By Carrie Tinsley of Carrie On Y’all
The autumn chill in the air gives parents everywhere a newfound sense of optimism. We believe our kids are a little older, a little wiser, and little more capable of handling the great activities that come with being a kid when the leaves are turning. That said, we parents should’ve learned by now. We drag our kids through these fall rites of passage and, as is often the case with kids, they don’t go as planned.
1. The County Fair: It’s expensive, there are long lines, and you’ll be picking cotton candy out of Taylor’s hair for the next millennium. Oh, and port-a-potties.
2. Camping in the Back Yard: This is diet camping. Dad decides it’s time we sleep in the great outdoors. We pretend to sleep, don’t sleep, poke, kick, and complain from about 9 pm to midnight, and then head inside to our own beds.
3. Camping in the Great Outdoors: The same scenario, except now we must either drive home or find a motel room at midnight that isn’t inhabited by too many bed bugs. We stare at the ceiling until dawn.
4. Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate for the Kids: The kids will never appreciate the subtle flavor extras and precise mixing effort that went into this hot chocolate. Why? Because they complain that it’s too hot, and after six ice cubes, it looks and tastes like watery chocolate milk.
5. Homemade Pinterest Halloween Costumes: Homemade costumes are a wasted effort. I’ll save money! She’ll be the best Elsa ever! Paper mâché is no big deal! These are the lies we tell ourselves.
6. Trick-or-Treating with One Small Baby: Your neighbors are onto you. That baby won’t be eating the candy, but chances are good that she’ll have a blowout diaper when you get most of the way down the block.
7. The Pumpkin Patch: There’s nothing like picking out the perfect giant orange pumpkin (after an hour-long debate). Inevitably, 4-year-old Fiona will insist on carrying the pumpkin to the car, accidentally drop it on dad’s foot, and it will be smashed to smithereens. Repeat.
8. Hayride: Hello…allergy season? Itchy? Bugs of indeterminate origin? Awkwardly piling in with strangers and enjoying the “country-ness” of it all? Good times, good times.
9. Hosting the Neighborhood Halloween Party: It will be fun, we said. Having 30 sugared-up kids in our house will be No.Big.Deal, we said. In retrospect, the guy in the gorilla costume scaring the kids during hide-and-seek in the dark may have been a bad idea.
10. Family Pictures with Leaves: It begins as an adorable photo shoot of kiddos tossing gorgeous red, gold, and orange fall leaves into the air and smiling as they float down. It becomes kids digging down to the yucky wet leaves, tossing those in the air, ruining their perfect outfits, and getting into a leaf fight. The photographer is horrified, it’s all on film, and you’ve paid a lot of money to watch Sam stuff leaves into his sister’s hair.
Do we parents know better? Yep. Do we try anyway? Of course. Here’s to the hay-riding, fair-going, trick-or-treating kids of fall. Sit back, enjoy your pumpkin spice hot chocolate, and keep that gorilla mask handy.
About Carrie Tinsley
Carrie Tinsley is a Southern girl, a recovering English teacher, the wife of a very patient man, and the mother of three kids, a dog, and a cat. Lucky for you, she blogs about parenting misadventures and other poor attempts at housekeeping and DIY at Carrie On Y’all. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.