Big Darby Field Trip – to be a second grader…


I came home from my morning run to an outraged son. “Don’t talk to me mom! You didn’t take me on your run this morning!” He had crawled in bed with me at 6 am and asked to go. I ignored him and told him to go back to bed. Then I couldn’t. So I got up at 6:30 and took off while he laid in bed looking like a life-sized doll baby. Jon settled him down by reminding him that he gets to take off school tomorrow and go to Big Mario’s with Jon… and get donuts. His anger subsided greatly.

Maria and I ran around trying to get our extra clothes and shoes and lunches together for Maria’s school field trip to Big Darby Creek. I promised her I would come and frankly, this trip seemed right up my alley with all the hiking and creeking. She looked adorable with her striped socks pulled up to her knees and her running shorts.

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She stayed with her friend Ceylone most of the day. I think she likes Ceylone because Ceylone lets her take care of her. Ceylone cried that a bee was near her and Ri came to the rescue and shooed it away. Ceylone’s feet hurt on our walk to see the bison and Ri stayed with her until her mom brought new shoes to her. She likes to play the mama hen.

The trip was well organized with a sensory activity first, a field activity second and a creek activity last. The guides were very passionate about their topic and kept most of the kids engaged. For the first activity, the kids had to make a circle with a string and describe everything they saw in the circle. Ri found grass and leaves and dirt and moss. They had to smell it and describe how it felt.

For the field activity, we had to walk what seemed like a mile out to a field. I could not believe how good the kids were throughout the trek. Ri never complained once. The guide in the field was an older gentleman who obviously loved insects. He knew all about them and got the kids excited about catching them.

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It took Ri and I a while but we finally caught a beetle. I can’t remember the official name of the beetle but it was cool. A couple of kids found praying mantis’ which were exquisite to observe. We also saw a stick bug – an insect I’ve never seen. They look extra-terrestrial to me.

We had quite the hike back to lunch. I ate in 3 seconds I was so hungry. Maria seems to also choose friends who get a big lunch packed for them and barely eat any of it. Ceylone gave Maria her Oreos and all of her crackers. Maria gave her a bear hug in return.

The creek was lots of fun because it was so hot and the water felt cool. The kids got to hold a screen in the water while other kids did a “dance” near it to try to rough up the mud and rocks. The hope was to get macro invertebrate to move onto the screen and then take it up to the sitting area to see what we got. When someone asked if we could catch fish, the guide said no and asked why. Maria answered “because fish have back bones.” My smart girl!

Maria acted the leader role during the creek activity. She held the screen and commanded the other kids to “dance” and get the invertebrates moving! I worry she may have a career in the Army some day the way she shouts out orders. The kids found lots of goodies with crayfish being the most exciting. And Maria was not scared to pick them up.

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On our walk back, I got to talk to Maria’s teacher and learn a little bit about her. She is great for Ri – very open and honest and into the outdoors. I don’t know if Ri held her hand more or mine on the trip! As we were about to leave the trail, we spotted a baby toad. What a gift to end the day. I got to hold one of my favorite creatures with Ri.

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The kids got to ride the bus home soaking wet since there was no time to change. Ri thought that was cool. And to top the day, Ri got to take her classroom pet, Pikachu the chinchilla, home for the weekend. Jon and I are so excited!

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