Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What to Bring to the Zoo With a Bus Full of Kindergarteners

Today I went to the zoo with Lucy's kindergarten class. She was so thrilled to have me come along that I almost forgot how much I hate going to the zoo in May, when it is inevitably packed with kids on field trips. I love the zoo, totally love the zoo, but crowds are not my favorite. But I rode the wave of Lucy's excitement and put my preconceived notions on the back burner.

My mother-in-law agreed to keep Mathilda over-night yesterday so that we would have an easier morning. After she left, I prepared myself as much as possible. I went to the grocery store to get special lunch stuff. I put Capri Suns in the freezer so they would be nice and cold. I checked the weather report and got heat wave appropriate outfits laid out for the two of us. I dug out the sunscreen and set it on the bathroom counter so I would hopefully not forget to use it in the morning. I asked Chris to get out a backpack for me. I charged my camera batteries.

"There's money in there!"
I went through a lot of trouble because I wanted it to be a good day. I don't get a lot of one on one time with the kids, so I always try to volunteer to chaperone their field trips. It's kind of special mama-kid time, even if there are other kids there too. I get to see their friends and classmates in action, and meet some other parents. And of course I LOVE field trips.

But I think I'm getting old or something. A few weeks ago, I chaperoned Bethany's trip to a Tiger's game, and by the end of the day I was utterly whooped. Today was no different.

The bus ride was fairly short, but  bumpy and nausea inducing, I wished I had brought along some Dramamine.

#1 Dramamine

And the noise. Ugh. Kindergarteners have nothing on the decibel levels that fifth graders can create on a school bus, but they can definitely hold their own. My head cannot handle prolonged exposure to loud noises anymore. At all.

#2 Ear Plugs

When I was packing the backpack this morning, I pulled out a baggie of pills that Chris had stuffed in one of the little zipper compartments the last time he used it. I barely glanced at it, but figured I probably should take it out for a school field trip. It looked like it had a bunch of Chris's vitamins in it, and only later when it was too late did I realize there may have been some pain relievers in that little bag too. Because I really should not have left the house without pain relievers.  Bumpy bus ride + noise + sunshine + heat + hours of walking = huge need for pain relief.

#3 Pain Relievers 

We got to the zoo, exited the bus and headed for the zoo entrance. Before we made it out of the parking lot, Lucy fell off a curb that she was tight-rope walking and scraped her leg.

#4 Band-Aids

It was a warm, sunny day. I had my sun glasses with me because I pretty much cannot survive without them. I've even taken to wearing them in the morning while I'm making breakfast because my kitchen is so bright and sunny at that time of day. Well anyway, I am not the only one who needs to protect her eyes from the bright sun.

#5 Sun Glasses for the Kid

I was smart and froze those Capri Suns for Lucy so she'd have icy cold drinks. But I only brought two, and like I said, it was really warm. So we had to rely on drinking fountains a lot. I could have made things easier by bringing a water bottle for her. Usually I do bring a water bottle, not really sure what I was thinking today.

#6 Water Bottle

Nutella and jam sandwiches are really good. So are chocolate cookies. Unfortunately, when it comes to cleaning faces and fingers after eating these yummy things, paper napkins don't quite do the trick. No one ever outgrows the need for baby wipes, ever.

#7 Wipes

I have been to the Detroit Zoo countless times. Yet, even while consulting the detailed zoo map, I can never quite figure out where the heck I'm going. We got turned around repeatedly. I stood like an idiot trying to wrap my mind around where we should be going more times today than I'd care to admit. This is no fun when walking with two little girls who are dead tired, while facing a strict deadline. Nobody wants to be the person holding up the bus when it's time to leave. And no, that person was not me today! Nonetheless...

#8 A Sense of Direction

Despite the fact that I forgot a few things and came home feeling like I'd been hit by a train, I had the best fun with Lucy at the zoo. We had one other little girl in our group, and the two of them were sweet, well-mannered and well-behaved. The Detroit Zoo is really huge, and we covered a lot of ground, pretty much walking nonstop for four hours. Even though they complained that their little legs were tired toward the end of the day, who could blame them? They were troopers and it was a joy to accompany them around the zoo. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to chaperone today.

Furthermore, I didn't forget everything. I remembered.
  • My camera - fully charged and with room on my memory card 
  • Tissues
  • Extra snacks
  • My sunglasses (what am I, a freaking vampire?)
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
All afternoon Lucy couldn't stop talking about the Best Field Trip Ever. So what if I have a headache and my back is killing me? It's worth every pain, discomfort, and inconvenience, and I can't wait to do it again.

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