Peapod had her first-ever school field trip today – they went to the zoo. This was something that had been scheduled once before, but it had to be postponed because big rain showers were predicted for the original date. When I shared that particular information with Peapod, she sank into her car seat and considered it thoughtfully for a few brief moments. Then she declared “I’m ok with that Mommy” and moved seamlessly onto the topic of whether baby ducks were wild or not. Which is actually not that easy to answer if you think about it.
Anyway. The re-scheduled zoo field trip date was back upon us and this time the weather would cooperate. Unfortunately my brain would not. It went sort of like this:
8:00pm the night before: tucking her in for the night.
Peapod: “Mommy, will the polar bears at the zoo be able to get me?”
Me: “No Sweet Pea. The zoo is actually designed to be very safe for people to look at the animals.”
Peapod: “But what actually stops the polar bears from getting me?” (She really likes to use the word ‘actually.’)
Me: “Well, they built a moat around the place where the polar bears hang out.”
Peapod: “What’s a moat?”
Me: “Um. It’s like a big, long hole. Sometimes they fill it with water, like a river. The polar bears would fall into it before they could get to you.”
Peapod: “What about the gorillas?”
Me: “I think the gorillas are in cages, Sweet Pea.” The gorillas are definitely not in cages.
Me: “Ok my angel. You’d better get to sleep fast because tomorrow’s a big day! Your first ride on a real school bus!”
10:15pm – 1:35am.
I repeatedly dream that the school bus inexplicably rolls over on the freeway.
8:37am Field Trip Day.
I walk her into the classroom and am paralyzed by the decision of whether to leave her jacket on or off. It is too chilly to go without it, but it's supposed to warm up later. Plus the jacket is very special – a gift from her godparents (and quite expensive) and I am sure she’ll lose it if she brings it. Why I did not consider this before, I cannot tell you. Her track record on being in charge of past jackets is 0/1. In my own defense, I am not the only mother behaving like a complete spaz over the jacket decision.
8:41am. Still in the classroom.
I gather The Edge, who is flirting like a madman with his favorite teacher, Ms. Dangerfield, up off the classroom rug and decide to take Peapod’s jacket with me. I kiss her goodbye, wish her well on her field trip and spend the walk back to the parking lot wondering if I imagined those goose bumps on her neck.
9:00am. Back at home.
I tromp down to the The Esposo’s basement office and bust through the door. He instinctively rolls his chair to me and reaches his arms out to take The Edge. And waits for my story.
Me: "I’m freaking out. I dreamt last night that the bus crashed. Help me."
The Esposo: (smiling) "In the history of LA Unified there has been only one school bus fatality and that was because a garbage truck malfunctioned right at the moment that a school bus was crossing it’s path. A total freak accident. It’s going to be fine."
Me: "She doesn’t go to an LA Unified school."
The Esposo (still unfazed by my lunacy): "You get the idea. Buses are safe. They’re huge and the drivers are very impressive. You don’t need to worry. Really."
Me: "But it’s cold and she doesn’t have a jacket and I have to put The Edge down for a nap right now..."
The Esposo: "Do you want me to go bring a jacket to her?"
Me: (incredulous, handing him one of Peapod’s less precious jackets) "Would you?"
I’m not sure what he said next, but there was some mumbling and eye rolling and sighing but then for some reason he hugged me and then would you believe that fabulous Esposo drove right back to the school to take that jacket to Peapod!
12:30pm. Picking up Peapod at School
Me: "So what did you see at the zoo?"
Peapod: "Um. Monkeys that were big and black and maybe they were actually gorillas. And I saw a walrus that swam past us in the water. But Mom I didn’t see any bears."
It was sunny and warm by then, but she was still wearing the jacket.