Field trips are supposed to be a fun thing. I remember when I was in school, I loved them. But, frankly, when you have two kids in preschool and another one as a hanger-on, field trips are a fucking nightmare.
Our field trip today wasn’t too bad. Sam and his class went to the Great Harvest Bread Company. (Yum, by the way.) This trip in no way compared to the field trip to the dump. More on that later. Today, Jack had school, so I was one down at least. Sam and I set out with twin classmates in tow. The car ride was delightful. Twin One held hands with Q, or “Tinkerbell” as they all referred to him. Twin Two and Sam repeatedly asked “Tink” if he could “say ‘no'”, “say ‘Quinn'”, “say ‘bread'”, and so on.
Our time in the store was pretty good. Except for the fact that Quinn was surrounded by bread, muffins, and cookies that he was not allowed to touch. Which I believe he considered to be The Biggest Injustice in the History of Humankind. Fortunately, all field trips to Great Harvest end in slices of bread for all involved. And a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin for those inclined to pay $1.95 for it. Which Quinn and I were.
Since I’m in a cooperative preschool and have more than one child in class at a time, I often have co-oping conflicts with field trips that end in my feeling guilty for not making it on a whole series of field trips in a row, with a final result–for example–of me not being able to accompany Sam on his trip to the Strathmore music center, but making it to the field trip to the post office and the grocery store. Which I can do on my own, and with fewer than 15 kids, thank you very much. Or, since one kid is in school four days a week and one is in school three days a week, for a grand total of us being there five days a week, I often have an extra child to drag with me. Other than the constant Mighty Quinn.
Which brings me back to the trip to the dump, from which comes my hypothesis that field trips suck. This was scheduled on a day when I had all three kids. Sam freaked out that he didn’t have any friends coming with him in the car, so we brought the teacher’s son (also five) in our car. Which was fine until Sam got upset that we were stuck in a little traffic jam and yelled, “Just fucking go!” In front of, let me remind you, the teacher’s son. (I have no fucking clue where the kid gets his potty mouth, but it needs to be seriously curtailed.) Then Jack starts to mimic: “Fucking, fucking, fucking…” And so on.
Once we finally get there, we are directed to the wrong building where we get everyone out of the car, uncoated, re-coated, and back in the car to get to the correct site, which, it turns out, is merely the starting point for the long walk we are going to take. Now Quinn can’t walk at this time, and I’m too dumb to put him in a stroller, so I’m carrying him. And Jack starts refusing to walk. Adamantly. We are like half a mile behind the rest of the class at this point (at least it felt like it), so I pick him up and I’m trying to carry both of them, when another kind parent takes pity on me and takes Quinn. Then we get to the four-story (I am SO not kidding here) flight of stairs we have to take to get to the observation deck where we spend 15 or 20 minutes genuinely enjoying watching the garbage trucks get emptied.
Then we walk back down–and don’t think for a minute that I’m not carrying Jack up and down those stairs–and continue on our long, aimless walk. At least I think it’s aimless because by this point Quinn is refusing to be carried by anyone but me, Jack is on my shoulders, and I’m near tears. I didn’t hear word one that the guide said, although I think the high point may have been when he pointed out a big pile of leaves. Seriously.
It’s either a miracle or a testament to my motherly patience that I didn’t beat all three of them to death that day.
Sam’s class is going on another (!!!) field trip next week, on the same exact day that Jack’s class is going on a different field trip. Now, the last time I sent Jack with another driver on a field trip he had the melt down to end all melt dows and let me know in no uncertain tearful terms that that should never happen again. So I have to go with him. But I’m co-oping in Sam’s class. So fuck it, we’re all going on Sam’s trip to the plant nursery. Where I may have to buy a plant and run it over several times to take out my aggression on a living thing. Did I mention that I hate field trips?
P.S. I would like to point out:
A) I do not beat my children,
B) The kid-cursing is not as frequent as it would seem from this post, and
C) I do understand the point of field trips. I just don’t like ’em.