It's fall now. This means the odds are high that you and your family will be heading out to a pumpkin patch or fall festival at a farm to take full advantage of the season.
And you should! These opportunities only come along once a year.
As a parent thick in the throes of parenting young kids, who has been to her fair share of farms over the years, allow me to give you my top tips for navigating the farm this fall.
1. The weather will not be perfect.
Not doubt you are envisioning a crisp, fall day. There will be a slight nip in the air, you will be in jeans and a flannel shirt, maybe even some cute knit hats. The sun will be smiling down upon you.
This will most likely not be the case. Plan accordingly.
It might be hot (one year my family and I sweated it out in our flannel shirts and jeans), rainy, muddy, cold, overcast, humid...the odds of getting your perfect weather are pretty slim. Embrace it, plan for it, and let go of the vision.
2. The toilet situation will be rough.
Farm fields weren't made for plumbing. I, fortunately, was blessed with two boys. Enough said.
3. You will end up carrying around a huge pumpkin.
Afterall, you head to the pumpkin patch to, ultimately, get your pumpkin. Yet there ends up being games, hands-on activities, hay rides, and huge corn mazes.
Resign yourself to the fact that you will most likely end up juggling a large pumpkin through all of these situations. Remember being pregnant, walking around with a huge mound of an extra 30 pounds in front of you? Yeah, that.
4. Hay will be everywhere.
If you go to a fall farm with a corn crib (one of those huge beds of dried corn kernels kids can jump in) include corn in this. It will show up in shoes, diapers, socks, hair, diaper bags, pants, your dryer...for months. I have no idea how. It just happens.
5. It will cost money.
You might think "Farm! Salt of the earth people! Land for all! This should be cheap." You are wrong. Farms are businesses run by smart people, and they want your money when you come tromping on their land with your kids.
You will pay for entry and then probably for additional activities on top of that. "Oh wait, you wanted to take that pumpkin home?! That will be another $6."
But it is only once a year, so it's worth it.
6. You will get lost in the corn maze.
Yes, even if you do the "kid-sized one." At some point you and your family will be all kinds of turned around, and you will be completely lost.
At this time you will start to freak out, "I can't live in a corn maze!" You will assess the number of snacks and drinks you have in your diaper bag and calculate how long you think they could sustain your family if you ration it out. You will realize that you have at least two days if people can share, and you start to relax, thinking of the local fame you can capitalize on as 'The Family Who Lived in the Corn Maze.'
Then, your children start to argue over some meaningless point. And you realize that, TV interviews or not, you have to get out of there. You start to hyperventilate and just at that moment, BAM, you see the end of the maze.
You most likely wonder why you do this to yourself; you might vow you will never do this again. But then you will look back at the pictures, sometime in February a piece of hay will fall out of your dryer, and you will laugh with your kids about the time you were lost in the corn maze. You will know it was all worth it.