Because when the kids you're chaperoning are all museumed out, after live butterflies and beetles and caterpillars, and (dead) dinosaurs and whales and mummies (yes, really), and the Hope diamond to boot, you can take them outside and let them run around on the National Mall, with the Capitol to your left and the Washington Monument to your right, until it's time to go back in and see a few more dead mammals before the bus leaves. And they can take it all for granted, because this is just where they live, but some of us know it's pretty damn cool.
When I arrived in the classroom in the morning, the first thing everyone did was crowd around to show me who had wobbly teeth and who had lost teeth and who had new teeth coming in. Teeth, then, are big news with the six-year-old set. I suppose this shouldn't be a surprise to me, but since wobbly teeth are still a thing of aspiration in our house, it was interesting to see the higgledy-piggledy reality up close.
I had wistfully thought how nice it was to go on a field trip while my son is still innocent enough to hold my hand in public and want to sit beside me on the bus. Not so. My hand was disengaged as soon as we got to school, and he sat up front with his friend to play finger-lightsaber battles while I sat a few rows back with the girls and discussed why other kids were sometimes mean, what the best thing to do about it was, and where babies really do come out of.
Still, I think he was glad to have me along, if only to see him hold the big green caterpillar.
|Dash holds a fat caterpillar.|