As he sat across the back seat from his friend Ben, in Ben's mom's car, I'm guessing he thought that was going to be the highlight of his day--because for an only child, the novelty of riding in a car with another kid in the backseat? Endlessly thrilling. To this day if you ask Ethan what one his favorite parts of driving to DisneyLand last June was, he'll tell you, "riding in the car with Penny!" because we drove down with Penny's mom, Jane. Carpooling is a big deal for this one, people. And I think he was a bit bummed when the car came to a stop at the nursery only 1.5 miles away from the school and it was time to get out.
But then he realized that ALL of his friends were getting out of cars, too, and that they were going to be in this cool place with all these flowers and plants and statues, a place that was not their classroom or play yard and yet here they were, all together in this new environment. For the first few minutes he held my hand, trying to adjust to the newness of it and the surreal feeling of being surrounded by all these familiar people in such an unfamiliar space (kind of like hanging out with new co-workers at happy hour for the first time ever and it's weird to see them outside of their cubicles--or in my case, classrooms).
Once he got used to it, though, he let go of my hand (oh, deargod the mixed emotions, people!!! I am hyper-sensitive to the letting go of the hand these days. Taking lots of deep breaths as my baby approaches 4), and off he went.
The field trip itself was definitely a first for all involved. The employee assigned to show us around had never given a tour before, so what could have been a "here are our fruit trees. What type of fruit do you think grows on trees? Over here are our vegetables. What are some of you favorite vegetables?" kind of thing turned into a "um....we have flowers and vegetables. Flowers are over here. Vegetables are over here" kind of thing instead. The educator in my was a bit twitchy about that, but it turned out to be such a lovely time, it really didn't matter. The kids were antsy to run around amongst the flowers and sculptures and to look for hummingbirds and that turned out to be enough for them. Each child picked a flowering plant and a vegetable plant to bring back to the school's garden and they will be giving them a home over the next week in the school's newly built planters.
I know Ethan's probably too young for me to realistically hope that he'll have vivid memories of this field trip some day. I was in first grade when I went on my first field trip, to The Friendly Farm in Dublin, NH. My mom chaperoned, which was something she was rarely able to do because of her work schedule. I know that's probably why I remember it; her being there made it that much more special. What I remember? My mom had a short frizzy perm (hello, 1977!) and I patted a goat. We also watched eggs under a heat lamp, anxiously hoping that somehow a chick would pop out before we had to go to the picnic area for our lunch. Not a really vivid or well-fleshed out memory, but it is clearer than many of the other trips that came after it, because it was the first.
are you kidding me with this? how excited do you have to be about gardening to put this in your flower beds?
look at all these flowers! Oy vey!