Thursday, May 29, 2014

Field Trip Fun

The other day was field trip day for my preschooler. We went to a farm. In the seemingly never ending drizzle.
My daughter loved the field trip. A real live field trip like the ones she has seen her older brother and sister go on. So really, to her, that’s all that mattered. A field trip complete with a water bottle and a picnic lunch and a day away from the school she loves doing something with the friends she adores under the direction of the teacher she idolizes. So to her it was all good. And to me it was mostly good too. It would have been way better if I had been able to feel my toes, but feeling all parts of ones feet is such a minor detail when you kid is having fun. (Cough-bullshit-cough).

The farm was adorable, if not a wee bit…boring. Situated on beautiful grounds (by farm standards) there was a gorgeous English (or was it French?) barn strung with globe lights and full of rustic tables. The chickens were perfectly clucky, the rooster appropriately aggressive and loud. There were even soft chicks to be held and petted. Near the picnicking spot there was an idyllic cast iron tub nestled under majestic trees. Even the outhouses were adorable; the soap for washing salmonella off of our hands smelled divine.
I mean, yes, the sheep looked ratty, like fleece falling off ratty. And the cows, all two of them…they were in the most run down, cobwebby, rusty nailed barn that a pack of four year olds were ever allowed to trod through. And there was a “protector” dog the kids weren’t allowed to touch. And in all honesty some chickens, two cows, a sheep, some piglets and a pair of dogs, in the grand scheme of things, does not in my mind equate a bustling farm. But I am an adult, so I had to find my own fun.

For example, I thoroughly enjoyed the guy driving the tractor who talked to the kids about compost while showing them the 150 degree pile of shit. There was a chorus of oohing and ahhhing when he talked worms and bugs and how you could cook a hard-boiled egg in the pile of compost. There were screams of shock and awe when he actually moved a hunk of the pile and the steam rose from the ground like…like something holy. Yes, that was good. So good because that guy…man did he know his shit. And boy did he love his shit too. And that right there is the kind of shit that I can appreciate. For real.
Another highlight for me, which I am embarrassed to admit because it paints me in a much crueler light than I like to think of myself, is when the farm dog, who was driving me INSANE with her happiness, her enthusiasm for life and her incessant need to herd children, got a leeetle too close to the live electric fence. Man did that dog yelp when she got zapped, and sorry, but man did I giggle. Take that you happy fucking dog. The kids were appropriately horrified and worried for the dog, and then distracted by the piglets. Apparently through a child’s eyes, squealing piglets trump electrocuted dog. Good to know I think.

Finally and not surprisingly on these field trips to farms in the rain, the parents get to talking while the kids take turns holding freshly laid eggs. And sometimes the talking turns from crazy sports schedules to sons deciding underwear are non-essential.  And sometimes when you’re ambling about you find yourself talking fifth grade health class at about the time the field trip turns toward discussing whether or not there are baby chicks inside the eggs the children are holding. And sometimes as a parent your mind consequently conversation, automatically shifts to discussing how ten year old girls gag when talking about having to diagram gross “boy parts” for health class.
So when your mind is on “the puberty talk”, and gagging little girls horrified by what they have been subjected to through the fifth grade health,  sometimes after  joking with parents about all of these things, you end up holding a chicken. And you’re holding that sweet little ten weeker, and you crouch over, hoping you neither pee nor split your pants in the process, and encourage your daughter and her friends to gently pat the back of the chicken. And it pecks at a kid. So you take your finger and push the chicken’s neck towards your body to gently keep its beak from tiny little hands. And in doing so, your chicken loving daughter (who frigging knew?) says in her most condescending voice…”Momma, stop it. You’re choking the chicken.”  And you say, “No sweetie, I’m not. I’m holding his head away from you so he won’t bite you.” But she insists that I’m choking the chicken. And because you’re crouched down in front of a bunch of kids, praying your kegel exercises don’t fail you now, shallowly breathing so that you’re fat pants don’t fail you either, and perhaps a tiny part of your subconscious is replaying the puberty talk you bark, “I AM NOT CHOKING THE CHICKEN.”

And you’ll hear distant laughter. And you’ll think, why yes, yes I did. And thank you very much. And you’ll save your pants peeing for when you get back into the car and start sneezing…from the cold.
Not a chicken, but in fact a cat about to be choked.

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