Mister Noah's Neighborhood
Dinner in Real Life, v.2

Baby's First Swag Bag

Yesterday, Ezra went on a field trip with his YMCA camp. He had a ton of fun — even the camp director came over to comment on Ezra's super off-the-charts level of enthusiasm for the day's activities — however, I have honestly no idea where he went or what he did. 

According to the thing they sent home (you know, the thing, the scrunched-up paper thing you find in the bottom of your child's backback, underneath a soggy towel and dirty swimsuit, the thing that was likely due back with a signature and $2 that morning, uh, whoops), the field trip was to something called THINGAMAJIG. Which is a very helpful and descriptive title, obviously. THINGAMAJIG seemed to be something that we were already supposed to be familiar with, as this was the 19th annual THINGAMAJIG, a grand and noble YMCA of Metropolitan Washington tradition, something we probably already had marked down in our calendars, because THINGAMAJIG.

Anyway, THINGAMAJIG is apparently an annual "Invention Convention" aimed at getting kids involved in STEM, and...here, I Googled it and found the website. You now know as much as me. You are now an Advanced THINGAMAJIGGER. Congratulations. 

Honestly most of my confusion stemmed (HA! STEM! GEDDIT?) from the fact that it all clearly seemed aimed at older kids, so I wasn't really sure why Ezra's mini-camp of four-year-olds was also going. But then they told me that the THINGAMAJIG field trip included a free lunch AND two extra whole hours added onto the camp day, two extra whole free hours of childcare, so like, giddy up. Here's the permission form to take my child to a thing that I do not understand for an extended period of time. Please try to return him mostly undented.

Again, Ezra was floating on cloud nine when Jason picked him up. He was postively beaming. They rode there on a big yellow school bus! He made two new friends! There were sandwiches! 

(His fingernails were also painted bright pink. I DON'T KNOW. I'M NOT ASKING.)

I'm used to not really getting a good, full story on things from Ezra, though. He's...creative, that one. Our usual report from camp is something like, "My pretzels got soggy and the sun made me cold, and Peter was there but not the Regular Peter, and I wanted to play sports but we didn't play any sports. Then we played basketball and then I came home and now I'm hungry."

But he came back yesterday with a small backpack. It's one of those small drawstring pouch-style backpacks, printed with the official seal of the Federal Aviation Administration. Okay? He was very, VERY excited about it. He would not allow me to see the contents, however. "It's a purprise. For your birfday. So you have to wait until Friday."

Never let it be said that I am one to disrespect my child's random, nonsensical wishes. I dropped him off at camp and then came home to rifle through the contents of Baby's First Swag Bag, mostly in hopes that it would contain some clues about what he did yesterday.


Item #1: A small styofoam-ish airplane. It does not actually fly — more like flips itself over and immediately kamikazies to the floor— but that MIGHT be due to assembly error as the top side of tail piece is clearly labeled OTHER SIDE UP.

Please note that things stop making sense pretty quickly after this.


Item #2: A lanyard, sans badge, courtesy of GE. So if BlogHer ran out of lanyards this year, like they do every year, hit me up and I'll mail you this one. 


Item #3: A plastic spoon. This item I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt to, as it's entirely possible that Ezra was given the spoon to eat a snack at some point and then decided to bring it home as a very important and valuable major award.


Item #4: A pen, courtesy of an accounting, tax and advisory firm. Rock on, kids! Stay in school! Pay your taxes! Please note that the pen is also branded with "WINDPOWER 2013."


Item #5: Seriously, the hell? Did Ezra like, wander away from the group and crash some rando expo hall somewhere? Who was he playing tic-tac-toe with? THE QUESTIONS ARE MOUNTING, YOU GUYS.


Item #6: Yup. Classssssic Ezra. He will never let me throw this out, either. 


Item #7: The "Runway Safety Collection" DVD from the Federal Aviation Administration. It contains four short videos that "explore risk and prevention strategies, while operating in the terminal airspace and on the surface of airports." They are titled...

1. Heads Up, Hold Short, Fly Right

2. Listen Up, Read Back, Fly Right

3. "Was That For Us?"

4. Face to Face, Eye to Eye 



Item #8: A WiFi-N-Wireless CAM Finder. If you are not sure what a WiFi-N-Wireless CAM Finder does, or why they gave one to a FOUR-YEAR-OLD CHILD, rest assured that the packaging only really answers one of those questions:


It's small and compact! Fits in toddler-sized pockets! Detect your parents' privacy-invading baby monitors without even opening your notebook computer!


Item #9:  An activity booklet on natural gas, featuring a cartoon dog named "Ol' Blue." At last, something that actually appears to be aimed at and completely appropriate for children!


(And yet possibly not appropriate for those children's 35-year-old mothers, cuz snerk hee pffft haaa.)




are you not required to be planning sparklecorn at this very hour?

very catch me if you can of ezra...


Ha! Thanks for the laugh on what is a drizzly day where I am.

Becca Lynn

Just soo much WTF here. And plenty more WHY!?!?!


I love this post!

I can't wait to see what item he decides to gift you with.


I have a thought about the spoon. Could it change colors when touching something hot? It looks like change-colory plastic.

Jessica V.

I love everything about this post. From the sparkly pink nails to the random tic tac toe game and the cam finder. And I too giggled at "do you smell gas?" So awesome.

Maxine Dangerous

So, so many actual LOLs with this entry, but especially after reading "Here's the permission form to take my child to a thing that I do not understand for an extended period of time. Please try to return him mostly undented." :D Also? "It's a purprise. For your birfday. So you have to wait until Friday." = MELT. :) Such a sweetie!


Hilarious and so cute !

Elisabet M

Well, he had a great time! Who knows what he did, but maybe he'll fill you in on the details someday :)


I actually know what the "hold short" part of that FAA DVD is about. My husband is an airside operations supervisor at an airport and they have to deal with that. It's the line you stay behind when you are driving on the runway so you don't get hit by an airplane that is right then landing or taking off, thereby ruining everyone's day.

Sassy Apple

I know how all these things go together....they were FREE! This knowledge comes from being a teacher in chronically underfunded (wait? is that a word?) public school :)


Hilarious! I had to stop reading at one point so as to control myself from guffawing too loudly and wake my baby. Thanks for the laughs!

Hi, I'm Natalie.

I'm crying from laughing - that is wonderfully bizarre. :)


I know how the plane works! That hole in the nose - you have to stick a coin in there (in the UK, a £1 coin - no idea what fits in the US) to weight it so it flies better.

*may have had one in a previous swagbag*


Please try Laura's tip of the coin in the nose and report back. Please? Dying to know if that works.

Also, I would so be the parent who grabbed a counselor and ased for details. I am just too nosy not to.


You're just too funny!


So I am going to go out on a limb and assume anything passes as a field trip these days? So funny.


The fact that he had so much joy on this field trip leads me to believe I have been putting WAY too much effort into planning outings for my children.


Actively "lol"ing at work right now!! Love this post..and your kid. Christmas shopping could be so easy and cheap for you this year!


I am doing the silent/shoulders heaving/please god don't let the baby wake up/tears running down my face laugh right now. I just can't even....best blog post ever.

Suzy Q

Love this! I can just see Ezra crashing some super-serious conference and coming away withh all these goodies.


OMG, laughing so hard that I am crying. I really needed that- it's been a shitty day. And OMG totally agreeing with the earlier commenter: I've been putting too much effort into 'field trips' for my kids!

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