Thursday, April 22, 2010

LOOK!! BUTTERFLIES!!!

This past Thursday, I took the day off work to go with my niece Savannah on her class field trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to see the butterfly exhibit. I had to be at Savannah's school in the morning and, when I got to her class, all the kids were beginning to line up to get on the buses and I noticed that Savannah was standing with and trying to comfort a little girl who was crying. They filed on the buses and then left for the museum before I was able to find out what was wrong with Savannah's little friend.

I drove out to the museum with some of the mothers from the class and we met the buses out there. As the kids were filing off the bus towards us, I saw that the little girl was still crying. Savannah's teacher told me that I was going to be in charge of Savannah and this little crying girl for the day so I took their hands and we walked toward the front door of the museum. Savannah explained to me that her friend's name was Kaylee and that she was sad because her mom was supposed to be on the field trip but had been unable to go at the last minute. I tried to cheer her up but she was pretty weepy while we were waiting to go inside to see the butterflies and could barely talk because she was feeling so pitiful. Then they opened up the doors for us and we walked toward the entrance of the museum, talking:

Me: Are you girls excited??
Savannah: Yeah!
Kaylee: [crying] But my mommy's not heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere.
Me: I know, sweetie. I'm so sorry. But you know what? You can tell her all about it when you get home! Won't that be so fun?
Kaylee: [crying] But she said she'd be here.
[crossing the threshold of the museum so that we are officially inside]
Me: I know, but -
Kaylee: "OOOOOOOHHHHHH!!! A MUSEUM!! A REAL MUSEUM!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!! I'VE NEVER BEEN IN A REAL MUSEUM!! THIS IS MY FIRST TIME!! OH LOOK! THERE'S A GUY OVER THERE! OH LOOK! THERE'S A DOOR! OH LOOOOOOOOK!!! THEY HAVE A MCDONALD'S IN HERE!!!!! I NEVER KNEW THEY WOULD HAVE A MCDONALD'S HERE!!!"

I was at a complete loss for words. One second I had a highly emotional kid who was having a pretty rough day and the next second I have a kid who is speaking in ALL CAPS. I mean, out of nowhere she had morphed into that Voice Immodulation Syndrome character that Will Ferrell used the play on Saturday Night Live - the one who can't control the volume of his voice. It was hilarious. And, as you can imagine, her exuberance only increased upon entering the butterfly exhibit.

Have you ever been to a butterfly exhibit? There are butterflies flying EVERYWHERE. They fly right past your face, they land on you, and they are everywhere you look on trees or bushes. It's really pretty fun. As we walked into the exhibit, Kaylee spotted a butterfly and began yelling "OH!!! LOOK!!! A BUTTERFLY!!! OH LOOK!!! ANOTHER BUTTERFLY!!!! LOOK OVER THERE!!! ANOTHER BUTTERFLY!!!" And she pointed out every single butterfly like that.

All of them.

She seemed to have forgotten her troubles for the moment and that was a good thing in my book. But soon it came time for us to head back outside to meet up with the rest of the class for lunch on the museum grounds. So we walked toward the front door and AS SOON AS WE CROSSED THE THRESHOLD back outside, she started crying again. It was like the museum had been her happy place. She was trying to tell me through her tears that her mommy had said that she would pick her up after school so I was talking to her about that and trying to console her again. We were walking over to where the class was eating lunch and you could see that there were two tables there and that the girls had congregated around one and the boys around the other. As we were heading toward them, we had this conversation:

Kaylee: [weepy and through her tears] But she said she'd come pick me up after schooooooool . . .
Me: Well, I bet if she told you that then she'll be there.
Kaylee: [still crying pretty hard] But she said it and she's not heeeeeeeeeere.
Me: Well, school's not out yet. It's just now lunchtime. Do you know what time school gets out?
Kaylee: [pitifully] Yes. [sniff sniff]
Me: What time is that?
Kaylee: [barely able to get it out through her tears] 3:00.
Me: Do you know what time it is right now?
Kaylee: [still pitiful] Noooooooooo.
Me: It's only 11:30!
Kaylee: Oh. [slight pause] HEY LOOK!! A GIRLS' TABLE!!! LET'S GO EAT OVER THERE!!

And then, having found her happy place again, she took off running, leaving me behind laughing. I walked over to the girls' table and ate the lunch that my sister had packed for me and sent with Savannah. I was excited to see that she had decorated my lunch bag, written a note on my napkin, and - best of all - packed me a Swiss Cake Roll.

And that was MY happy place.

So it turned out to be a great day - I got to hang out with Savannah, met an entertaining little girl, had a butterfly land on me, and got a Swiss Cake Roll. I didn't think it could get any better. Uuuuuuuuntil Savannah asked me to take her Swiss Cake Roll home for her.

Poor naive little Savannah . . .

3 comments:

Rachel said...

How funny! Sounds like you had a great day. This is yet another example of why I'm thankful I only have boys. :-)

The Queen of my Domain said...

Too funny!! I like how you said she was talking in all caps!! You needed that fabulous pic of Savannah in the butterfly exhibit.

Diana said...

The fact that you got stuck with that girl is funny. That teacher saw you coming a mile away!