This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Field Trippin'

Today I volunteered to chaperone a field trip for MiMi's class. Although I am not much into participating in PTA/school mom/etc. activities, I generally do the field trip thing with my girls. I've chaperoned several for CJ and I believe this is my first with MiMi.

The field trip was to Durant Nature Park. I was pretty happy with myself when the teacher asked if I knew how to get there. In my head I was like: OMG, of course I know how to get there! Used to go there often and it's in my old neck of the woods!

I had a team of four kids, including MiMi. One was the girl I thought was YY on the phone, where I inadvertently pushed MiMi and YY on a playdate. Ah. Good times.

I only love to be around kids on my own terms, BTW. It's difficult when you actually have kids and they don't abide by my terms but for the most part, kids on field trips aren't so bad. I think, and I know this was mentioned to me before, that they pick the more well-behaved kids for the parent that never volunteers. So I usually fair OK with the kids and end up having great ones that I will miss when the day is over.

The first part of the trip was listening to a park ranger talk about pond life. The pond at Durant is MASSIVE. We learned about nymphs, tadpoles, snakes, dragonflies, and frogs. I know I mentioned my fear of kites, but did you know that I am afraid of frogs? That story is a doozy.

During the park ranger discussion, I was bowled over by the answers the kids had to her (park ranger) questions:
* do you know what metamorphosis is?
* what animals go through metamorphosis?
* give me an example of the food chain
Some of the answers given were not only correct, but not even the typical response. I was amazed.

After learning about pond life, the kids were able to grab nets and start pulling muck out of the pond in search of real life pond life. Whatever was found would go in a bucket of water for viewing and discussing later.

Initially, not much was being found. But once they got the hang of it, boy they were finding lots of stuff. And then I found myself inching my way back, and back, and back.

I'm not a girly-girl but I don't like yucky stuff. And once they found a big-ass bullfrog tadpole -- which was about the size of a small field mouse -- I started feeling like I could wretch. In fact, it reminded me of the time I was running with $Bill and Frank, discussing meat production, when $Bill was like ENOUGH! I was saying the same thing by walking AWAY from the muckity-muck.

But don't get me wrong, I did get hands on initially...but that bullfrog tadpole...UGH.

It was funny to see all the other moms still in it while I stood back. I am sure they appreciated that.

Afterward, we had lunch and I sat with a young man that I fell in love with last year. I had lunch with MiMi and this little dude happened to be at the table with us that day. His tooth fell out and I felt honored and privileged to be the person sitting with him when it happened. Today, I protected him from the carpenter bees that were buzzing around us.

There was a little playground playing time, which was really cool because I got to see MiMi traverse monkey bars. I was so impressed! I don't recall if I ever could do that when I was her age, but I am BIG on the idea that most girls have no upper body strength. If you watch some of my reality shows, most girls fail miserably at any challenge that requires upper body strength. So to see MiMi, and about half a dozen of her gal pals, take those monkey bars over and over and over? Man, I was in seventh heaven. It was as enjoyable as watching the dogs play at the doggy daycare at PetSmart in Cary, I can just watch it all damn day.

One of the girls could speak only Espanol, so I would tell her "mas! mas! mas!" then "muy bien!" She beamed. It makes me want to learn more than the few phrases I have. I want to have conversations with her next time.

Next was a hike around the lake, I mean, pond. That was interesting and this is where it got a bit into the 'not on my terms' bit. The boys like to pick at things, throw things, stare at where the thing they threw lands. I was like: what is wrong with boys? Why do they have to touch/kick/poke/throw/enter-another-verb everything? We were in last place, for godsakes! Not that this was a race but when MiMi's friend said to me "Come on Ms. Huffman! You're the leader now LEAD US!", I was like "Geezuz! A fricking 7 year old is whipping me into gear!"

I never picked up first place because my boys were just too busy doing the above. But so were other boys from other 'teams'. What is it with you boys???

It was a blast. I had a load of fun and I do miss my team now. I learned a lot like how we have mussels in the pond. Did you know that? And they are invasive. If you don't know what that is, then you are not smarter than a first grader.

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