Field Trip Fail

Due to some confusion about where the student mailboxes were located in Alex’s new pre-school classroom, we didn’t find out about his apple picking field trip until just a few days before, when they were looking for permission slips. I hardly had time to process the fact that my 2-year-old would be going on a field trip WITHOUT ME, let alone the fact that he would be riding on an actual school bus WITHOUT A CAR SEAT. I had misgivings, so I did what any parent would do and signed up to chaperone. Rookie mistake.

We left the house in the usual chaotic fashion, dropped Charlie off with his baby friends in the infant room, and headed up to the pre-school classroom to wait for the bus. Alex went into his typical hysterics when we got to the room, in spite of my repeated assurances that I was staying. The cling monster didn’t let up until it came time to get on the bus.

Check out this ecstatic bus face.

Check out this ecstatic “I’m on a bus!” face.

Still, I was proud of my little munchkin as he calmly boarded and waited patiently for the kids to get buckled in (this bus had seat belts at least, thankfully). He laughed with delight as the bus got moving, and smiled for the first 5 minutes of the trip, just because of the bus excitement. I thought, “this was so worth it. That look on his face – that’s what this is all about.” Oh, optimism. I guess it’s nice to know I still possess it this far into raising a toddler.

Misery ensued the moment we stepped off the bus. We had to wait. Wait for potty trips, and wait for the tractor that would bring us to the apples. And then we had to get off the tractor. And the tractor left. It was too much. For the next hour, Alex pulled out all the trantrum stops: refusing to walk, crumpling to the ground, screaming. Out of the 25 children on the field trip, do you know which one lost it because he couldn’t drive the tractor? Do you know which one ran off repeatedly? Do you know which one refused to have fun? Yes. That would be my kid.

Visions of apple picking

The morning ended up being pretty miserable. I kept checking my phone, counting down the minutes until it was time to board the bus again. I tried not to give into the tantrums, but I still ended up carrying Alex pretty much everywhere. When I wasn’t carrying him, he was in a heap on the ground crying. So, fun times.

He rallied toward the end, and was pretty quiet on the bus ride home. I’m sure all that falling on the ground gets tiring. And this story does have a happy ending. Both boys took a 2-hour nap, a rarity for Alex these days. I even snuck in an hour nap, which is hands down my favorite thing in the world. I heart naps. We may have also gone out for milkshakes.

Alex is actually pretty good at school, as his teachers confirmed. I guess I’m glad he saves his punk behavior for me — I made him, he’s my problem. I just don’t understand what I’m doing to make the tantrums an option for him. We’re supposed to be having fun. Why aren’t you having fun, small person? Why??

Conveniently, I read that one of my favorite blogs, Momastery, is hosting a three-session webinar with the author of “Parenting Without Power Struggles.” I’m thinking about signing up so someone can fix my parenting. The tantrums are just getting longer as Alex grows and apparently develops the ability to remember life’s injustices. So much for waiting the tantrums out.

Time for a new plan. I may be exhausted and exasperated kiddo, but I’m not giving up yet. We WILL be a happy family with slightly less screaming, so help me.

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  1. Oh Katie, keep blogging. I have a feeling I’m going to love your blog, the stories the activities, it all is right up my alley and I can completely identify with you! I’ve loved all your posts so far. I have a 21 month old boy and 2 more boys due in November! I’m a little worried what it’s going to be like with 3 crazy ones all so young but at the same time know it will tiring, rewarding, hilarious, and fun when I sit and actually think about it. I’m right there with you!

    • Oh, wow, congratulations! You will most definitely have fun — I’m a little biased, but I think boys are the best :) If it’s any comfort, the second time around was SO. MUCH. EASIER. Fingers crossed for laid-back babies!

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