So today Caleb's class went on a field trip to a local nature center and science museum. I had signed up to chaperon and was assured by Caleb's teacher that it would be no problem to bring the girls along. So despite the rain (it was partially an outdoor field trip) and the early time (we were supposed to leave from the school at 8:20) and the effort of getting everything ready (as well as remembering to bring an extra cooler for the teacher to use for the kids' milk for their lunches) we got ready to go. We made it to the school parking lot at 8:15 and waited in our car with a dozen or so other parents (who were waiting in their cars, not ours) for some sign of the kids or the buses or that we were really going on a field trip after all. Finally at 8:35 (a full 15 minutes after we were supposed to leave), the buses pulled into the parking lot. We managed to leave around 8:50 but without directions. Apparently the school folks putting this field trip together thought it'd be a good idea for everyone to just "follow the bus" instead of giving directions to parents. About two minutes into it, I realize I should have printed off my own directions. Why? Picture this: Twenty cars in line all following two school buses through town, stopping at stop signs and stop lights. By the time we made it to the highway (which, incidentally, was not the highway I thought we'd be taking), I was last in line (I don't know what happened to the folks behind me) trying to catch up to everyone else, going fifteen miles over and praying there were no cops nearby and that I was following the right people!
We finally got there and I got the girls unloaded and Chloe strapped into the stroller only to realize that the nature center is not stroller-friendly when it's filled with a group of kindergarteners. So then I have to go back out in the rain and put the stroller away and stick Chloe in the carrier. Not a big deal only Camille decides instead of going to the car with me she wants to stay and look at the koi pond. Not a big deal since it's not far from where we parked and I could see her the whole time. If she stayed still. The next thing I know she has moved to the other side of the pond. I could see her but the people in the nature center didn't know I could see her. I heard people asking if they knew who the child belonged to and wondering why she was left outside alone. Embarrassing moment #1. Thanks Camille.
But we go back inside, check out all of the animals (mostly snakes, lizards, small water creatures and birds) and then follow the group to the science center and planetarium. The planetarium was fun to visit. I had never been to one before and enjoyed learning about the stars and planets and what not. The kids were, fortunately for me, well behaved although I did have to pull Chloe out of the carrier and feed her during the space spiel. Good thing it was dark and no one noticed.
Then we went into the science portion of the museum. It was pretty interesting, small science stuff: a demonstration of solar energy, looking at x-ray films, learning about the human body. They had this big model of the digestive system. You could walk right in the mouth and out through the end of the stomach. If you didn't have a 20 pound baby strapped to you, that is. Anyway, the kids go in to explore and the next thing I know I see Camille's head popping out the hole in the top of the stomach (I think it was there to let the light in) and shout at me, "Mommy, I'm scared! This is scary!" I told her to get her head out of the hole and hurry through the rest of the tunnel (it wasn't very long) and then she'd be done with it. Easy, right? Nope. She's in there and in there and finally some kids start shouting, "There's a little girl stuck in the tunnel." And some teacher makes a big show of climbing in to get her out. Embarrassing moment #2. Thanks Camille.
We go to see some of the other science things and she decides to crawl into this mini building. It's a little replica of the local hospital. (I think. I'm not entirely sure because the ceilings were only high enough for people to crawl, although it did have three stories.) Anyway, there are some small, steep stairs leading to the other floors. As soon as I see her little feet disappear up the stairs I tell another parent, "I sure hope she's okay in there. The last thing I need is for her to get stuck in this one too." And what did I then hear? Some kids shout, "There's a little girl stuck in there. She's scared and won't come out." I found a little girl that used to go to preschool with Caleb and asked her to go up and help her down, but Camille wouldn't come down the stairs. Then I see Caleb and send him up to help her down and he finally succeeds with the help of this little girl in another kindergarten class. The two of them had to pretty much lower her down the stairs and catch her on the other end, pretty much saving her life and earning her eternal gratitude. Embarrassing moment #3. Thanks Camille.
We then go outside and get on this train. Can I just say I'm not crazy about those little kid trains that move slower than I can walk? We all pile on there and I get to watch Camille push herself onto Caleb's teacher, being all sweet and trying to win all of her attention. After that, she did not want to have much to do with me. So much so that when we went back in and she needed to go potty, who did she tell? Not her mother that's for sure. I had to assure her that Ms. Paramore did not need to (or want to) take her to the potty.
The final stop in the science museum was the big electricity exhibit that I sure did wish I could have seen. We all stood around in a big circle ready to see the kids take turns to make lightning spark. (I can't remember the name of the thing that does it. It's the big ball that makes your hair stand up all crazy when you touch it.) Anyway, the next thing I know neither of my kids are in sight. I found both of them at the bottom of the stairs. Camille (who wanted to stand next to the teacher instead of her mother) had decided it was too scary - she thought people would be killed by the electricity and didn't want a turn to make lightning. Caleb had followed her to try to bring her back but had given up and was returning to his class when I got there a minute later. Camille was crying hysterically and I had to take her as far away from the exhibit as I could. Embarrassing moment #4. Thanks Camille.
After that, all the kids used the bathroom and we proceeded to go outside for our picnic. Unfortunately, along with the rain we also had colder than predicted temperatures. We were lucky to have the high 50s, and I had dressed all of my kids in shorts and short sleeves. We gobbled our lunches, but not without another trip to the bathroom (I think Caleb had fooled during his turn earlier instead of doing his business), some spilled food and Caleb begging for parts of my lunch after he threw away most of his school lunch that I was required to buy as part of the field trip. What does his school pack for a kid friendly bag lunch? A large peanut butter and jelly crustables sandwich, a package of baby carrots, a package of apples and a package of graham crackers. With milk. I think my kid ate his sandwich and graham crackers. He threw away his carrots and apples without opening them. And he wouldn't drink his milk - they were out of both strawberry and chocolate milk and he refused to drink more than a sip of regular milk. He just doesn't like that stuff. It's a constant battle with him. A funny thing about the milk they serve here...it's not in a carton. It was in a plastic pouch, more like a bag than a capri sun pouch. Totally weird.
After lunch we were free to go. Fortunately there were no more mishaps. The girls and I loaded our stuff back into the car and headed home, stopping on the way at this little roadside produce stand which reminded me some of our family's stand years ago. Produce was homegrown or fairly local, the cashiers weighed everything and tallied it all on a notepad and then counted back change the old fashioned way. It was a high point in my day, making me so nostalgic that I had to call my sister and reminisce. It lasted about three minutes until she had to go. It was just as well because my phone battery just about died on me.
Also on the way we stopped at a little quilt shop just to look. It was fun to browse and lucky we had stopped because Camille decided that she did need to go potty after all. Twice. And we were there all of ten minutes! The ladies at the store were very friendly and offered me some simple advice for my sewing difficulties: sew slower. Maybe that is the secret. Oh wait, the secret is to not choose a pattern that is too difficult for your skill level using fabric that is way too expensive to waste, making sure you measure, cut and sew straight. Let's just say I'm pretty hopeless in the measuring, cutting and sewing straight departments. But I pretend I'm not. Maybe one day I won't be.
Chloe fell asleep on the way home (hooray!) while Camille and I had this conversation.
M: Yes, Camille.
C: *sigh* I love you.
M: I love you.
C: No, you need to say I love you too.
M: I love you too.
C: No. Mooommm.
M: Yes, Camille.
C: I love you.
M: I love you too.
C: Not like that! Mooommmmm...
M: Yes, Camille.
C: I love you.
M: Thank you. Camille.
C: Yes, Mommy.
M: I love you too.
C: Let's do that again!
(Repeated five times)
Anyway, we got home, Chloe finished her nap in the car while Camille and I snacked on grapes and waited for Caleb to come home. I think maybe I'll skip the next field trip that comes along. And Friday's field day. And next week's kinderfest. Perhaps I'll send Rob in my place. And have him bring the girls, at least Camille. I don't want to hog all of the fun! He should get to share some of it too!
There are no pictures with this post, not that I didn't have my camera with me, but that I didn't have a second to take any. Sorry. Maybe we'll go back one day and visit the nature center. It was a pretty cool place.