Ah, fall. Pumpkin Pie. Rust-colored leaves dancing gently in the breeze. Tiny witches and goblins (or, more likely, Elsas and Ninja Turtles) knocking at your door. There’s so much to love about the post-beach, pre-Christmas season. For weeks now, I’ve been dragging my kids from one fall activity to the next, presumably for their entertainment. However, I have to confess that — as much as my 5-year-old looks forward to trick-or-treating — many of these events are more for Mommy’s enjoyment than theirs. Here are three fall activities that make Mommy happy, and which, in all honesty, my kids could probably live without.
1. Hayrides. I don’t know if it’s the gentle motion of the wagon as the breeze tussles my hair, or that my kids are captive with no choice but to sit and look at the scenery — but I love a good hayride. Sure, at some point my daughter starts belting out “Let It Go” and my toddler discovers that hay is fun to throw (especially at fellow passengers). But at least the chaos is relatively contained. Plus, anything motion-related has the added benefit of making my toddler sleepy — always a good thing. While my kids would probably prefer to jump in leaves rather than ride beside them, I find it to be a serene, relaxing experience — one of the few I get all day.
2. Pumpkin picking. Everyone loved apple picking. My daughter got to climb trees and carry a pole. My toddler got to shove apples in his mouth before I could “sanitize” them with my shirt. I figured pumpkin picking would be an equal sucess. While my kids certainly enjoyed running through the pumpkin patch, investigating each bright orange orb in their path, after a while one pumpkin started to look like the next. I, on the other hand, could have stayed in that patch all day. I loved wandering through the lush, green grass, inhaling the crisp autumn air. I fantasized about carving terrifying jack-o-lanterns, or baking elaborate pumpkin pies (once I learned how to bake, that is). My kids may have moved on to more important tasks, like dressing scarecrows and raking leaves, but my heart remained with the pumpkins, the greenery, and the promise of caloric baked goods.
3. Halloween parades. Spooky costumes. Loud music. Members of the Rotary Club tossing Tootsie Rolls into the crowd. What’s not to love about witches and ghouls marching down Main Street? Nothing, for about ten minutes. Then, after watching the third float go by with SpongeBob at its helm, my kids start to grow more interested in fighting over a lollipop chucked at them by Bozo the Deranged-Looking Clown than in watching drum majors in devil costumes. While I’d be happy to stick around until the end, after a while my kids prefer to do their own marching — to the nearby ice cream shop, where they can indulge in what Halloween is really all about: sweets.
Indeed, the season offers no shortage of family-friendly activities. And, as I sit back on that hayride, daydreaming of the pumpkin sorbet I’ll one day learn to make — and the elaborate parade-worthy costumes I’ll one day learn to sew — I’ll ignore the toddler throwing hay at me and the kindergartner asking when it’s time to eat. After all, I don’t attend these events for me. No, of course not. I do it all for the children.
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