Fossil Hunting, or Soaked Bug

Yesterday was our very first field trip as homeschoolers – to the Penn Dixie fossil site. We lucked out on the one non-rainy day this week. About ten-ish families showed up, so there was a decent amount of people. I even managed to talk to a few of the mothers (all of whom were, coincidentally, wearing their babies, and three of those babies were born within several days of each other). I don’t know what has come over me recently, this stepping out of my antisocial box.  Talking to people? There must be an icicle forming in hell somewhere.

Bean tore off with two of her friends and I barely saw her after that. Occasionally, I would hear a, “Look, Mommy! I found a fossil!” Mostly, I stood around splitting my eye-time between the ground (looking for obvious fossils) and Bug. Bug. Yes…let’s get to Bug. I can’t personally vouch for Bean’s experience, but I can for Bug. Within the first five minutes, before we even left the parking lot, she had managed to step in a huge puddle, soaking her socks and shoes (and this is where my earlier bright idea to remove her spare clothes from the diaper bag b/c I erroneously though t she wouldn’t need them started to seem less bright).

The dryness of Bug and her clothes went downhill once we arrived at the actual fossil site. I gave her a large baggie to put her “fossils” in. One of the docents gave her some bits of coral, but they ended up in a puddle shortly thereafter. Initially, Bug picked up bits of shale, put them in her baggie, walked over to a puddle, and threw them in. Rinse, repeat. She then moved to throwing her binky into the puddle. When that lost its appeal, she decided that she needed to be in the puddle as well. In my futile attempt to encourage her away from the puddle, I started walking towards everyone else in the group. Bug did follow me, but she walked in the little stream that connected various puddles. Who needs dry land? I suppose I could have stopped this from progressing, but I had Min wrapped to my chest. And puddles are fun. So she gets a little dirty and wet. Eh…it will be good for her.

Merely stomping in puddles also lost its appeal. From there, she decided that the thing to do was to bend over at the waist and dip her forehead in the water. Entertainment for about five or so minutes. It was only a matter of time this would not end well. But not so poorly that I had to help my child before taking pictures of her first. In the end, she wound up covered in grayish-brown silty mud, soaked head to toe. A sweater was loaned to her, and luckily, I had a pair of sandals in the car (who said keeping my car full of random junk wouldn’t come in handy?). Another mother kept her dry and relatively clean for me after that. I skived off that duty since Min needed to eat.

Back to Bean, for whom we went on this field trip in the first place.

She ended up with some neat little fossils – various trilobites, corals, and other animals I can’t identify. We rinsed them off tonight. Sometime this weekend, we’ll follow the instructions of the docent and paint a mixture of glue and water over them to hold the shale together. It would definitely be worth going back again sometime.

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