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Fox on a farm

When Calvin did his first YPT show last year I remember being skeptical when the powers that be warned us about post-show depression. There was entire handout on the topic, warning us to be prepared for irritable, recalcitrant children in the week or two following the production. In my head I giggled a little, but remembering the validity of similar afflictions, like post-holiday ennui, I filled those weeks with activities sure to keep a young mind engaged. 

Having at first inwardly giggled let me tell you, post-production depression is a real thing, and it way outpaces post-holiday ennui. These kids put so much work in the show that it becomes a defining part of their lives for the two plus months they rehearse. During tech week and production weekend, the show really is their lives. And's gone. Just like that this creature they'd been nurturing with all their energy and time has passed away, and the days following such a loss will inevitably be devoted to mourning. Inevitably.

Last year, all the activities I had planned were not enough to ward away the blues, but I know they helped, so this year I focused on a combination of extra activities, and a pointed return to routine. After letting him sleep in for a couple of days I dragged him out of bed and kicked him out the front door to play with the kids at the bus stop. When I set our weekly school calendar (after having taken tech week mostly off) I planned all the subjects in their usual places, but lightened the load a bit in most. And I registered us for two homeschool field trips during the week.

But you know what doesn't care about my kid's depressing week of post-show mourning? The weather. So we didn't make it to the frog catch-and-release field trip because even though frogs don't mind the rain, we do. And our second field trip was almost as much of a bust except that laughter, and our own brand of sarcastic cynicism, is also good medicine. Because Northfork Farms, where were slated to enjoy a morning of reliving the wild west, turned out to be a strange mixture of backwoods zoo, cheap carnival, and run-down roadside tourist trap. We played some "old wild west kids' games", which until I've seen their resources I'll be convinced were games they made up to go along with the cheapest plastic kid toys they could get on clearance last fall. We embarked on the Louis & Clark trail, which was a short walk through a collection of small dioramas in plastic boxes so yellowed by the sun that it was hard to see the "animals" in them (I'm still not sure whether they were taxidermied or merely plastic molds with fake hair glued on, but I'm leaned towards the latter). We went to a saloon (where they ran out of time to give us the snack we'd been promised) and learned that women didn't go to saloons because they didn't (not couldn't...didn't) vote back then. What? We washed our rags at the "Chinese laundry" (a mini lesson so racist I was embarrassed just listening) and panned for a gold piece that later chipped away until it had returned to its original state as a pebble. 

So the trip, while disappointing, turned out to be okay, misleading and offensive lessons aside, simply because it was such an easy target for comedic absurdity. That, and because there was a baby fox. A baby fox who loved people and just wanted to be held. Who wouldn't love holding a baby fox? (And here I'm refraining from touching on how I actually feel about a fox in captivity, or the coati, tiny monkey, and peacock they also had in captivity, all in tiny cages, because that's a big subject for another platform). And then we rode off into the sunset (because that's what they do in the wild west, right?) on a weird oil drum mini-train (because that's what they do in the absurd wild west, right?), and laughed all the way home. And they do say that laughter is the best medicine...for post-show depression.

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