I look forward to our annual family trip to pick pumpkins months in advance, and I always have a blast wading through gourds and other cucurbits. But let me give you some TMI about my latest trip to the pumpkin patch, because things aren't always what they seem via social media, my friends.
Family fun is weird. Every dopey trip to an overpriced carnival or family hike that I post about online and for my friends and family to peruse is genuinely nice, and I'm usually creating happy memories with my kids. But you know the old adage about never working with children or animals? There's a reason for that. Kids complicate everything. Yes, including my favorite family outings.
Kids are creatures of habit. Take them out of their usual routines, even for something fun, and there's a pretty good chance that they're going to freak out about something. To say nothing of the fact that, as a parent, it takes a lot of time, energy, and planning to "make the magic happen." I probably pack more for my kids on a day trip than I did to go to Europe on my two-week honeymoon. So not only do you have to carry a sh*tload of stuff, but when your children's legs inevitably get tired you also have to carry them. When they're really little you have to navigate these fun family outings around the really essential routines of their day, like naps and feedings. When you're a parent, even fun is work.
So, you're going to be seeing a lot of pictures of me and my family (and I'm sure, other folks) in pumpkin patches and apple orchards and corn mazes over the course of the month of October. The pictures will look fun and lively and that's not a lie, but it's not the whole story. Here's the TMI version you won't see on Facebook and Instagram:
My Kids Broke The Stems Off Several Pumpkins
Oops. I'm not buying them, but I do feel bad about it.
(And this is, no doubt, why these places charge $1.50 a pound. They have to find some way to build those losses into the price, right?)
Bumpy Hayride + Pelvic Floors That Have Given Birth = No
I promise you that at least half the people who've birthed children on that hayride peed at least a little. Even those among us who have pretty good control of our pelvic muscles find that the uncomfortable bouncing (and, probably, the fact that you were so busy getting everyone ready for this outing and didn't have a chance to go to the bathroom) means that we're being pushed to the limits of our ability to hold it.
I'll Be Picking Hay Out Of My Crack For The Rest Of The Day
I don't know how it happens, but every damn year I wind up with the equivalent of a small bale of hay "on my person."
It's up my butt, in my cleavage, and down my socks. It's inexplicably in my hair, somehow wrapped around a pinkie, and stuffed in my pockets. Between this and the bumping, honestly, why do we do hayrides? I guess it's because of the kids, and you can't very well send them off to the middle of a desolate field alone with some dude driving the tractor. The things we do for love.
These Places Never Have Sufficient Bathrooms
Look, I get it. It's a farm. Or it's a pop-up, rustic, farm-looking tent, or whatever. But if you're charging $1.50 per pound for a pumpkin (that I could get at my local grocery story for less than half that) do you think you could perhaps, maybe, spring for a second port-a-potty for the 500 people here? And could you possibly, possibly throw in an extra roll of toilet paper every now and then so I'm not trying to wipe my still-toilet-training toddler with a gum wrapper I dug out of my purse?
Also, sorry not sorry, but I had to change the other baby out on the open on a bench because there's nowhere else to do it, so stop giving me side-eye, people.
The Meltdown My Family Had Over Pumpkins Was Worthy Of A 'Jerry Springer' Performance
I refuse to believe I'm the only parent on the planet who has the same fight every year.
"I want this pumpkin."
"That pumpkin is too big, sweetie."
"I want it!"
"You can't even carry it!"
"Yes I can! *picks it up, drops it, puts a gash in it*"
"Sweetie, stop. I said no."
"I WANT A GREAT BIG PUMPKIN!"
"I DON'T WANT TO SPEND $55 ON A DAMN PUMPKIN, TYLER!"
The Corn Maze Got Real *Real* Fast
It's very normal to get lost and have a panic attack in the Maize Maze, right? Because this thing did not look that big from the outside and OMG did I just pay $5 a head to lose my way and eventually my will to live? Will they find my bones by Thanksgiving?! Or I will be able to survive on old ears of corn and some stalks until next October when a group of kids finds me, haggard and insane?
Petting Zoo Animals Are Very Dirty & Slobbery
Yes, yes, the animals are very adorable, but also sort of mean (why is the big goat not letting the little goat eat any of the feed?) and gross (they smell bad and why are they always vaguely dusty?). They slobber with absolutely no regard toward the fact that you ran out of hand sanitizer in that horrifying port-o-potty. What the hell is even in these pellets?
I For Sure Stepped In Something
For the sake of mental self preservation we're going to say it was mud. Yeah, that's it. Mud.
I Looked For Ticks Everywhere
I live in Connecticut people, the birthplace of Lyme Disease. We take tick checks super seriously. Fun fact: ticks like to settle in nooks and crannies and, I don't know if you know this, but the human body — mine and those of my spouse and children —have so many crannies and nooks...
So, yes, I checked everyone's butts for ticks after a trip to the pumpkin patch, because apparently you can't frolic in a meadow anymore without having to worry about something.
I Ate All Those Cider Doughnuts Myself
This may or may not be too much information, but it was definitely too much doughnuts.