Today marked a big day for Elanor-her very first field trip! GUG went to the Butterfly and Insect Garden on Sentosa. We had not previously gone with Ellie, so this was our first time there, and I had no idea what to expect, other than that getting up at field trip o’clock was going to hurt. There is a reason E is in afternoon school, and it’s that no one in our home is a morning person.
Our day began when Rhi woke up 10 minutes before my alarm went off, wanting to nurse. Ravi got Ellie who was clear that she wanted to go on the field trip, but not right now…right now was for sleeping. I grabbed a shower and then got Ellie into the prescribed field trip outfit (Orange school shirt). Ellie was groggy and cranky enough that she turned down pancakes, and this is a child who has never turned her nose up at a pancake in her life, but she began to perk up when classmates began to filter into McDonalds as well.
This was my first field trip as a parent. I have to clarify “as a parent” because I have led many a field trip as a teacher. Watching E’s teacher run around, count kids, calling the buses/other teachers, and try to keep us on schedule was all too familiar. I’ve got to say, being a parent is the easy job–you just go where you’re told, keep your kid in line, and don’t get lost. Being a parent rocks compared to being the teacher. Which is not to say that I’m not a little relieved that the next field trip is parent optional…I had Rhiannon in the sling, and spent the whole trip going “don’t wake up and need to breastfeed, don’t wake up and need to breastfeed.” (spoiler alert-she woke up and needed to breastfeed during snack and on the bus ride home…which was at least convienently timed.)
We milled about, waiting for the buses to arrive. Having been a public school teacher, I was expecting a standard school bus, even though I’ve never seen what I think of as such here in Singapore.
I was pleasantly surprised by the bus that pulled up, which in Boston would be called a luxury bus. Leather seats with seatbelts, above seat storage, etc.
I never took students on anything this nice.I never took students on anything this nice.
Ellie and I (along with the other kids and parents got on the bus) and I buckled her in.
“This is the best field trip ever!!!!” she exclaimed.
Let me reiterate…we’d gotten on a bus. That was all. I smiled and tried not to burst out laughing. For all that any three year old can be exhausting and frustrating (and believe me, the non-stop “why” is enough to make an angel weep, much less your average parent), they are also endlessly entertaining and adorable. Everything is still pretty new and exciting, and they are genuine in their emotions without a mask or the need to appear cool.
Ellie was very excited when the bus drove past our condo and we waved.
We arrived and followed our teacher and guide into the first of the segments of the garden. The first segment is the butterfly garden. It’s a small, but very pretty space. I’d been to a butterfly garden in California, but the butterflies in Singapore were different and much brighter in color. I’m not sure if it’s the climate or the time of day that we visited, but they were all feasting on the flowers, so we got many close looks.
The guide showed the kids a caterpillar, a cocoon, and then several newly hatched butterflies which the children helped to release.
The next section was a “bird” section. I was underwhelmed by this section, and actively worried about one of the macaws we saw, who actually looked fairly ill. His feathers were very shabby and half of his tail was missing. I couldn’t hear the guide very well, and I’m just hoping that there’s a story behind that, other than a stressed or ill bird.
One bird who wanted a lot of attention and shrieked until he/she got it was this cockatoo
The next section was the section I was dreading–the bugs. Ick. I will admit to mostly walking on the quicker side and not looking too closely at any of the bugs. I will note that there were stick insects, giant rhino beetles (I never want to see one of those up close and personally), tarantulas and so forth. The kids looooooved it. The other moms and I tried not to freak out for the most part.
The final section was probably the msot interesting to the adults and least interesting to the kids–the fossils, and displays of pinned butterflies/beetles, etc. In one of the rooms, the leader had the kids sit down and he brought out bugs for them to see more closely. I sat at the back of the room shushing Rhi, who was starting to stir, only paying half attention.
“Who wants to hold this non-venomous scorpion?” the leader asked after showing them other bugs.
I only had enough time to shudder before I heard a single voice shriek “ME!” and a hand shoot up.
Yes, that was Ellie. The guide seemed taken aback that this super teeny girl was the only (at first) volunteer. But after I nodded that it was fine, he let her have the first turn. I only uploaded the second part of the video because the first half is him shushing the kids and me shushing too, nervous that my kid was about to get stung, but wanting her to be her fearless self.
After the scorpion, we were guided out through the gift shop (which we moms practically dragged our kids through–“nope, no, no….” and had a snack.
Overall, it was a great first field trip. Ellie had fun, which is the most important thing. However, I don’t know that I feel the need to go back to the Butterfly Garden any time soon. One visit was enough for now.