Today, Mom and I took Edith to Mama Mary’s Farm & Pumpkin Patch, which is exactly what it sounds like. There were a lot of people there, mostly with kids, but some young childless couples on what seemed a lot like first dates (I can imagine little more awkward) and weirdly, a massive gang of preteens who I wanted to punch. It’s Austin so it was sunny and roasting hot, but a lot of people were wearing their flannels and knee-high suede boots anyhow, gamely pretending for the ‘gram.
Mama Mary’s had a bunch of pumpkins piled around in photo opportunities, along with old rusted trucks, scarecrows, and other autumnal decor; a hay bale maze; a barn full of chickens, goats, and two depressed looking donkeys (one with a broken crest); food stalls; a train for kids to ride in driven by an extremely patient man with a wooden train whistle; and an apple cannon gun thing which we didn’t go look at because Edith doesn’t care for loud noises.
Naturally, we arrived exactly in time for Edith’s nap, but she was interested enough in the diversion to fight off sleep until we were on the way home, and although she was a little bleary-eyed, she seemed to enjoy herself.
For about twenty years, my M.O. any time I leave the house is to accomplish what I left it for as efficiently as possible and then return to it swiftly, so I can go back to my book. Likewise, when I go places with other people for experiences, my primary aim is to manipulate the situation such that they can experience it as efficiently as possible, so I can get home and back to my book. I’m really good at this; I have all sorts of well-honed tricks and strategies for convincing people they’ve seen enough, and when that doesn’t work, I can always find a shady spot to read an ebook on my phone until they’re ready to go.
Now, though, I have to work really hard to overcome those instincts and give Edith a genuinely good time. From the moment we arrived at Mama Mary’s, I found myself trying to do a quick circuit of the place and get back to the car, so I had to physically force myself to participate.
Having an extremely active seven-month-old is a bit of a pickle because she gets bored in the house, but she’s really too little to do much. I walked Edith through the animal barn and pointed at the goats. She was much more interested in the surrounding people. Then I propped her atop a hay bale and she watched a little girl run around. Then, we played a game where you use a water pump to flush rubber ducks down a chute, and Edith was pretty interested in operating the pump handle until the fucking teenagers surrounded us and crowded an ACTUAL BABY away from a baby game (did I mention I hated them?). Then, Edith and I sat on a hay bale in front of a stand of pumpkins and Mom took a bunch of photos and Edith repeatedly attempted to put a fistful of hay into her mouth while I was looking elsewhere. Then, we got food and Edith got to have her first encounter with nacho cheese sauce, of which she was a huge fan.
And then we were done! I am torn between being excited for when Edith will be bigger so that she can run around and ride in the little train and do things, and dreading it because of how much more exhausting it clearly was for all the parents of toddlers around me who were constantly chasing after their children and trying to keep them from putting animal poop in their mouths.
There were like four women there with newborns (and like two pregnant women with existing babies) and I’m always astonished to see parents of newborns out and about with them. The women are always beautifully dressed and fully made up, and they have already lost their baby weight. Until Edith was about five months old, a good day was if I managed to get out on the porch with her for a few minutes. At the time, I couldn’t fathom going anywhere ever again. Now, short daytime outings are somewhat more manageable, but they are still a significant undertaking. And Edith always looks cute, but as for my appearance, I immediately accepted after giving birth that I will be a muumuu-clad, bare-faced meemaw with a body like a muffin for the rest of my life; I’m absolutely too far gone to start performing femininity again. Maybe it’s just that I have always been a lazy, depressed, listless sack of shit even before I had a baby, so the usual exhaustion of having one is extra challenging for me personally. Probably I should be applauded for doing the minimum. I’m a hero, when you think about it.
Anyway, this outing was seasonally appropriate, definitely the sort of thing that people do, and now no one can say I failed to take my baby to a pumpkin patch.