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A Field trip, a Goat, and a Gas Leak

by Deborah Cruz

Last Thursday (10/7/10) was Bella’s first field trip. It was to be to a farm with a pumpkin patch at which all the children were going to be able to pick out a small baking pumpkin. Apparently, the $5 fee for the patch only covered gas for the bus not necessarily any type of pumpkin of  any value, aesthetically or otherwise. It was very exciting. I, of course, volunteered to chaperone. After all, I couldn’t let my baby go off on a bus to God knows where, with God knows who, doing God knows what without being privy to every second of it. We arrive at school,only to find out that the chaperones are not allowed to ride the bus. We have to car pool and meet them there. So much for sitting on the bus with her, holding her hand and taking it all in . I remember when we were little it was required that chaperones rode the bus to help keep the wily kindergartners in control.Apparently, rampant chaos is what they go for these days. After, hitching a ride with the coolest mom I could find and a quick stop at Starbucks ( I told you she was COOL) we met the kids as they were pulling away in the bus bound for the pumpkin patch. Oh, did I forget to mention after being awoken at 5 am by an eager kindergartener, my reward was for the teacher to tell me to go away until 8:20. The kids go into class at 7:50, what the hell were we supposed to do for 30 minutes?Anyways, I am digressing. It started out a little bit of a cluster fuck. I thought maybe my expectations were too high being this was my first field trip as a chaperone.

After much debate,against  my better judgment, I left the house that morning armed with only my Point and shoot camera versus the behemoth that I usually sport to any occassion concerning my girls. I thought maybe the teacher would frown upon a chaperone who was preoccupied being the stalkarazzi when she was supposed to be protecting little ones from flying pumpkins, crazed goats, and bee infested horse corals.I left my beloved memory recorder by the front door. Of course, once we arrived at the field trip and I was assigned my 2 children, the teacher issued an APB for a volunteer to take photos. What?? Just so happened that the chaperone who is actually a photographer ( by profession) forgot her camera and the teacher..forgot hers. I had my POS but not really what you want as your memory recorder. Luckily, the cool Mommy that I hitched a ride with had her professional grade camera in the back of her SUV. So funny because we had the conversation on the way in whether or not we should bring our big gun cameras. Needless to say, she became the designated photographer of the day.

The children were having a blast; picking apples off the trees, eating sunflower seeds fresh from the sunflower, picking fresh raspberries, swiss chard, lettuce,carrots, and with each thing the tour guide showed them she encouraged the kids to ” Go ahead, try it! It’s fresh!”The crazy in me wanted to say, “Hell no! That’s dirty!” People, I am not a country girl. Not by any stretch of the imagination, other than being a Mexibilly. The south has had the misfortune of being my host state for about 6 years of our marriage.I can positively say Tennessee was probably as happy to see me go as I was to leave. The south is beautiful, but it is full of fresh and wide open.Tall trees.Bugs.Wild turkeys. Cows. Pigs. Chickens. Bears.( and not the kind that play football on Monday nights),snakes, and More Bugs!
So,when the kids were told to eat all the off the vine food all I heard was here is some bugs and dirt kids….Enjoy!

The kids are loving every moment of their bug, dirt munching. Its all fun and games until they start asking the chaperones to ” Come on try some” Most adults would probably bite the bullet and say, “Oh Ok” in the spirit of being a good example and all. Not me! Sorry folks, I don’t do dirt and I certainly do not do BUGS! Ewwww! Now, maybe if one of my kids’ life depended on it..I’d eat a bug or a little dirt. But, as a rule, I refuse to model behavior that I don’t approve of in the first place. So, just as the kids are beginning the barn part of the tour, all the children simultaneously get a gleam in their eye that signals certain mutiny and chaos are imminent..I blame all the fresh air and mass quantities of fresh picked bug and dirt infested food that they had just consumed. Just as the kids are let loose to terrorize the animals, as children are running off in all directions of the barn yard petting stray barn cats, feeding apples and carrots to the horses, lettuce to the bunnies, corn to the pigs and goats, being chased in every direction by squawking chickens, I scan the joint to find my Bella and the little boy I was assigned. Just in time to see her about to walk face first into the horses mouth and the little boy about to be mauled by a couple attention starved goats. Luckily the horses and goats were close to one another, I grabbed both kids and saved them from becoming fresh food themselves:) Boy, chaperoning chaos is hard work. Thank God for that extra shot in my Toffee Mocha that morning. Then came the most exciting part of the field trip, we were called back to the school due to a gas leak in the entire downtown area, school was being evacuated…actually, the entire downtown was being evacuated.

We were ordered by divine intervention to cut our field trip short.I was all about it. All that fresh air was making it hard for me to breathe and I am pretty sure I was breaking out.But we had one last stop, or hell would have certainly broke out amongst the tiny farm lovers all hopped up on fresh air and homegrown goodness…the pumpkin patch. After, the fastest hay ride ever to the nearest pumpkin patch, all children were instructed to find 1 small,firm, round, green stemmed pumpkin. Of course, they jump out and all run through the vines, tangled up and dropping like flies. I was picking them up and helping them wrestle the pumpkins of their choosing from the vines..now, this was serious chaperone business. It might have been nice to know that I would be needing gloves and a box cutter. No? It’s Ok, I love picking pricks out of my fingers…for the children. After we wrangle all the children back up to the hay truck, we then speedily exit towards the bus. After all, this isn’t all fun and games…downtown has been evacuated because of a gas leak. School could be blowing up for all we know. I let out a sigh of relief as the last kid exits the truck and heads towards the bus, without a single casualty.

Then it happens. The guy driving the truck looks at me and says, “You know, they weren’t suppose to pick those big pumpkins. We were supposed to take them to a field with the small pumpkins but due to the emergency we just took them to the nearest field.”He is very straight faced and not joking. All I could think was I just wrangled 25 kids through a pumpkin patch without a single broken face or skinned knee, I just saved a kid from a crazed goat and a carnivorous horse, and you what Mr. Hay ride driver? Mr. Fresh fruit eater? You want me to compensate you because you took them to the wrong patch? Umm, OK FAWK YOU Mister. I almost had to eat fresh off the vine, bug infested, dirty raspberries. We’ve all made our sacrifices!Now, go feed a pig or something. I ‘ve got to go pick up my car from a lot that may or not be exploding as we speak! The nerve of some people! Hey farm boy, go suck a pumpkin. Wait? Where’s my kid? Oh shit, is she eating more dirty fresh lettuce? Happy Mothering!

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parentingadabsurdum 2010/10/10 - 10:39 pm

Oy. You're my hero. I have yet to wrangle more than two kids through a pumpkin patch. But I've got the stopping at Starbucks part down!

Kim 2010/10/11 - 8:31 am

I had to fill out a million forms to be approved to do any sort of chaperoning for my kindergartners class. Reading your blog is making me think I shouldn't have. I don't think I'm that brave.

Krysta 2010/10/11 - 3:31 pm

Ha ha. That is funny!

Tara 2010/10/14 - 1:56 pm

Oh my, sounds like quite the trip lol!
My son is in preschool and his 1st field trip is coming up next week, we're going to a pumpkin patch. They get hot chocolate and a pumpkin muffin, and get to go through a corn maze, play in a bouncy castle….oh and pick out a pumpkin lol!
Being as their in preschool parents have to attend, meaning my daughter has to go as well. This should be interesting lol!


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