The first year of school is marked by many rights of passage, and Sally’s first field trip was a major one. I chaperoned a journey to the pumpkin patch to watch 24 preschoolers lose their minds.
. . . It might have been 25 kids, there was some confusion about car seats on the way back. Hmmm. . . .
Anyway, I was all set: wearing my bright blue, utterly figure-hiding school shirt (which Sally thought was AWEsome), carrying emergency snacks and water in the event my car of kids gets stranded in the hills until Halloween, and holding a purse with extra underwear and bandaids. If only I’d kept my fanny pack from 1988!
At the school, I packed two adrenaline-dipped preschoolers into my car, then gripped the steering wheel with white knuckles–because that helps you drive when you have someone else’s child in the car–while the girls screamed sang B-I-N-G-O in the back seat.
When we arrived at the patch, 24 rabid monkeys dressed as children tumbled out of cars. This excursion was expertly planned such that we had to wait in the dusty parking lot for 10 minutes while Surfer Dude and Justin Bieber unlocked the gate. It wasn’t a problem though–the kids entertained themselves by jumping up and down and chanting “PUNKIN PATCH! PUNKIN PATCH!”
The gates opened and the kids poured in, bouncing over each other and tripping on haystacks. They spent the next 60 minutes laughing, crying, going on rides, admiring gourds, arguing over whose name is longer, and generally zipping around like relatively cute locusts.
That night, when I told Mr. Embee about the trip (over a very large glass of wine), he didn’t quite get my exhaustion.
“Sooo, you went to a pumpkin patch. For an hour.”
“And there were other parents and five teachers there.”
“[weakly irritated] Yes.”
“And you basically just had to watch as the kids ran around having fun in an enclosed area.”
“And you’re spent?”
“YES, for love of all that is good, YES! It was physically and mentally draining.”
I guess it’s the kind of thing only another parent chaperone can understand.