The Daughter Chronicles

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Our trip to the farm

Mia's class went on a field trip on Monday to Mother Nature's Farm, which is a kind of funny name for a place that's located right in the middle of Mesa, Arizona. It's a charming enough place, with a large grassy area, plenty of pumpkins, a dirt track for a hay ride, and farm animals, but it's part of the surreality of living in a suburban nightmare like the Greater Phoenix Area that you're never far enough away from the cars zipping along Baseline Road and the big strip mall being built next to the place. But the kids, we think, had fun.

Krys bailed on work for a couple of hours to join us, so it was a whole family outing! I was a bit worried about how Mia's wheelchair would survive, but the place has been flattened professionally, probably because they get a lot of kids (with strollers) into the place and recognize that it can't be too bumpy. We went in and headed to the pumpkin patch to pick up a pumpkin. Mia kept saying "apple," so we had to keep explaining to her that they were, in fact, pumpkins. She said "pumpkin" a couple of times, but I doubt if it stuck. I picked out a pumpkin for her, and then both she and Norah decorated them with spongy stickers (a picture of their pumpkins is below). Next it was off on the hay ride!

Hay rides when I was a lad were in a tractor, sure, but one of those tractors with a big basket-like thing hitched to the back and filled with hay. You sat directly in the hay and threw it at the other people and got it down your shirt and pants and itched for days. Good times. Those kinds of hay rides may still exist somewhere, but I suppose the people who go to Mother Nature's Farm have children who are too small, because this hay ride was a tractor pulling two flat bed with bales of hay carefully placed upon them. We all sat on the bales and, well, just sat there. Much more civilized! Krys and Norah sat a bit away from me, because we were one of the last to get on and couldn't be choosers about where we sat. Norah, I imagine, enjoyed herself, because she got to play with Mommy's cell phone, which is the greatest toy ever! Mia and I sat and watched the world go by, while a woman who was chaperoning (I never did figure out if she was a mother or just a friend of the teacher's) talked to her and the boy who sat on her other side. Mia seemed to enjoy herself. We stopped far away from her wheelchair, however, so I had to go retrieve it while Krys sat with her and Norah by a cow. Mia likes saying "cow" and telling us what the cow says and what we get from a cow, so she enjoyed it. She even fed the cow! Krys would kill me if I posted the picture of her feeding the cow, however, because she doesn't think she looks good in the picture. So you'll just have to imagine it!

Unfortunately, we waited at the animals so long (because of my retrieval of the wheelchair) that we missed going through the hay maze. Years ago, Krys and I went through a maize maze in Oregon, and if you ever have the chance to go through one, I recommend it - it's fun. The hay maze was obviously much smaller, with only single hay bales making up the walls (therefore the kids could, and did, climb over them). By the time I reached it with Mia, the rest of the class had moved on, and it appeared some child had knocked over some of the bales right at the entrance, so I couldn't maneuver Mia's wheelchair into the maze. No big deal, but it would have been fun to go through it. Krys, meanwhile, was strolling along with Norah, who hates grass. Yes, it's true - she's an Arizona Baby! It's very weird. Whenever Krys would put her down on the grass, she got very upset and clung to Krys and wanted to be picked up. She was wearing shoes, and the ground wasn't all that uneven - it's more uneven than tile, of course, but still - but she just did not like it. We're puzzled. Oh well - she'll get used to it eventually, especially if we move away from this horrid place and get a house with actual grass in the yard.

Next we headed under a tree and had a small snack. Mia ate her goldfish crackers, while Norah found it humorous to eat a few and put the others on the ground for future reference. After a minute, she tried to pick them back up, but we decided to put a stop to that. At that point, it was about time to go, so we picked up our pumpkins and headed for the exit. The teacher got a picture of Mia on the tractor by the entrance for their "scrapbook" (in pre-school is that what they call a yearbook?) and then Krys wanted a picture by the massive pumpkins. Norah found this unpleasant - again, we're not sure why, and we chalked it up to another mysterious thing about 1-year-olds. Then, it was time to head home.

It was a nice day and a good place to go on a field trip. I think Mia had a nice time, although it's impossible really to tell, because she won't answer if you ask her. It's best to just observe her, and she was smiling a lot and saying "hi" to everyone and generally looking fine. Norah is weird, because she enjoys herself a lot, but when she does a task (like decorating a pumpkin), she's always very serious about it. So I suppose, beside the freakiness of the strange green stuff on the ground, that she had a good time. And they both got to see Mama, which they love.

Here, by the way, are their pumpkins. Aren't they cute?


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