Today we decided to take the kids to a pumpkin patch. It wasn't a very large one, but I figured our kids are only 2 1/2 feet tall so relatively speaking it's more than 2x larger from their point of view than mine.
The patch had enough to do that it would keep our kids occupied for at least 15-30 minutes. There was a petting zoo, a hay maze, a bunch of inflatable bounce rooms and slides, and hundreds of pumpkins. Lisa and I hoped the kids would have a good time. But we should've been more specific with our hopes because we didn't have a very good time.
It all started simply enough with the hay maze. The maze was simple enough for really young kids and really drunk adults. I stayed outside of the maze taking pictures while Lisa followed the kids around. At one point, there was a tunnel that was about 3 ft tall. Emma went straight through, but Andrew became a little scared. Lisa tried to coax Andrew into the tunnel with her kindergarten teacher mantra: I'm gonna hit you if you don't do it right! The maze began to look like a sigalert with impatient children waiting to run you over. So Lisa squatted down as far as she could and clumsily made her way through the tunnel. As she exited, she got covered herself with hay and dirt while I sat on a bench moisturizing my hands with lotion.
As we continued our walk through the pumpkin patch, the kids took in the surroundings. They stared at the petting zoo trying to recall their favorite animals from puzzles and books. They smiled at the colorful inflatable slides and bounce houses. And they grew puzzled at the slightly stoned teenagers wearing Twilight t-shirts.
But the one thing they found fascinating was hay. At first the kids just stared at the hay they were walking on. They never saw anything like it before. The kids must've been marveling at how something so simple and slight could attract so many insects and flies and animal urine.
Once the kids became more comfortable with the hay, they began to touch it. Andrew started to use his fingers like a rake and moved hay all over the ground. Of course, Emma started to copy, and what was once two little kids experimenting with hay suddenly became an explosive study on how to kill the Scarecrow. Lisa and I had to pull the kids apart and distract them with something else. Unfortunately that something else was a pile of donkey dung, but at least it calmed the kids down.
The calm was too good to be true. Minutes later the kids were at it again. At first, we saw Andrew throwing hay into the air. It was getting all over him and the people around him. I pleaded Andrew to stop because he was getting a very large and tattooed man angry and Daddy just is not a very strong and confrontational person.
And just when we got Andrew to stop, Emma started at it. Emma was actually pretty bad because she was stacking hay on top of her head.
Lisa and I became the exasperated parents you see in public so we picked up the kids and decided to go home. After purchased two pumpkins, I carried Emma and the pumpkins to the car. As I waited for Lisa to catch up, I saw Andrew collapse to the ground in a fit of stubbornness. As Lisa clumsily picked Andrew off the ground, she once again covered herself with hay and dirt (and probably some animal urine in the process).
I popped open the car trunk and turned around to grab the pumpkins. When I turned around -- and it was just a few seconds -- the kids were throwing hay into the car. After much aggravation, Lisa and I drove home to give the kids a bath and to give ourselves a little rest. But as the kids jumped out of the bath and into the bedroom, Andrew gave us one more present: he peed all over the bedroom carpet.
Hopefully when Halloween actually comes this Saturday, it will be more treat than trick...or pee for that matter.