Friday, October 12, 2007

Punkin' Pickin'


Ahhhh....the Pumpkin Patch. One of the great timeless Fall traditions. Ranks right up there with watching your kids jump in a pile of leaves while you sip hot apple cider. However, wrangling around my brood at the patch today without David ranked right up there with dumping hot apple cider in my lap, then being made to eat the entire pile of leaves. No, there were some enjoyable moments I'm sure I'll look back fondly on.

I have decided it's not my kids that make the outings so's other people. Other mothers specifically. They have good intentions I'm sure, but they just stress me out. We went with Reese's preschool class today and Reese happily played with another little girl in her class. There were a lot of huge slides to go down. I felt comfortable letting Reese and Drue go down the slides while I chased Tate around. There weren't any ladders to climb up, just hills, so I didn't have to worry about them falling off backwards. Reese was excited to be with her friend, so she kept forgetting about Drue. Drue was scared of the slides so by the time her turn came around, she just froze at the top and cried. Tate loudly vocalized his distaste at being scooped up while we raced to the foot of the slide and tried to coax her down as a bunch of impatient children were yammering behind her. I tried to call sweetly to her in front of the other mothers, when all I really wanted to do was reprimand Reese for leaving her poor defenseless little sister, then yell to Drue to slide down or else.

Even after the traumatic slide event, however, she was still crying. And Tate was off to find what adventure awaited him behind the porta potty door. I wanted to just leave Drue for a minute to rescue him, but that would have looked bad also, so I grabbed her and ran as fast as is possible with a 35 pound sack of potatoes on my hip. She kept bursting into tears intermittently and the other mother we were walking around with kept sweetly trying to come up with a logical explanation for her sadness. "Is she upset because she got left behind?", she pondered. We were well past that experience, however, so I didn't really have an explanation for the her.

And of course, there are the looks. After Tate was banished back into the wagon, he kept squealing and trying to hurl himself out over the back of the seat as other mothers cast side glances at him trying to figure out if he was being abused. Drue's tears got a lot of looks also. I wanted to just scream, "Do not worry about this child! She has not severed an appendage. Her sock is probably just on crooked!". Because that is exactly the type of thing that sends her into a tailspin for some reason.

So if all those other mothers hadn't been there, and I could rent the pumpkin patch out for one afternoon for just us...I could be myself, not worrying about others' opinions of my child rearing skills and we'd all have a good time.

When we first arrived and were waiting to get in, one of the other mothers said, "My 'honey please don't do that'...will probably turn into a 'CUT IT OUT' by the end of the morning." To which I added, "Yeah, you all are going to see my true colors come out today I'm sure!". They are used to seeing me quietly standing outside the classroom waiting to pick up Reese.

One of the other mothers always comments on how well-behaved my younger two are as we gather in the hall waiting for the door to open. I usually explain to her that (a) they are either too tired to misbehave, or (b) they've already pitched a royal fit in the van before we even came inside.

As we were getting ready to leave the patch today, I saw her and asked, "Well, did you see my kids going crazy earlier?". Which she surprisingly responded, "No, I didn't. Every time I saw you guys I just couldn't understand how you do it, because they were all so well behaved." So there was a little luck on my side today after all...

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