Friday, April 4, 2008

Field trip to the farm

Yesterday Owen and I joined Will’s pre-school class for a field trip to Marengo Creek Farms in Opelika, Alabama. Owen was just as thrilled as Will to view the chickens, ducks, rabbits, border collies, Shetland ponies and sheep. Marengo Creek is primarily a sheep farm, and at the end of our tour we got to look on as a hard-working border collie herded sheep up, down and around a field. I realized that I’d never witnessed sheep herding in person before – and it was such a beautiful sight watching that tight cluster of sheep sweep across the field so quickly.
Before that highlight, though, we had to face this daunting tractor.

It was the vehicle powering a hay ride, which was also designed to be one of the highlights of the visit but which Will quickly decided he wanted no part of. Will has a hearty dose of the timid-skittish-shy genes that afflicted me until at least second grade. And he was of course the only child out of well over 30 children who cried at the prospect of the hayride, and at one point even laid himself on the grass in tearful protest while all other moms, kids and teachers boarded the trailers.

So I had to hand relaxed Owen off to Will’s teacher so that I could haul crying Will onto the trailer myself. There I sat apologizing to the moms around me as Will sobbed through the first couple minutes of the hay ride, and as I wondered for a moment if I shouldn’t have pushed him to do it. I knew at this point that his tears were all grounded in embarrassment with himself for having pitched a fit, so after I pointed out that all the other kids were too excited by the hay ride to even notice that he’d been crying, he finally settled down and enjoyed the ride. And I made a note to myself to just drag Will along when these situations come up. Otherwise, as I’ve learned from other experiences, he winds up regretting passing up these “scary” opportunities.

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