Yesterday was the kindergarten sleigh ride. I was a bit surprised it was still on, based on how little snow we actually have at the moment, but apparently it does not take a great deal of the white stuff to make a sleigh ride possible. I took the morning off Job1 to tag along with Rainbow’s group. I was excited to be doing something different; she was nervous and happy I was going with her.
We travelled with another mom & daughter (as the Beater is not fit for a half-hour drive on PEI roads). We were the second car to arrive and waited with the others in what I shall call “The Arrival Cabin.” It is a building with benches, a wood stove and bathroom, where you wait for a sleigh to arrive, and come back to once your ride is over. It is rustically decorated with wagon wheels and other horse paraphernalia. Rainbow stayed fairly close to me in the arrival cabin.
A long wooden sleigh pulled by a black horse and a white horse pulled up to the cabin. There were 11 children and 6 adults for the ride. We were invited to take heavy pile blankets to wrap around our legs for warmth.
“Sit on your bums,” the teacher roared out to the children. Initially that seemed a little ridiculous, because how else would they sit… but it didn’t take long to realize what she really meant was “Don’t sit on your knees on the bench and hang over the side of the sled.” Clearly she had done this with a kindergarten class before.
The old wooden sleigh creaked and groaned with our weight as the large horses pulled us along. One little girl, who apparently has not spent much time in a barn, complained that it was stinky there. Two little boys on my right played “spot the poop.” The horses pulled the sleigh into the woods.
After about 10 minutes in the forest, one spot-the-poop boy said to the other spot-the-poop boy, “We’ve already been on this trail!” I couldn’t tell. Every tree looked the same to me. I actually doubted he could tell either.
While it was a beautiful day, and I didn’t even need a hat, my feet were positively frozen under the heavy pile blanket. Rainbow snuggled next to me as we rode. As we emerged from the woods, the teacher smiled and said “there are Timbits (donut middles) and hot chocolate at the cabin,” which we could see off to the left. Surprisingly, however, the driver led the horses to the right and re-entered the forest for another loop around the trail.
Now telling a bunch of 5-year-olds there are Timbits waiting, and then not serving them up right away is a bit like putting a lovely desert on the table in the middle of dinner. You can rest assured that the remainder of dinner is not going to go as you plan.
And the rest of the sleigh ride was a tad more challenging, with many more reminders to “sit on your bums,” and a couple of demonstrations of the boom-a-rang effect when branches are grabbed as the sleigh goes by.
Finally, the sleigh pulled up to the arrival cabin, and we all went in to enjoy a bit of warmth and a much anticipated treat. The children patiently accepted a Timbit as the teacher offered each person one from the box, and then they hungrily swarmed the box when it was set on the table. Within minutes, there was not a donut middle to be found.
Later last night, as I snuggled with Rainbow on the couch, I asked her what her favourite part of the day was. It wasn’t the horses. It wasn’t spending time with her mom. And it wasn’t anything about the actual sleigh ride through the forest. She lifted her little face to mine and whispered “Timbits. My favorite part of the day was the Timbits.”