Being the third weekend in fall, and the first weekend of the season that wasn’t mired in the upper 80s temps with humidity nearing triple digits, we decided that it was time to hit the pumpkin patches in search of the perfect picture, oh and yeah, a pumpkin or two also.
We normally do a local pumpkin patch called “Berry Patch Farms.” There, you can ride the wagon full of hay around to the pumpkin patch and let your little ones romp on hundreds of pumpkins, while simultaneously trying to take a picture of your precious little one that doesn’t include a horde of strangers. Afterwards, you can toss your “punkins” back on the wagon and ride it around to the cash register-cum-refreshment stand and wait in line for fifteen minutes while your spouse (partner?) entertains the children with some barnyard animals and a small swing set.
Wow! With that kind of description, I can’t imagine why anyone would NOT want to do it. But I digress. It’s really fun, especially when it’s not hot. But we wanted to do something different this year, so we decided to hit another punkin patch that also serves as a functional dairy. The thinking here was that we could maximize our “out of the house” time by combining multiple fun things into one long fun thing.
Per the new punkin patches’ Web site, you can get lost in a giant cornfield maze, tour the dairy processing plant, let your little ones jump on bouncy things and get your punkins…all in one place!
After our little one took his nap (and we adults hit the gym) we packed up and went to the punkin patch, arriving about thirty minutes after they opened and before most of the crowds had shown up. With so many things to do (and more! There were ponies!), we carefully scripted our activities to maximize fun, while minimizing any screaming that might ensue do to an overly-tired child.
Right off, our oldest wanted to ride the ponies, so we let him. Then we steered him over towards the bouncy things, where he bounced for about one minute before succumbing to a crying fit because there were other children on the jumpy thing too. This from a child in daycare who is used to having to share! After attempting to get him to jump some more (because “Dammit! I drove all the way over here and WE ARE GOING TO HAVE FUN!”), which induced a crying fit, which led me to, “Fine we’re going home!”, which led to “Noooooooo,” which led to me taking him back to the car and spanking him and letting him sit and think about how nice it is of mommy and daddy to take him to fun places and how selfish it is of him to not want to share…things finally calmed down and we made our way over to the dairy tour.
Now some of you might think my response a bit harsh, but what you don’t know is that this is about the 4th time we’ve made a special trip somewhere for our son, only to have him pitch some fit because he’s too shy to play with the other kids or just too jealous to share the playground. So, walk a mile in my shoes and THEN pass judgment!
To call this new place either a Dairy or a tour might be generous since the dairy that we saw was a crudely rigged mock-up of a real dairy, only using old rusted equipment. However, the kids did get to see a real live cow (wow!) get milked using those suctiony things and they got to get some fresh chocolate milk made there at the dairy. And anyway, does a kid know the difference between a real bottling conveyor belt and a fake one? I doubt it.
All in all, we were there for nearly three hours. We didn’t get any good punkin patch pictures because A) the patch sucked. It was basically just a bunch of punkins all neatly lined up on the grass B) because by then the baby was tired and fretful and poopy and Career-mom took him to the car to change him; C) because my oldest was more interested in the tractor than any punkins, and D) it was getting HOT!
Basically, let’s just call this one more memory that didn’t quite go as planned and if you had it to do all over again, you’d do it differently. Which seems to be the norm rather than the deviation when you have children. One of these days I’ll stop deluding myself that any trip with the family anywhere is going to be even remotely close to what I have built up in my head. Only, I hope I never become that jaded, because overall we did have fun…it just took a while.