It took some getting used to, but I now accept the frequency and variety of Viennese Kindergarten (preschool) field trips as a matter of course. I’ve never had a child in American preschool, but I suspect they don’t do quite as many outings via public transportation as Viennese children do (Liam has two field trips, both requiring several subways journeys, just this week, and B has one). It’s entirely common to see a group of tiny children, shepherded by 3 or 4 teachers, riding the bus or subway or just walking down the street. I’ve grown so accustomed to it that B doesn’t even seem particularly young to be doing such things anymore.
Upon learning, during B’s first year in school here, how common these trips were, I was excited — as a stay-at-home mom, I’d be able to go along on a lot of these trips, right? It’s one of the benefits of staying home with my kids that I’d secretly been looking forward to the most. I love the idea of getting to do fun things around Vienna with my boys and their classmates! Alas, they don’t do the whole “parent chaperone” thing here. When I first suggested it, B’s teachers reacted as though it was the strangest suggestion they had ever heard, commenting, “But it wouldn’t be fair to the children whose parents couldn’t come.” Bummer.
In all, though, I’ve adjusted to the idea of these preschool field trips, and so have the kids. They’ve generally been great successes, and the kids tend to come home happy and very tired. Liam had one such outing today, to an Easter market quite close to our house. (His school is not at all close to our house, so they had to make quite a trek to get here.) He’s gotten good at these, and always behaves really well, so I’ve stopped worrying (overly) about it. This time, though, I did ask Dan to mention that the class would literally be walking past our front door, so that in case Liam refused to walk any further or insisted on going inside, the teachers would at least have some idea of what was going on. I was SO tempted to just “happen” to stop by the market, in the hopes of catching a glimpse of him and his classmates doing cute stuff, but I didn’t — I knew that there was a good chance of me upsetting him if he saw me, since I wouldn’t be able to actually tag along afterwards.
I did get a lovely surprise, though — when Dan dropped Liam off this morning, and explained to the teachers that they’d be going right past our house, Liam’s teacher asked if I’d like to meet them at the end of the trip and just pick him up right there. Wonderful! Not only would that save him a round trip to school and back, but I’d get to surprise my little guy on his field trip AND take him home with me at the end. Yay!
So, that’s what we did. Liam had a “great” time at the Easter market (apparently there were cookies and bunnies) and his teacher called me at the end. I went straight downstairs and met them next door to our building. (They were as cute as I’d imagined they would be, but I was so excited to see him that I didn’t get a picture.) Liam was SO excited to see me, and SO thrilled when he asked if we could go home and I said yes. He happily said goodbye to his friends and teachers and I took my littlest guy home to play, just the two of us, for an hour or so before Dan brought Benjamin home. It was my favorite field trip so far.