Pete Gilbert">

Giddyup! It’s Dad’s Night at Preschool

The invitation said, “Be sure to dress like a cowboy.”

I knew I was already in trouble.

My son’s preschool was having a western themed Dad’s night with all their 4’s classes. A cowboy? I’ve never owned cowboy boots or a cowboy hat. I did own a flannel shirt, that would have to do.

My son was super excited about Dad’s Night. Every morning when he woke up the first thing he would ask was if tonight would be the night. It was really sweet…for about the first five days, but after two weeks I was ready to stop having the same Groundhog Day conversation.

Finally the morning was upon us where I could say, “YES! Tonight is the night!”

When we arrived that night, the first thing we did was get our picture taken posing with a large stuffed horse. Then we received our sheriff badges and were officially ready for the evening.

One of my favorite activities was panning for gold. In one of the classrooms there was a giant wheelbarrow full of sand we used to find the small “gold” pieces hidden inside. It was my son’s favorite activity too, he kept going back for more gold.

After some time at the gold rush, we headed over yonder to the chuck wagon. There were plenty of hot dogs, chips, and carrots to eat. Staying true to its Western theme, every cowboy was given a bottle of water. Wait a minute? I thought cowboys drank their water straight from the tap? The most difficult part of night for me took place at the chuck wagon. It didn’t have anything to do with the food, it was just really hard for me to get my 6′ 3″ self in and out of tables and chairs designed for preschoolers.

After dinner, we moseyed on down to the barber shop. Thankfully there were no haircuts at the barber shop. Instead, kids were shaving their dad’s faces. Each child had a cup of shaving cream and a Popsicle stick. My son loved smearing shaving cream on my face (and my ears, nose, and mouth) and “shaving” it off with his razor.

The final activity of the night was a hoedown. The hoedown consisted of 20 minutes of teacher-led singing and dancing with 50 other dads and 50 preschoolers in a big circle. Any night that includes The Hokey Pokey is a success in my book.

The best part of the night came towards the end of the hoedown when the teachers told kids to give a big thank you to their dads. Immediately, my son ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug he could possibly muster.

For this cowboy, Dad’s Night was something to write home about.

-Pete

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