headed into the "classroom" which is more or less a garage with bales of hay for the kids to sit on. Can you say SNEEZE?? That's pretty much what we heard the entire time the farm hands were talking about the cows, type of cows, milk, cow tags, medicines, and farm tools used.
Once the classroom time was over, we were split into 4 large groups. The entire Kindergarten grade was there...4 teachers in all, so there was a loooooooot of kids. My group started at the goats. They loved it. They even got to feed the animals, pet some bunnies, and if they wanted, hold a chicken. Right away...I lost a kid. He wondered over to another group and luckily...he was only gone about 1 minute. Whew. That was close. After lots of sanitizer, we moved over to another "classroom" type lesson about water. This took just about every ounce of patience the kids had to spare. It was long and draining and relatively boring. The kids are 5. I give them credit for this part. Next was flavored milk time. They lined up and put in their order for flavored milk. There was plain milk, chocolate, strawberry, melon, pistachio, cherry, vanilla, grape....and several more that I can't remember. Brady was last in the line of about 35...he wasn't happy. After drinking their ice cold milk...they ran over to a haystack maze where they found some baby chicken eggs. Finally...they were at the highlight of the trip - the tractor/haystack tour around the farm. They loved that part. After the tour, we met up with the other groups and ate lunch. Most kids were too overwhelmed to eat...but, they gave it a try. After lunch, it was back to the bus to head back to the school.
I was exhausted. I had counted to 6 so many times...I just couldn't do it anymore. The kids pottied, washed their hands, and loaded the bus. The bus ride home was much less eventful. You could see they were a little tired. But I'm thinking that was nothing compared to us parents!! After arriving at the school, the parents were given the option to take their kids home with them then...or come back in 2 hours at the end of the school day. Yippee!!! I was so excited to take Brady home early, pick up Lil and completely bypass rush hour traffic. But......wouldn't you know it....my perfect-neverdoesanythingwrongjustlikehisdadkid, wouldn't leave before the end of the day. So, I quickly drove home...cleaned up...relaxed for a minute...and then drove back to pick up Brady from school.
Thinking about it...field trips for teachers are easy. Maybe not easy...but, us parents are just not used to it. The teachers were not assigned a group...so it was only us parents that were constantly counting to 6, chasing down "lost" children, and tending to their every need. During lunch, as us parents were opening wrappers and putting straws into the juice boxes...the teachers got to sit at their own table and...just eat. To be fair...they do spend all day, everyday with these rambunctious 5 year olds...so they do deserve it.
While I'm glad I went...I'm going to think twice about the next field trip.
p.s....a kid in one of the other classes had this adorable dog tag necklace. When you read it...it was literally a dog tag - it gave the child's name, address, phone number, and parent contact information. That parent was NOT taking any chances. WHAT A GOOD IDEA!
p.s.s...while matching red shirts was such a cute idea...try tracking down your 6 assigned children amongst a sea of red shirts. The kids all looked the same. Can you say nightmare?