It’s October and I’m in my mid-30s, which can only mean one thing: my Facebook newsfeed is suddenly clogged with an astounding number of family photos taken in pumpkin patches. Some time in the last five years or so about 89% of everyone I have ever met in my life, from pre-school to prenatal yoga class, has popped out a kid or two, myself included. And this time of year it seems that 99% of all those people are strapping their babies into their car seats and heading out to the nearest pumpkin patch for an afternoon of… I’m not sure what. What goes on at the pumpkin patch? From the looks of these photos, it seems like you sit in a field and … take pictures? And then maybe pick out a pumpkin and take it home and carve it? I’ve heard that sometimes there are pony rides and petting zoos and hot apple cider, but so far I have not seen photographic evidence of this. It all sounds sort of mythical if you ask me.
I didn’t grow up in the states and didn’t have a child until last year, so my understanding of American kid culture, especially of the seasonal variety, is still a little spotty. Have pumpkin patches always been a Thing? Or has the advent of Facebook and the search for adorable photo opportunities made it so? Because, I will admit: people all dressed up in their fall attire with their babies in pumpkin patches look fucking adorable, they do. But beyond the photo opp, I don’t understand the activity. But I also don’t really understand apple-picking either and I’m know I’m a freak in that regard too. Who doesn’t get excited about picking apples?! (I don’t. You pick apples from trees? And then you take them home and eat them? So … it’s sort of like grocery shopping, only it’s just the one item you’re getting? But it’s fun because you’re outside? Why not just go to the park and then go grocery shopping on your way home?).
Here’s another thing seemingly every other mother on Facebook or anywhere else gets excited about that I just can’t muster any enthusiasm for: kids’ birthday parties. I mean, don’t get me wrong: I’m going to throw my kid birthday parties and I will do so lovingly. I’m just not particularly looking forward to it. And there will be no theme. Or, more correctly, the theme will be “You’re a year older! Happy Birthday! Now blow out your candles!” I’ll be the parent who orders a coupla pizzas, buys a cake from the nearest bakery, and tacks a Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey game on the wall. Do kids still even play that? Well, they will at my son’s parties. Maybe one year I’ll get all crazy and buy a piñata, but don’t expect me to make one.
And don’t expect me to make Halloween costumes either. I have a hard enough time deciding what to dress myself in on a random Tuesday. I’ll be ahead if I can order a costume online in time for the big day. I’ll probably forget to even do that and end up at the drugstore an hour before trick-or-treating hoping it’s not just masks of dead presidents left on the shelf.
Here’s the part where I confess that I’m worried. I’m worried that I have gone and had a baby whom I love very much, but maybe I’m going to screw up because I don’t feel like going to a pumpkin patch, I think buying a plastic Halloween costume at the drug store is perfectly acceptable, and painting my nails is my idea of a big DIY project. I probably have no business being a mom.
Tell me I’m not alone here. Even if my Facebook newsfeed would lead me to believe otherwise, surely there are other mothers out there who do the bare minimum when it comes to seasonal activities. Surely there are other non-crafty, non-pumpkin-patch-loving, theme party-hatin’ moms who will band with me in an effort to de-stigamtize our lot. Because, hey!, it’s not like we hate fall or birthdays or special occasions. I’ll crack open a pumpkin ale at Oktoberfest with the best of ’em. Just don’t ask me to bake a cake for it.
iwannatalktosampson October 23, 2012, 12:06 pm
I had a different pumpkin patch tradition. There was a pumpkin patch outside of my town by about 15 minutes and every year about 20 of my friends (and friends’ friends) would get really drunk and go to the pumpkin patch for the hayrack ride and the haunted house. Like stupid drunk. We went about 6 years in a row (I think my friends still do it – I just don’t live there anymore) and every year the people that ran the place recognized us and asked us please not to get too rowdy as soon as we showed up. So the thought of a pumpkin patch being a family friendly event is very strange to me.
My newsfeed is also full of pumpkin patch pictures. And it does look adorable. Mostly the scarves and boots. I just like to pretend that the pumpkin lattes are spiked.
LM October 23, 2012, 12:07 pm
Wendy, I’m right there with you! I’m not fond of the holiday season because of all the things that “need” to be done. I don’t like planning birthday parties because there is so much involved and all the screaming little kids… I don’t do pumpkin patches – the one time I did, I got nothing but complaints. I only make certain things (mostly food related) because it’s cheaper. I own a sewing machine, but it’s sadly collecting dust…
Maybe there is a compromise and having Jackson pick out a pumpkin at the grocery store or taking him once to a pumpkin patch? And there is absolutely nothing wrong with pizza, a grocery store cake and pin the tail on the donkey.
mcj2012 October 23, 2012, 12:09 pm
I’ve been doing it since I’m a kid and now i take my kids. We go apple/pumpkin picking, hayrides, corn mazes, being outdoors and basking in the fall!
MissDre October 23, 2012, 12:43 pm
I loved all that when I was a kid 🙂 Totally forgot this kinda thing even existed! I am definitely taking my kids pumpkin picking when I have them.
Riefer October 23, 2012, 1:32 pm
I’ve never been to a pumpkin patch, we used to always go to the sugar bush! That’s where they tap the trees for maple syrup. They have a tour that you can go on to go see the process of making maple syrup, including the massive cauldrons where they’re boiling the sap to reduce it (10 cups of sap = 1 cup of syrup!). They would have at least one old-style one, hanging between two trees with a fire going under it, like how the pioneers did it. They also have hayrides, usually a petting zoo (with farm animals, esp baby ones), and the one we used to go to had apple picking plus a small market where you could buy maple syrup, maple sugar, maple candy, and baked goods like homemade apple pie. And also they had a massive pancake breakfast with all the maple syrup you could eat!
I don’t know if it would seem as exciting as an adult, but to me as a kid, it was fantastic!
And I never totally “got” apple picking, except for the part where you got to take a hayrick pulled by horses out to the orchard and back again. The actual picking is meh, to me, but it is kinda cool for a kid to see where the food actually comes from, to connect farms to grocery stores in that way. And some of them had barns full of dairy cows too, so you could see where milk came from.
Anyway, you should probably go once. It’s a good learning experience to show where our food comes from and why farms are important, and then you can go to a farmer’s market in town to show that they bring there crop in to sell it to people to eat.
Riefer October 23, 2012, 1:34 pm
I mean you should go to a pumpkin patch once. Don’t take a trip to Canada or Vermont just to see a sugar bush. It won’t be worth it. 🙂
Skyblossom October 23, 2012, 2:35 pm
You can also see a sugar bush in North East Ohio with hayrack rides and open fires making maple syrup the way the pioneers did and even like the Native Americans did with heated stones dropped into sap in a hollowed out log.
Ani Nani October 23, 2012, 4:09 pm
One of my favorite school field trips! I want to go to the Maple Syrup fest, but every year I miss it. Maple Candy, so yummy!
MissDre October 23, 2012, 2:10 pm
Definitely did the Sugar Bush a million times as a kid. It’s always fun to get fresh taffee poured over popsicle sticks in the snow.
mcj2012 October 24, 2012, 11:07 am
I have never down the sugar bush! Sounds like something my kids would love…especially the pancake part! LOL
mcj2012 October 24, 2012, 12:27 pm
*done the sugar bush! Can one down a sugar bush? LOL
Tax Geek October 23, 2012, 12:10 pm
>I think buying a plastic Halloween costume at the drug store is perfectly acceptable
Quick, someone call child-protective services…
JK October 23, 2012, 12:11 pm
I donpt get all the halloween stuff, since unfortunately I´ve never lived in a place that does halloween (or the other autumn activities). I do love planning, cooking, decorating etc for my girls´birthdays though. And dont worry Wendy, I´m sure Jackson will ask you for a theme soon enough. 🙂
Skyblossom October 23, 2012, 2:37 pm
That’s what I was thinking. Jackson will be full of ideas about what he’d like for his birthday and you take it from there. Also, grocery store bakeries have books full of cakes to choose and you just order it and tell them what to write on top and the kids love them.
JK October 23, 2012, 5:19 pm
Grocery store cakes remind me of Cake Wrecks (anyone that hasnt seen that blog should totally check it out).
I just make a box cake, frost it, and put on the characters of choice (to date the eldest has had Backyardigans, Winnie the Pooh, Princesses and My Little Ponies). It´s cheap, easy, and looks fine (although not magazine quality)
Christy October 23, 2012, 12:11 pm
I think I would enjoy making kiddie halloween costumes because it would be a fun sewing challenge. I think of sewing as building things with cloth. (I worked as a theatrical carpenter in college and so I’m totally on board with building things from wood.) It would be fun to figure out how to piece a costume together. I also love Halloween costumes.
But half the time I think people go to pumpkin patches just because they think they’re supposed to.
iwannatalktosampson October 23, 2012, 12:16 pm
But half the time I think people go to pumpkin patches just because they think they’re supposed to.
YES. It’s like on their check list or something. Okay, October is the month we get a photo opp at the pumpkin patch. November is when we are thankful for our lives and when we take our mandatory picture in front of the christmas tree. January is when we get in “baby’s first snowfall”. Sometimes I think facebook ruins the genuineness of life. It’s like if something isn’t documented on facebook did it actually happen?
LM October 23, 2012, 12:19 pm
And don’t forget Santa in December and traumatizing the kids in April with the terrifying counterfeit Easter bunny.
GatorGirl October 23, 2012, 12:23 pm
Dude, the Easter Bunny at the mall is terrifying. Who thought that was a good idea??
Also, why is it a thing to take your kid all dressed up to the mall, wait in line for hours, and sit them on the lap of a creepy elderly man dressed as Santa and take a keepsake photo of it? Isn’t that like totally weird?
iwannatalktosampson October 23, 2012, 12:25 pm
Ha that reminds me of the bad santa movie – which is my favorite movie of all time.
My friend takes her dogs to get photographed with Santa. :/
GatorGirl October 23, 2012, 12:27 pm
I’m currently trying to find a Santa hat that will fit my cat. Yeah…just admitted that to the world.
va-in-ny October 23, 2012, 1:29 pm
Last year, PetCo had a holiday cat section, where a lot of kitty Santa hats were available.. as well as an elf costume.
I mean, I don’t know WHO would buy something like that.. like a Christmas cape for a cat… (Hint: It’s me.)
GatorGirl October 23, 2012, 1:36 pm
Thanks!! I will have to go look! I want to put a picture of the cat in a Santa hat on our Christmas card. ha.
va-in-ny October 23, 2012, 2:16 pm
GatorGirl October 23, 2012, 3:05 pm
Oh the cat is going to be so pissed when I put this on him. Hahahaha. Thank you!!
jlyfsh October 23, 2012, 12:29 pm
ok so i take my dogs to meet santa too. BUT, all the donations from the pictures go to the local humane society and they have a whole day dedicated to it with other things to buy and ways to donate so i tell myself i’m really just doing it to help them raise money.
and GatorGirl good luck. I bought both my dogs Santa hat’s last year and my dog Cajun ate both of them in about 5 seconds. there will be no more hats this year.
LM October 23, 2012, 12:32 pm
I do the Santa thing because my daughter still believes in him and I don’t want her to kill it early for my son. Santa is still a bargaining chip in my house with her and I have him on speed dial :). The Easter Bunny… *cringing* when my brother and I were younger, my mom took us once and only once. The picture is in the dark recesses of our garage of the two of us screaming as a permanent reminder that the Easter Bunny is not a six foot tall bunny. According to the commercials, we believed he was a small bunny that clucked like a chicken and had chocolate eggs. My mom quickly popped our small bubbles on that one.
This is a forgivable offense though – she wasn’t born in America and only did it once.
theattack October 23, 2012, 1:14 pm
My fiance is legitimately terrified of the Easter bunny. It seems to be the only thing he’s afraid of. He can’t walk through the cereal aisle for fear of seeing the Trix rabbit either, so really it’s all big white bunnies that stand on their hind legs. He’s convinced that when he was a kid, on two separate occasions a giant white rabbit came to his bedroom window and stared at him with evil eyes and then ran into the woods. Our kids are going to be so messed up…
JK October 23, 2012, 1:16 pm
Never let him watch Donnie Darko. 🙂
Moneypenny October 23, 2012, 1:23 pm
Seriously, that is one creepy rabbit.
+1 for mentioning DD! 🙂
theattack October 23, 2012, 3:16 pm
Thanks for the tip! I’ve been wanting to watch that movie, and I just got some free rental coupons, so you probably did just save him from a night of pure terror. haha
mandalee October 23, 2012, 12:12 pm
Okay, I’m probably a weirdo in that I love pumpkin patches, apple picking, etc, but I can see how someone wouldn’t get it or not enjoy it much. I grew in the boring mountains of Pennsylvania, so there was a pumpkin patch, corn maze, apple orchard, etc. pretty much every 10 miles. As a kid I loved it, was bored by it as a teenager, and love it now as a grown up, mainly because I’m a big kid. I am addicted to cider apple donuts dipped in sugar and cinnamon (heaven) and love supporting local farmers because my in-laws used to own an orchard.
I don’t think it matters that as a mom you’re not into the typical fall holiday things, like pumpkin patches. I’m sure as Jackson grows up he’ll have plenty of great traditions throughout the year, that missing out on picking out a pumpkin is no big deal.
mandalee October 23, 2012, 12:14 pm
Oh and theme birthday parties, also not important. All the kids I’ve worked with are most interested in cake and birthday presents on their party. I always feel like themes and extra DIYs are done my moms who love doing it not because children insist on it.
JK October 23, 2012, 12:22 pm
You haven´t met my eldest… she always picks the theme for her next birthday in january (her birthday is in december). And has to be involved in the selection of party favours, cake decorations, invitations, etc.
KKZ October 23, 2012, 12:58 pm
Bet you can’t wait until she’s ready to plan a wedding, huh? 😉
JK October 23, 2012, 1:00 pm
Luckily huge weddings aren´t a thing where we live. 🙂
FireStar October 23, 2012, 1:16 pm
mandalee October 23, 2012, 1:49 pm
LOL obviously there are exceptions! Some kids do love their birthdays, but hopefully Jackson won’t be too into his haha
GatorGirl October 23, 2012, 12:19 pm
Seriously mandalee you just described my childhood. I grew up in semi-rural PA, surrounded by farms, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, pretty much anything and everything fall. My family even ownded an orchard and made apple cider on the premise and sold it to local grocery stores! Which is why I can’t drink cider now…the process is rather fragrant.
kerrycontrary October 23, 2012, 12:26 pm
I grew up in PA too!!! So I’m obsessed farmers markets, supporting local produce, and rural things. I need to be outside in the woods/farms/rolling hills to feel normal and like myself.
mandalee October 23, 2012, 1:52 pm
Yay for all the other PA kids on Dear Wendy! It’s nice to know there are other people who enjoy all the farm/small town things that I was conditioned to love growing up haha
kerrycontrary October 23, 2012, 2:32 pm
Oh, and I had an apple cider doughnut 2 weeks ago. It was awesome and fattening and perfect. My favorite doughnuts are the potato doughnuts from the farm show (have you been to the farm show!?)
mandalee October 23, 2012, 4:16 pm
Oh my god, yes potato doughnuts are pretty amazing! And yes, I have. I thought they were just the greatest thing when I was younger.
AmyRenee October 23, 2012, 1:11 pm
I grew up (and live now) in Ohio in an area with lots of pumpkin patches, apple picking etc. I go to the orchards to buy the apples, because there is nothing yummier than fresh in season apples (grocery store apples just don’t compare). But apple picking has become a super tourist-like expensive “thing” in our area, so we don’t bother. U-pick strawberries, blueberries, etc are cheaper when you pick them yourself, but apple picking has evolved to include hayrides, corn mazes etc and its more expensive to pick them yourself than to buy already picked – no thank you. My kids know apples come off trees, we have friends with a few – I don’t need to spend money to take them out to pick them.
Oh, and we take pictures of our kids with pumpkins, but just the giant pile of pumpkins in front of the apple orchard, we don’t bother going hiking out in the fields to get them. All my fall pictures from when I was a kid involve piles of leaves that we raked and jumped in – maybe people go to pumpkin patches for fall now because they all live in cities or housing developments with no trees so they can’t just go out in their yard to enjoy fall?
I don’t decorate my house seasonally for anything other than Christmas – actually, I barely decorate my house at all, so when I do put up a decoration, it needs to be something that can stay up all year long. And my 5 year old son’s birthday party theme this year? Birthday party. We got art supplies and let the kids decorate party hats, then frosting & sprinkles and let them decorate cupcakes. Easiest “non theme” ever – I highly recommend it for a low key birthday without tons of preparation.
ktfran October 23, 2012, 1:53 pm
Fresh picked apples are so much better than store bought apples. That’s why we go to the orchard too. We actually don’t pick them off the trees. I’ve never done that. I also feel the same with homegrown tomatoes. Store bought do not compare. At all.
iwannatalktosampson October 23, 2012, 12:14 pm
If pin the tail on the donkey is no longer at kids’ parties I see no point in having kids.
ginevrah October 23, 2012, 12:15 pm
I have some great memories of going to a pumpkin patch as a kid, but it definitely involved hay rides/corn mazes/apple cider, etc. But finding the perfect pumpkin was probably more fun for me than normal kids because of my raging OCD. Same with Christmas trees.
GatorGirl October 23, 2012, 12:20 pm
Wendy this is brilliant! I love fall (and all of the related fall activities) but I live in FL and it’s still shorts weather here. Seriously it’s still in the high 80’s. I can’t find a pumpkin patch or apple orchard to save my life.
jlyfsh October 23, 2012, 12:21 pm
I think you can blame all of the above things on Pinterest/Facebook/etc. People feel the need to out do each other.
Although I do love a good pumpkin patch. I like being able to say I know where my pumpkin came from. And the place I used to go to at home had homemade pumpkin ice cream in the fall. I think about 85% of the reason I still went was because of the ice cream 😉
And yeah I’m an adult survivor of non-themed birthdays. My family always made birthdays important in our own way, just without going over the top. Since I was about 5 I’ve always had a funfetti cake with funfetti or strawberry icing (you got to have some variety! ;)) and everyone get’s the official Happy Birthday Banner put up at my Grandmother’s house when we meet for dinner. You’ll have your own special traditions soon!
Fabelle October 23, 2012, 12:22 pm
I definitely think pumpkin patches have become a photo op moment. I embraced it this year without pretense– like, my boyfriend & I wore plaid, drove to one literally 15 minutes before it closed, & took pictures of each other holding pumpkins with the cornfield in the background. Bam. An autumnal Facebook album.
I’m someone who LOVES this season, but I don’t really ‘get’ it either 🙂
SarahKat October 23, 2012, 12:23 pm
I’m convinced those super crafty “I can spend 72 hours straight making a hand embroidered quilt dress for my daughter’s Raggedy Ann costume without sleep or my basic human needs” parents will eventually smother their snowflakes with too much attention and devotion to the point where the kids rebel way harder than they would normally would anyway, so I think you’re good.
So, I don’t think you should HAVE to go to a pumpkin patch but if its a legit farm, OMG GO FOR THE CORN. Farm corn is the BEST. I could eat infinity farm corn ears. Those little rascals running around chipping teeth on punkins have no idea how much more fun it is to run in a corn field too.
My tradition as a kid (whether it was at the store or the patch, pumpkins are pumpkins) was to find the ugliest and most dented pumpkin that no one else wanted and I would pick that one to carve. My mom liked it because it taught me how to look out for the underdog and my dad liked it because he got to help me make freak show jack ‘o’ lanterns.
csp October 23, 2012, 5:07 pm
I like your comment about the smothering the snowflake. I had a discussion with a friend about doing chores vs. playing with your kids. I said it was important for kids to see people doing chores because it showed that they put value in the things they work hard for. Like a kid should see you cleaning out closets and washing dishes. It shouldn’t be that all that stuff waits until after they go to bed as if it happens by magic.
kerrycontrary October 23, 2012, 12:24 pm
My mom was like you. She was minimal effort, hardly decorate for the holidays, you-really-want-a-birthday-party? kind of mom. But because of that I’ve turned out the opposite! I don’t have a baby and my boyfriend and I went to a pumpkin patch/orchard. But I’m very focused on being connected to where my food comes from and appreciating the effort that goes into it. So I know that I’m supporting an orchard 10 mins from my house instead of one in Argentina. And, taking your three year old to a hayride, face painting, apple picking, and pumpkin choosing gives them a great memory in addition to going to the park again on a saturday. Plus it tires them out really well! People just do it because it’s fun, no other reason than that.
XanderT October 23, 2012, 12:29 pm
I am 48, have 2 children and 1 grandchild. I did not do these things, either and I regret it. My excuse was that I was just too busy. I worked full time (left the house at 6:20 AM and got home at 6:30 PM) and was in charge of our 2 kids the rest of the time. For whatever reason my (ex)husband did not participate much with the kids. As my children have grown up they have expressed sadness that they missed out on these things – not as an huge thing, but just in general conversation. These activities are memory makers for children – and adults as well. Now that I am raising my grand daughter I am making more time for memories that she can tell her own children about. So, I had to pull straw out of my sweater for an hour after we got off the flatbed trailor that was pulled by a tractor at the pumpkim patch – my grand daughter loved it! And, yes, they did have a petting zoo. So what if it smelled nasty & the animals scared me – my grand daughter loved it! I’m sure you will have your own special memories with your child(ren), but these occaisions are already established – why not make some more memories?FYI – I am not crafty, either. I did, however, spend $35 on a Halloween costume for my grand daughter (and bought it a week ago) because having a Halloween costume is important to her – even if it isn’t to me. And so what if we ate mac and cheese instead of having lunch out on that $35 – my grand daughter loves her costume and has already spent a couple of hours playing dress up in it.
kerrycontrary October 23, 2012, 12:33 pm
yeh, my mom didn’t throw me birthday parties a lot. I had a birthday party when I was 5, but that’s because we had bought a new house so it was also a house-warming party. I wish my parents had thrown birthday parties. They didn’t need to be huge extravaganzas, but at least having some birthday memories/photos would’ve been nice.
LM October 23, 2012, 12:50 pm
I’m sorry to read that! I didn’t get birthday parties either.
Riefer October 23, 2012, 1:40 pm
We always had our birthday parties at McDonald’s. We loved it, it was easy for our parents, and no mess to clean up! Comes with a cake and everything!
LM October 23, 2012, 2:58 pm
In theory, that sounds great! But I really just can’t get behind their food and how bad it is. Except their fries. Their fries are awesomely, deliciously bad.
Riefer October 23, 2012, 4:19 pm
Yeah, but we only ever got to go as a special treat, mostly for birthdays. And as kids, we did love the food. I still like it as an adult, I just don’t eat it because of how bad I know it is. 🙁
rangerchic October 23, 2012, 12:42 pm
I like to go do the corn-maze and buy the fresh apples because the apples are picked locally as opposed to the grocery store where they are trucked in from whereever. But ya know we never did a “photo-opp”. I just love fall and the weather and those things so we try to go.
I am the oldest of 4 siblings and was the first to have a child and was really young – 19. So when my daughter turned 1 I had a birthday party for her and for many more years afterwords. This is one thing I wish I would not have started – I just thought you were supposed to do it for some reason. But now I hate that it got started because I have to go to all my siblings kids parties and most of the time it sucks. I mean I love my nephews and nieces but I hate the parties – and it is all my own damn fault! I mean have a few parties for the big numbers or when the kids are really into it but not every single year…UGH. I finally tapered off having parties for my kids. No one has noticed. BLAH –
*HmC* October 23, 2012, 12:43 pm
I love pumpkin patches… but I think a huge part of that is that my parents used to take me to pumpkin patches to get Halloween pumpkins when I was a kid, so there’s a good dose of nostalgia to the activity. Like any cultural tradition, it becomes fun just as much because of memories you’ve formed, as for the actual activity. Same thing goes for picking out a Christmas tree and decorating it, or blowing out birthday candles, or ordering a Honey Baked ham for Easter. It’s the tradition and culture inherent in those things that makes them so satisfying.
MissDre October 23, 2012, 12:49 pm
My very favourite memories weren’t pumpkin patches (although I did love that as a kid) but going to cut our own Christmas tree with my mom and my brother. We’d head out to the tree farm in the middle of nowhere, walk through the snow til we found our perfect tree, and then have a little picnic. My mom would pack hot chocolate and Christmas cookies. Then before we cut down our tree, we would “decorate” a tree for the animals, with nuts and seeds and pieces of fruit, etc to say thanks to nature for giving us a Christmas tree.
Seems like SO much work now (dunno how my mom had the energy to cut and drag home a real tree with two little kids), and I’m definitely going to just buy a really nice fake tree for my own kids, but this kind of thing made me so happy as a child.
GatorGirl October 23, 2012, 1:23 pm
My parents always get a tree with the roots and all. We plant them at our house after Christmas is over (or when the ground thaws…). It’s a really nice tradition because we have all these little Christmas trees scattered around our backyard. My dad can even tell you which year is which tree.
FireStar October 23, 2012, 1:24 pm
SarahKat October 23, 2012, 1:26 pm
Honestly that is the best Christmas tree tradition I’ve ever heard of.
ktfran October 23, 2012, 1:56 pm
Agreed. Pretty great. And it reminded me of Christmas Vacation, one of my three favorite Christmas movies.
bethany October 23, 2012, 2:06 pm
I loved going to cut down our tree, too. We went to this place that had Clydesdales pulling a sled out to the field… it was awesome!
jlyfsh October 23, 2012, 2:07 pm
i always wanted a real tree, but i’m allergic to all pines and firs. we’ve always had plastic 🙁
LM October 23, 2012, 2:39 pm
That makes me sad :(. How about getting a plastic tree and spraying the scent of pine trees?
jlyfsh October 23, 2012, 2:56 pm
yeah allergic to the spray too, i’ll just have to visit other people’s houses and enjoy their trees! as long as i’m not in the same room with the pine/fir for more than an hour or so i’m ok. and of course if i don’t touch it!
ktfran October 23, 2012, 12:51 pm
We grew up close to an apple orchard and every year, we would go, buy fresh, local apples and pour little cups of apple cidar from the machine. I still go home in the fall to do this with my family. There is now a pumpkin patch in my hometown, we take my nieces and go on the hayride and through the corn maze.
For me, it’s not so much about taking photos, but building memories. My mom once told me we did a lot of the same things year after year and for the holiday’s so we had the memories of the family togetherness. Which is HUGE in my family.
We also decorate Christmas cookies together and Easter eggs. Not just my immediate family – Grandma, aunts and cousins included. We took vacations together. We met half way between my hometown and where we grew up and had picnics along the Mississippi. We had so much fun together and we are all really close now.
I really don’t think it matters what you do, just do what your family enjoys and build your own traditions.
MissDre October 23, 2012, 12:53 pm
I miss being a kid SO much right now! Decorating easter eggs! Making Christmas cookies! Hayrides… Ahhhhh! You’re right though, it’s about the family togetherness and building your own traditions.
ktfran October 23, 2012, 1:47 pm
Right? I have so many great memories.
Although I admit, I still color Easter eggs every year. Even when I lived in Florida, I colored Easter eggs with my boyfriend at the time and his mom. Did I mention I love coloring Easter eggs?
And recently, we starting the cookie baking tradition again.
jlyfsh October 23, 2012, 1:51 pm
you guys are making me miss my family 🙁 we do the same things only i get to do them less now that i live far away. the Christmas cookies were always a big deal. We used too go through all of the recipes and each pick our top two and make them all and then give some of them out as gifts. This one year we found some named amber jewels. It involved cutting candy orange slices in to tiny bits, my Grandmother is a trooper! Now we just don’t have enough time with everyone, but this year I am going to find a way to get home and have enough time to make cookies with them!! 🙂
And yeah I love decorating Easter eggs, especially using crayons to draw designs on them first.
Now I’m sad I’m not going home for Thanksgiving 🙁
Meg October 24, 2012, 11:03 am
Our family is the same way – we are HUGE into traditions, most of them howeve revolving around Christmas. We have cinnamon rolls for breakfast Christmas morning every year and are allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve, which is always pajamas and slippers to wear that night. For Easter we always decorate Easter eggs, I STILL go Trick-or-Treating with my younger siblings and I’m 26 (I have a 9 year old brother so it’s not weird, I promise, and I don’t go to the doors myself!), and my mom doesn’t feel right if she doesn’t hold Thanksgiving dinner at her house.
My fiance and my younger brother’s fiancee had the exact opposite in their childhoods. They never had traditions like this, and when my brother’s fiancee came to spend Christmas with us for the first time last year she commented on how surprising it was for her as holidays aren’t nearly as big a deal for her family (last Christmas was the 4th my own fiance spent with our family, so he’s had time to get used to how we roll).
For our family, since we’ve held these traditions for so long, we all genuinely get excited for them each year. My own fiance even gets excited for his yearly Christmas Even pajamas now! All five of us kids have such great memories from our holiday traditions – even when we were dirt poor and struggling to eat when I was younger my parents would always make sure they would happen, so as to be a bright spot for us. I agree that it’s all about the memories; whatever a family decides to do, as long as the parents are happy and the kids are happy that’s all the matters.
Denise October 23, 2012, 12:55 pm
Christmas has Santa for photo ops, Easter has the Bunny and someone wanting to make money from Halloween came up with the Pumpkin Patch. All part of the parenting industrial complex to give parents a complex if they don’t get these pics and provide their children this experience. And I agree about the birthday parties. When did it turn into such a racket? Petting zoos, mobile video game arcades, ride a train through your neighborhood… It’s all for the parents’ ego. Kids are happy with spending time with friends and family regardless of the product placement
*HmC* October 23, 2012, 1:06 pm
I think that’s a little dramatic. Not all cultural activities exist solely to give parents inferiority complexes. If you have no interest in a particular tradition, that’s totally fine. But traditions bring a lot of people a lot of happiness, they’re not hurting you, and they don’t all involve product placement. Let’s not get carried away with being offended by everything all the time.
JK October 23, 2012, 1:08 pm
FireStar October 23, 2012, 1:35 pm
In fairness – have you SEEN what some parents do for children’s birthday parties now? I know someone who rented out an ENTIRE floor at a luxury hotel for a ‘sleep over’ for an 8 year old and her friends and the girls ran up and down the hotel and ordered room service etc. I wouldn’t even let me kid GO to it much less throw it. Someone else I know rented a stretch Hummer for her son – about 10 – and 15 or so of his closest friends and got a box at a Basket Ball game – all catered. !!!!! Even my best friend rented a pony, hired a clown doing balloon animals, hired a face painter and got a bouncy castle for her three year old. It was like a little fair. My poor kids. The theme is pool party. Every year. And you get a life guard to make sure you all live to tell the tale. And I’m not sure I’ll care if their birthday doesn’t fall in the summer or not… It would be convenient – but I’m thinking not necessary….
*HmC* October 23, 2012, 2:05 pm
Those parties can get ridiculous, and I don’t believe that kind of extravagance and attention is good for children. But it’s a pretty big leap from snapshot of a baby on a pumpkin or with Santa to stretch Hummers and luxury hotels.
FireStar October 23, 2012, 2:41 pm
The baby on a pumpkin is cute. I think the modern day racket are really those parties….what parents do to one-up each other is sheer madness. I’ve seen women STRESSED out over them – it’s a kids party! Jack them up on sugar and let them run around!
AKchic_ October 23, 2012, 2:13 pm
The only clowns at my kids’ birthdays are the relatives. And the kids’ friends. Okay, and one of my friends, but he’s an actual clown. But he wasn’t working that day. He was just there with his kids for the food/drink/fun.
theattack October 23, 2012, 4:15 pm
That is absolutely ridiculous. Cake, ice cream, and a game or two is perfectly sufficient for a child’s birthday party. Maybe something special ONE year. One bouncy castle or birthday clown per lifetime. Much more than that and you’ll have a Class A Brat on your hands. I probably wouldn’t let my imaginary kid go to one of those fancy parties either.
LM October 23, 2012, 5:13 pm
A guy I know bought a pony for his daughter’s first birthday. A real live pony that lives in a stable! I was thinking “are you serious?” Just… why?
I don’t get it. My daughter gets a friend or two over and we take them to do something special like a movie and getting their nails done and I make a cake for her every year. That’s it. No thousand of dollars spent on something like that and she is perfectly happy. My son though – his first birthday is in less than a month and admittedly, I am planning a small party, but mostly just because we’ve never had anyone over and we’ve survived the first year!
Taylor October 23, 2012, 1:03 pm
I was 10 when we moved to the US, and after 6 months in Lebanon, MO (my sister went to Mizzou), we moved to Arizona. Thus, I missed out on the American little kid stuff, and all the fall harvesty stuff. It’s novel to me but my attempts at picking it up have been disastrous. A couple of years ago, I was talked into going to a farm to “pick your own produce”, and I took a couple of new friends from work. It was October in CO, and we went towards the end of the season, so the produce that was left was scary looking. It was also a very warm day, and a lot of work, at the end of it we were grumpy, stinky, and had a couple bags full of veggies that were all buggy when we got them home. It turns out that one of my new friends used to do manual labor at a farm when he was a kid, so nothing about the day was fun for him. Then he got a tick on him. I realized then that if the zombie apocalypse happens, I’m screwed. I have no talent for farming, nor do I wish to develop it =)
rachel October 23, 2012, 2:18 pm
I *love* the pick your own produce farms. It’s such a good deal! And fun to get all dirty and be rewarded with tons of yummy veggies.
Taylor October 23, 2012, 4:35 pm
I totally get that, conceptually. But ours was itchy and buggy, and the veggies were kinda gross. Maybe it was just that farm and the timing?
lemongrass October 23, 2012, 1:07 pm
My husband is obsessed with wanting to grow a gigantic pumpkin. I kid you not, he has told so many people that he is going to do it next year. We do like to grow a veggie garden, we like to can/pickle stuff together. I like to bake and occasionally get crafty and make a pinterest semi-fail. I can’t sew and have no idea how that even works so my version of making my own halloween costume is going to the thrift store to find items, mostly because I would get the shakes if I paid $70 for a pre-made costume.
I think that facebook has made so many freaking “obligatory” photo-ops. As someone who takes 10 photos a year I constantly feel like I fail. Engagement, wedding, trash-the-dress, maternity, newborn, family, and now all these kid-during-every-season photo shoots? I don’t think I’ll be all that good.
My husband’s parents never really did kid holidays for them. They didn’t get easter baskets, they didn’t go trick or treating, no birthday parties and they never made a big deal out of the holidays. My parents had a whack of kids and therefore couldn’t give us supercool things all year long and so they made special occasions a big deal. I remember getting so excited for my easter basket and hope to make that as special for my kids as it was for me.
MissDre October 23, 2012, 1:08 pm
By the way, was anyone else reminded of the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown skit from Robot Chicken! LOL
Meet the kite eating tree, you son of a bitch! LOL
KKZ October 23, 2012, 1:10 pm
Even though I’m not a mom and I don’t want to have kids at all, I often find myself on mommy blogs just as a curious observer (and, honestly, because Mommy horror stories make me appreciate my childfree life). I’ve often seen a competitive thing going on with Moms, especially in the age of social media. Like the one who does the most hands-on work in terms of birthday party planning, costume crafting, cake-baking etc. has earned her Mommying merit badge. (On a somewhat related note, I also see a lot of Mom vs. Mom bashing. It’s horrible. 🙁 )
My mom has always been artsy-craftsy so she made almost all of our costumes and did craft projects with us a lot as we grew up, but I don’t think any Mom should feel pressured to be more artsy-craftsy than they were before becoming a Mom, just to keep up with the other Moms. Being willing to get your hands dirty with DIY stuff does not mean you love your child more.
As for pumpkin patches and apple picking, I’ll echo others: I think the fun involved there is more for the kids than for the adults. Yes, as an adult there’s really no practical reason to go pick your apples from an orchard, but for a kid it’s an exploring/learning thing. You’re a grown-up, you know apples grow on trees and know what an orchard is – a little kid does not, it’s all new and amazing! It’s also fun as a kid to be able to say “This pumpkin is MINE, I picked it, it is special” – especially if they have siblings, then each child has a pumpkin to feel special about.
And as an adult, if you love fall the way I do, any excuse to be out and about on a nice fall day is good enough for me. Orchards smell amazing, and just like with most produce, fresh-picked apples taste SO much better than what you get at the store.
JK October 23, 2012, 1:15 pm
WKKZS. It is awesome how kids discover the world.
Also, I wish I were good at crafts and stuff, but I suck. Luckily my mother is awesome at them, so she´s the go to person for costumes and stuff.
KKZ October 23, 2012, 3:26 pm
YAY! My first WKKZS! Thanks JK. 🙂
My mom is a rabid perfectionist – a Virgo on steroids – which has made her very, very good at arts and crafts stuff in terms of producing high-quality results. But the flip side of that is that she, without any bad intention, would try to correct the sub-par projects my brother and I made, or suggest how to make it better, which could be hurtful sometimes – the point that when I became a teen and was writing my own stories, I feared giving them to my mom to read because I didn’t want to hear her “suggestions.” She says she’s aware of this and is trying to get better, but I think it’s a hard habit to break – last year I told her about an idea I had for a novel and she jumped in with plot suggestions. I abandoned the novel shortly after, partially because I didn’t like her suggestions but just couldn’t get them out of my head again. Again, she means well, it just doesn’t come across that way all the time.
FireStar October 23, 2012, 1:39 pm
Mommying merit badge < – too funny!
Riefer October 23, 2012, 1:57 pm
Agree with this. I don’t have kids, but if/when I do, I will probably knit things for them. You know why? Cuz I’m a knitter. No way in hell though would I take it up just for the kids. That goes for sewing (which I don’t do) and anything else crafty. It’s not a contest. Use the skills that you have to create memories for your kids. If you don’t have any crafty skills, I’m sure you’re a good story teller/reader, or you take them to interesting events, or you have interesting conversations with them, or expose them to new foods or whatever! This contest stuff is for insecure people. As long as they’re happy and they feel the love from you, that’s all you need.
csp October 23, 2012, 1:20 pm
I think pumpkin patches follow all “Back to nature” things like Hiking and camping. It is a chance to get outside and spend family time away from computers and tvs and distractions. I think it is making quality time as a family. I lived everywhere growing up but we did this stuff for years growing up but I was always a suburban kid.
csp October 23, 2012, 1:29 pm
One other point. I think that feminism has given rise to pinterest crazed, over achieving moms. Here is my logic. So when women always stayed at home and men worked, it was just the way of the world. Women spent a significantly less amount of time with thier kids. Now that the expectation is to stay working, Women feel the need to justify “staying at home”. I think it is misguided but I believe it is where the crafting, making your own baby food, family halloween costumes made from scratch, breastfeeding til a kid is five, kid growing up trilingual thing came from. I don’t mean to start something here but It is wierd to watch my friends with masters degrees turn around and show how they can make elmo out of vegitables or a mouse out of a pear. I mean, these wome used to manage teams of people. I think that is where the crazy comes from.
Wendy October 23, 2012, 1:42 pm
This is a very interesting point and I think you might be on to something here. It’s not just women looking for justification to “stay home” though. I’ve seen hints of it among my working mom friends who may feel a need or desire to make their own baby food, breastfeed well past the first year, be super crafty, etc., as a way to alleviate some guilt about NOT staying home. I do think women do these things because they actually enjoy them for the most part, but I also believe there are some underlying motivations that are more about justifying life choices than anything else.
Riefer October 23, 2012, 2:00 pm
I guess because of the “mommy wars”, all women are feeling they have to justify their choices. If you’re at home, you better be mom of the year! And if you’re at work, you better prove that you’re just as good as the stay at homes! Sad, all around, that women are feeling so guilty about their choices that they have to constantly prove themselves. I don’t see many men doing the same.
csp October 23, 2012, 4:32 pm
I don’t think it is just moms. I think it is with social media and diy blogs and pinterest. As a human, you are comparing your worst self to thier hilight reel. I once heard facebook compared to a gated community with perfect lawns and a perfect exterior. I think that the pressure to see all these people with exciting lives is tough. Like, even if you are single on friday night and see all these other people checking in doing great things or going on great vacations, the pressure is there. The mom thing is just an extension of that.
Riefer October 23, 2012, 4:44 pm
Yeah, actually there have been studies that show that people who spend a lot of time on Facebook get depressed. It’s because they see what everyone else is posting, and since everyone else is only posting the good stuff, they end up comparing other people’s good stuff to their entire life, good and bad, and they come out looking like crap. Yet another reason I hate social media. 🙂
MissDre October 23, 2012, 7:08 pm
It’s very true. That’s why 2 years ago I deleted my Facebook account and I’ve actually been much happier!
LM October 23, 2012, 4:57 pm
I think society has kind of made it that way. The trend before was that women stay home, take care of kids, house, hubby, all of that stuff. Then everything got crazy expensive (gradually) with inflation and the women had to work and had nannies and stuff. Now it seems, at least here in SoCal, that women are supposed to revert back to the 50’s and take care of the kids and be a SAHM without actually admitting they don’t stay at home. It’s weird… there used to be this stigma about being a SAHM, now there is a stigma for working moms or doing things for the kids. I make my son’s baby food for a couple of reasons. The first one being that the stuff in jars is super expensive and the second one is that I got paranoid when I read an article about processed baby food.
There is criticism either way and not staying at home means you’re lazy and staying at home means you’re awesome (not picking on either side… I work full time… it just is what it is…)
csp October 23, 2012, 5:15 pm
I think that the amount of information we have can be causing this too. When I was growing up, There might be an explosive article in Time Magazine. It would get buzz but then go away. Now, that same article lives online forever so people can pull up information from home at any time.
I think that is why the making your own food or making sensory toys for certain ages or all the how to;s are there to look up at any time. I think that puts stress on moms.
csp October 23, 2012, 4:22 pm
You are right that I see this in all moms and not just SAHM. I think overall there is just more pressure on women then there used to be. I just see this borderline mania and stress from my SAHM friends. They will say that they do it all for thier child and want there to be this magic and wonder and creative development. They just all seem to see themselves as failures and that is what is sad. These women are amazing and are raising amazing kids. With all the kids in the world raised in terrible environments, I just don’t see how they can look at themselves this way. I think they can only compare themselves to the perfection they see on pinterest or on facebook and set the bars too high. Thanks for the Props 🙂
CurlyQue October 23, 2012, 4:34 pm
I think that while justification may be a part of it. I think it’s also that women who were used to working full time jobs (getting Masters degreets, etc) and are now stay at home moms, are USED to being extremely busy and so therefore create lots of projects for themselves.
csp October 23, 2012, 5:10 pm
very, very true. I think it is also the feeling of accomplishment. Women’t “jobs” in the home are ongoing like laundry and cooking. There is no definative end. If you are working toward the dream birthday or making a costume or doing a craft. There is an end to the project and you say, “I did that.”
Riefer October 23, 2012, 6:22 pm
Also women’s jobs in the home are not visible. It’s just the everyday chores that no one even really notices or cares about until they don’t get done. I was reading a study about matriarchal human societies that have existed in the past, and the interesting thing is that although much of the “women’s work” was the same, it was more public. It was done outside and it contributed noticeably to the status of the household. Think having a vegetable garden in the front instead of the back of the house (and owning the land it’s on), or doing your sewing outside in the front where everyone walking by sees you doing it. And then selling that food or sewing, or at least have it be recognized by everyone in the village that you’re doing it. Women’s work had a value in those societies that it doesn’t have today.
Whereas nowadays, a SAHM’s almost entire workload is done behind closed doors. It’s not visible to society. The things that are visible are birthday parties and making things for bake sales and showing off your kid’s costumes. So the only way to really get acknowledgement for your work is to do some of this “public” work. It’s even worse now that all moms aren’t SAHMs. At least when everyone was home, it was shitty, but you were all in the same shitty boat. Now there are some women getting public acknowledgement (and money) for their work, and some who are not. There’s an imbalance, and I think this is one way to attempt to address it.
The real way to address it is to value “women’s work”, but I don’t know how that’s possible with the society we have now. Probably the best way, given the path we’re on, is to get rid of the gendered work altogether and just have people do the things they’re most skilled at. Like my husband enjoys cooking, and is more creative at it than me, so why should I be the one to do the majority of it? I should do other tasks in the home that I’m better suited to.
csp October 24, 2012, 8:57 am
That is so interesting! Because everyon sees my husband mowing the lawn but not me in the house. I am going to be thinking about this all day
Eagle Eye October 24, 2012, 9:04 am
This is a really fascinating way of looking at it! I also think that it’s your last line that really hits the nail on the head. I think that’s where we’re headed but since we’re in such a state of flux right now – all of that chaos is coming out in pumpkin patches and home made kid’s costumes on facebook!
Jamie October 23, 2012, 1:26 pm
My favorite fall memories come from those pumpkin patch pictures. But that’s because my grandpa was a farmer who (after he retired) decided around 1990 to plant pumpkins for the grandkids and we would have a harvesting party, including a potluck and a hayride. As we grew up and the family grew, it became a HUGE party – I am one of 25 grandkids and my dad has 9 siblings. When your family has that many members, you can make up your own holidays, and thus “Pumpkin Day” was born!
Fast forward to 2012 and we had our first Pumpkin Day since 2008 (Grandpa died in 2009), and even though it was a bit different, my generation is married/partnered off, there are 9 great-grandkids with 4 more on the way and the old farm is still hanging in there. It was kind of cool, but a little sad to see my dad driving the tractor for the hayride instead of my grandpa, but I’m glad my cousins’ children are getting to enjoy the tradition!
Moneypenny October 23, 2012, 1:34 pm
I think as a kid, I went to the big pumpkin patch in Half Moon Bay when I was in Girl Scouts, which was always fun. My family has fruit trees in their backyard, so my summers were spent picking peaches, plums, and blackberries, and late fall we picked persimmons and granny smith apples. Going to an orchard to pick fruit for fun just did not sound fun- I could go home and do it for free. My mom would usually make me a costume, until I got old enough to put something together myself. She did this mainly because store-bought ones were always cheap and overpriced, and she could sew something nicer and it would cost less. She did it more from a practicality standpoint more than anything, and frankly I always wanted a fancy store bought costume like everyone else!
My childhood b-day parties always had games like pin the tail on the donkey, and pinatas (store bought). I don’t think you have to do anything crazy-elaborate to have a fun party!
bethany October 23, 2012, 1:53 pm
We played the mummy game where you got wrapped up in toilet paper! I loved that game!
Moneypenny October 23, 2012, 4:25 pm
Haha, omg, I used to play that too. That was good for a Halloween Party!
Lindsay October 23, 2012, 1:35 pm
Maybe I know nothing about kids (it’s true, I don’t!), but I can’t imagine children actually finding apple picking fun. I would get bored and wonder why I was trapped in a field of apple trees. I did like going to the pumpkin patch, but I hadn’t really thought about it until you mentioned it, so it’s clearly not much of a memory for me. I think a lot of this stuff is parents thinking it’s what fun families do and then doing them — like when people get their cat a fancy toy, when in reality, all the cat wanted was to play in a box or a paper bag.
Kids just like traditions, and you’ll have your own!
redessa October 23, 2012, 1:38 pm
Well, I’m actually quite sad this year as it seems my kids have outgrown the idea of going to the pumpkin patch. We have one in my town with bouncy things, hay rides, haunted house, corn maze, go carts… it’s pretty awesome as far as pumpkin patches go.
I think you should go to one at least once. Maybe not this year where Jackson is too young to remember (or care) anyway but if your area is anything like here, there will be school field trips in preschool and kindergarten to pumpkin patches. You can go as a chaperone and take your camera. 🙂
SweetPeaG October 23, 2012, 1:42 pm
Wendy, I like the pumpkin patch and apple picking thing. I am guessing I will take my kids there someday. I just like being outside… and I think that’s a good excuse to be outside.
However, there are certain Mom things I don’t ever want anything to do with…
1) Pictures with Santa or the Eater Bunny. I think it is weird and the kids never look happy. Geeee, let’s stand in a long line of angry children to watch our child sit on a stranger’s lap and cry. Sounds awesome.
2) Those stick figure family stickers on the back of vans. No offense to anyone that has them. Personal preference. I have seen ones where the Dad has a briefcase, the Mom has a shopping bag, the son has a soccer ball, and the girl does ballet. Something about that makes me cringe! Likewise, my fiance never wants a “My child is on the honor roll” bumper sticker. I hope we won’t hurt our kid’s feelings.
3) Any sort of “#1 Mom” t-shirt. My neighbor, the poor guy, constantly wears a number of Dad related t-shirts. Tucked into his khaki shorts. With his little cell phone clipped on. I think it is sweet… but I don’t want to dress like that. I don’t know how he has so many Dad t-shirts. I want to maintain some level of my own style. I know that being a parent inclues a lot of sacrifice. But, I do want to maintain an identity because I think that sets a good example for a kid.
4) Over-documenting my kid’s life. Mainly, anything to do with potty training. Pictures, facebook updates, etc about poop… no thanks.
I think what every child deserves are parents that love them. It’s okay to be unique and take your child on adventures other than pumpkin patches!
bethany October 23, 2012, 1:55 pm
I’m with you on #2. So annoying!
Riefer October 23, 2012, 2:03 pm
A friend of mine once saw a dude who had just one on his SUV (and it’s always an SUV, never a car). But he had one of just himself! Isn’t that weird? Single guy, no kids.
bethany October 23, 2012, 2:14 pm
That’s hilarious. I could actually get behind that, cause it sounds to me like he did it just to mock those annoying people!
SweetPeaG October 23, 2012, 2:17 pm
I have a big plan to get one of a lady and then get about a dozen of the cat ones.
Even though I’ll be married next year and only have two cats. I just think it would be great to have people think I live alone with 12 cats.
Riefer October 23, 2012, 2:19 pm
Skyblossom October 23, 2012, 3:01 pm
I saw one this weekend with a woman with shopping bags and a dog. I loved it. To me is said single woman with dog and proud of it.
KKZ October 23, 2012, 3:38 pm
There’s an XKCD cartoon that I’m too lazy to look up that had two stick figure people besides several piles of money bags. I know it’s not nice to gloat over parents about finances, but I WANT THAT STICKER.
Samantha October 23, 2012, 3:59 pm
Hillarious! I’m so getting one of those decals for my bike helmet now.
iseeshiny October 23, 2012, 5:19 pm
I always wanted to get one that was just one lady and a bunch of cats.
BriarRose October 23, 2012, 2:46 pm
I saw a car once that had storm trooper decals to represent the parents/kids. That one did get a little chuckle out of me. I really don’t like them though. Especially hate when they have the names under each kid….why would you advertise that info?!? They’re almost as bad as the “baby on board” things. Like that one little thing will make people less inclined to make a human error and hit your car? Argh!
XanderT October 23, 2012, 3:01 pm
Maybe I am overly cautious (or watch too much Dateline ID), but I don’t understand why people advertise to pedaphiles how many kids they have and their genders with those darn stickers. Evertime I see a vehicle with those on it I start raving like a lunatic to my grand daughter about pedaphiles. Yep, too much Dateline ID…….
theattack October 23, 2012, 3:30 pm
It’s a legitimate concern though. I ALWAYS make sure I don’t have any names, addresses, or directions to where I’m going laying out visible in my car. I don’t need anyone to follow me somewhere and get away with it because they know my name and address or something. They could easily call themselves “Mr. theattack,” show the address, and get an extra hotel key or something. With kids it’s especially dangerous because they can say “Oh hey, little Sarah. Kelsey (your mom) asked me to pick you up and take you to ballet this afternoon.” There’s no reason to give these creepers any extra tools.
GatorGirl October 23, 2012, 3:42 pm
Yup. I’m totally paranoid about pretty much everything. I watch way too much Law & Order SVU for my own good. I don’t even put it on FB (or let my fiance put it on fb) when one of us is out of town and the other is home alone. Heck I’ve even stopped telling the DW community when that happens!
theattack October 23, 2012, 3:45 pm
That’s a good point. I love to complain about it on FB and DW when I’m super bored at home by myself. Probably not the best idea… I don’t think it means you’re too paranoid for your own good though. People are nuts and crazy shit happens, so it’s smart to take reasonable precautions!
KKZ October 23, 2012, 3:52 pm
Not to rabble rouse, but my response to the paranoia re: pedophiles is … really? How common, statistically, are pedophiles? 1 out of how many thousand people is a predator? And then on top of that, what are the actual odds that a pedophile is going to see you and your car at any given time?
I get the paranoia to some extent, I really do – the risk seems SO HIGH, especially if you do watch a lot of Dateline, because if a predator does actually get a hold of your child, holy crap. And I get the protective instinct of parents.
But, excuse me for being a Vulcan here, it’s just not logical. Because seriously, how far could we take that logic? Should parents avoid having swingsets and trampolines in their yards because that advertises the presence of children? Should they not take their kids to public parks and playgrounds so a potential predator doesn’t see them, follow them to a car, take down the license number, and look it up later to find out the address, etc?
When the child is actually in the car, chances are a parent is in the car too and available to defend against an approaching stranger (unless you’re in a habit of leaving your kids unattended in unlocked vehicles, which IS risky). I guess the fear then is that a predator will notice the stickers and follow you home and stalk your child after that, but…correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s my understanding that the victims of most pedophiles are children they know somehow (teacher, tutor, family member or family friend, daycare provider, coach, etc.). Does anyone have figures regarding the actual risk of predators going after absolute strangers, let alone going to the effort to stalk them home like this?
In other words, has the scenario that so many parents fear – the predator being led to the prey by Family stickers – *ever* actually happened? Please, if it has, do correct me – I’m just under the impression that this is extremely rare to the point of nonexistent.
I’m really not trying to stir shit here, but I just can’t get my brain around what seems to me like illogical paranoia. I’m open to civil and respectful debate on this.
theattack October 23, 2012, 4:00 pm
I’m not as concerned about the stick figure itself for the reasons you said. I get concerned when the stick figures have names under them, or saying where the kid goes to school with those Honor Roll bumper stickers, etc.
I don’t have statistics about how frequently people harm a stranger’s kids, but I can say that it’s all about proximity. It’s a lot easier to molest a relative or a neighbor’s child because you’re closer to them. That’s why it’s more frequent. For people that don’t have children in their lives, identifying information about your child is more information than what they need. By providing all of that information, you’re making it easier on the people who do want to harm a child.
I guess my main issue with it is that there’s no benefit to putting your child’s name on your car, but there is a risk associated with it, even if it’s a small risk. Though I’ve seen so much child sexual abuse, I’m not convinced that it’s a small risk. There’s no reason to take that risk when you’re not reaping any benefits for it.
KKZ October 23, 2012, 5:38 pm
I guess I see what you’re saying, and with the work you do you probably know a whole lot more than I do about the sex abuse topic in general, so I respect you for that.
I don’t mean this to sound judgemental and hope no one takes it personally, but for myself and my own life, I refuse to live in fear – of predators, of men, of scams, of dogs, of STDs, of ghosts, of whatever. That’s not to say I’m careless or that I’m blind to dangerous situations or people. I do take reasonable precautions to protect myself, I know how to spot a scam on Craigslist and I trust my gut to warn me of truly skeevy men and I don’t leave identifying information face-up in my car, but there’s a limit to how far I will go to avoid risk. Avoiding relatively benign things like Honor Roll stickers is, to me, a little extreme, beyond the limit I’d consider reasonable.
But, to each their own. I just feel that shows like Dateline and Nancy Grace and Law&Order and such give people a WAY heightened perception of risk, higher than is realistic or merited, because we get the *results* shoved in our face (abduction, rape, murder, assault, etc.) but not the probability.
theattack October 23, 2012, 5:47 pm
I actually agree with you completely, and that’s a topic in The Gift of Fear, which is a book that many DW readers really love, including myself. Taking all kinds of ridiculous precautions for unlikely events kind of leaves you blind to what’s actually going on, and fear is kind of sensational. I’m just not willing to take very many chances when it comes to kids. When it’s something that has little to no benefits (like what bumper stickers I put on the car) then it’s just not worth the risk to me. It’s not like I’m going to shut down all the good stuff in life because of the risk involved. I just plan on weighing the risks versus the benefits for most situations like this.
GatorGirl October 23, 2012, 4:56 pm
I’m not terribly concerned about those stick figure things. But advertising things like elementary schools (those honor student bumper stickers) or names freaks me out. I’m also just generally nervous. I don’t go to a fair number of places alone late at night (gas stations, certain grocery stores in my area), I don’t walk into or out of bars alone, other silly things like that. I also don’t talk on my phone while walking to my car in shady areas anymore because someone (I think it was on the Oprah show) told me you’re more distracted and can be more vunerable.
Fabelle October 23, 2012, 3:37 pm
Yeah, this kind of “paranoid” thinking has been ingrained in me, so that’s my first thought with those stickers too (besides that they are annoying as hell). I remember when I first got a car, my parents were all about telling me NOT to put any cutesy stickers or anything that looked too girly, so predators wouldn’t try following me.
GatorGirl October 23, 2012, 3:46 pm
In some states they have this thing on the license plate that says under 21 (or something of the like). Seriously terrifies me…it’s like a big blinking light on the car saying young! Probably niave! Easy target bad people of the world!!
theattack October 23, 2012, 3:50 pm
Wow what a stupid idea…
Fabelle October 23, 2012, 3:51 pm
Yes! In NJ, they put a red square on the license plate of any driver’s under– I believe– 18? I think the same thing as you do every time.
Riefer October 23, 2012, 4:22 pm
I once saw one that had little Star Wars figures for each member of the family. The dad was Han Solo, the mom was Leia, the boy was Luke, and the daughter was… Leia again. Yeah. That trilogy really really fails the Bechdel test.
LM October 23, 2012, 5:00 pm
There is this one that I see everyday that has the names arranged in some sort of Scrabble fashion and another one that has the silly stick figures of the two “parents” and then pets as the kids. Those two annoy the crap out of me. Especially the Scrabble one – and yes, they are both SUVs.
AKchic_ October 23, 2012, 2:20 pm
Overdocumenting your kid’s life in regards to embarassing stuff (i.e.: potty moments) is for one reason and one reason alone: BLACKMAIL. Seriously. My oldest is in the 7th grade. I am eternally grateful that I have pictures of him clamping onto his “grapes” (as my 3rd son called them) in the kitchen sink bath while turning purple because he didn’t have enough sense to let go. Or wearing his Spiderman boxer-briefs as shorts outside at the age of 3 to play soccer. Why? Because I can threaten to show them to his friends and get an extra chore or two out of him. Or get him to play with his 3 year old brother while I work on my truck in the driveway.
It’s all in good fun. He knows where my baby pictures are and knows Grandma is a willing conspirator.
tbrucemom October 23, 2012, 1:45 pm
The appeal of pumpkin patches, apple picking, etc. for me is the weather (my kids are grown). Since I live in Florida and it’s always hot here I love to go to Georgia or the Carolinas and go to you pick farms, etc. during the fall when it’s cool. Things do taste better if you get them straight from the farms too since they’re fresher. As far as birthday parties, I agree with Wendy. I had them but when they’re little it’s more for the parents. When they’re older it’s all about the “show”, who can have the more elaborate party and that’s not teaching kids what’s important in life if you ask me. They’re probably the ones who grow up to be bridezillas thinking marriage is all about the wedding. As long as your children have your love they won’t care if someting is store bought or homemade, believe me!
AKchic_ October 23, 2012, 12:46 pm
As I said on your facebook feed – pumpkin patches are overrated. Right now, we’re late for snow (sticking snow, that is). We had our first snow in September. Early September. It didn’t stick (thank goodness). Unfortunately, it’s cold enough for snow to stick and it’s just not snowing. We rarely have a Halloween without snow. I can think of 2-3 times in my LIFE without snow on Halloween.
By this time of year in Alaska, we’ve got at least 12-24 inches of snow (depending on when it first started snowing, prevailing Pacific Ocean storms, etc). The joke is that we tailor our costumes to fit over the kids’ snowsuits (and usually, we do). The last two times we’ve had it this bad – 2000 and 2008. 2000 we were mowing the lawn at Thanksgiving (that was one weird winter) and in 2008 it was snow/melt/freeze on rotation. Fucking sucked.
We go to orchards/patches/farms in August or early September at the latest. If we go at all. I’ve got friends with farms, so my kids spend a lot of time on them. For work, for play, for punishment. We’re an unofficial co-op really. I don’t bother taking pictures because it’s not a special event. I’m working right along with my kids. It’s food to put on the table. You don’t see me taking pictures of my desk at work either, partially for the same reason (partially for HIPPA).
I think a lot of people go to patches to prove that they are “good parents” or giving their kids the “classic” kid experience. Pictures prove it. If a kid goes to therapy and says “my parents didn’t do this that or the other”, those pictures prove they did.
And before anyone jumps on me saying “that doesn’t happen” – yes, it does. I see it here when helicopter parents come in with their addled adult-children. And in my own family when my sister bitches about a miserable childhood. The parents pull out photos and says “see, you were smiling at X event – you were happy!”. As if the happiness in a photo equates a happy childhood overall.
bethany October 23, 2012, 1:51 pm
We never went apple picking, but we did go get pumpkins at a local farm. To be honest, I have no recollection of it though, except for the year my friend and I went with my mom when we were 28!
We did have birthday parties (not every year though), and they were really fun. However, they weren’t the theme-tastic things kids today have, and I preferred it that way! We had neighborhood kids over for pizza, cake and ice cream, and played stupid games. It was awesome!
Make memories with your family the way you want to. You’re an awesome person, and if a pumpkin patch isn’t your thing, I’m sure you’ll fill in that time with some other fun, silly way to pass the time that Jackson will remember fondly. As long as you spend quality time together as a family, I don’t think it matters so much what you do.
Lianne October 23, 2012, 1:59 pm
I don’t have kids and everything you laid out is EXACTLY what freaks me out about having them. Picking apples? Really? Sitting on hay for a picture? Really? Dealing with other people’s kids at parties? UGH. Thank you for saying it out loud.
Addie Pray October 23, 2012, 2:20 pm
I’ve never understood apple picking either. Now, maybe if Nutty Bars were dangling from trees, then I could get behind it. But all that work for fucking fruit? No way.
MJ October 23, 2012, 2:34 pm
But AP, without fruit… NO WINE. Although I suppose we’re paying others to do the work in that case.
Addie Pray October 23, 2012, 5:30 pm
I definitely see the merit in fruit – and grapes in particular – but let someone else pick ’em! (And stomp on them.) I have an aunt who owns a blueberry farm. I spent one summer (fine, a few days) picking blueberries. And eating them – in pies, on ice cream, in jam. … And I am never eating or picking blueberries again.
Ali October 23, 2012, 2:21 pm
I get what you’re saying, Wendy. But to me, things like pumpkin patches and birthday parties are part of the fabric of childhood. People remember their childhoods so vividly because one year when you’re seven years old is one seventh of your life…you can absorb a lot more because you have so much more “free memory” in a sense (this is a scientific theory, I’m not making this up lol). For that reason, I’m really excited to make a big deal out of these times in my children’s lives (when I have them). As a child, my mom celebrated holidays, birthdays and achievements to the fullest–she made everything seem really special. She passed away when I was just shy of 11, and I feel so grateful to have those memories of her. Not only that, but I now full appreciate how much effort went into making those special memories, because she worked full time and had my two brothers too, and she still made time to set up Barbie tableaus with new doll furniture while I was sleeping the night before my birthday or to go search for a princess dress for me at a thrift shop.
SGMcG October 23, 2012, 2:22 pm
I don’t have kids. Yet when I do, I think I’m more likely to bring them to a haunted house (there are a few kid-friendly ones here in the South) than a pumpkin patch. It’s more my speed.
va-in-ny October 23, 2012, 3:05 pm
There was a haunted corn maze near my hometown. That ish was scary.
SGMcG October 23, 2012, 4:35 pm
The local zoo here also does a Halloween event for the kids. They construct miniature houses so kids can go “door-to-door” trick or treating. All the rides are in operation and they do a foam/smoke/bubble dance party to let the kids jump up and down to scary music (think “Monster Mash” or “Thriller”). Since the event occurs at night, there is also the opportunity to learn about nocturnal animals, petting zoos with the creepy crawly animals (some snakes, defanged tarantulas, etc.) and a cauldron to roast smores.
Heck, I STILL go to it, even though I don’t have kids. 🙂
bittergaymark October 23, 2012, 2:28 pm
I think it really all comes down to the fact that its just something fun for the kids. Sure, you might find picking apples to be dull and very pedestrian. But odds are — your son won’t. Lets explore your own shopping analogy of grocery shopping. Sure, it’s all boring and very tedious to (most) adults. But to little kids? It’s all so new and exciting — look, its no mere coincidence that one timeless and VERY popular toy available at ANY toy store is simply a little shopping cart with plastic food.
Lynn October 23, 2012, 2:51 pm
Oh boy. I must be as traditional as they come. Pumpkin patches, apple orchards and corn mazes? Nothing beats fresh apples and a good ole corn maze. Pumpkin patches are a good time too. Visit cotton fields and wind mills? Sign me up! And you take tons and tons and tons of pictures when you go do those things. I can’t wait ’til I have kids so I can get them out of the city every once in a while and put them into some dirt so that they can experience a teeny bit of country living.
applescruffs October 23, 2012, 2:55 pm
I went to a pumpkin patch with my nephew and family last year and had kind of a passive death wish by the end of it. I don’t see the allure of going to a place that’s just constructed for photo ops. It’s weird to me. When that nephew turned one we had this big birthday party that was all cat in the hat themed and elaborate. It was awkward. For his second birthday, we had pizza and ice cream in the park. 🙂
Although when I lived in the northwest I liked going berry picking in the spring. I made PIES from those mofos, and they were delicious. Maybe if I took my hypothetical kids to a place that felt more genuine, it would be less soul crushing.
Riefer October 23, 2012, 4:28 pm
Wait, these places are fake? I’ve never been to one, but I assumed they were basically farms that grew pumpkins. No? If not, then agree that that’s super weird. I mentioned above that we used to go to the sugar bush all the time, but it was a real place that has been making maple syrup for over 100 years. Not some setup just made for a photo op. It did have events like hayrides and stuff, to attract people and give them something to do, but it was a real maple syrup operation.
GatorGirl October 24, 2012, 8:19 am
Where I’m from in PA there are a bunch of places that just grow a feild of corn to make a corn maze in and a feild of pumpkins. So, yes it’s a “real farm” in that they grow the produce there…but it’s also a farm who’s sole purpose is the fall photo op/a haunted corn maze.
LT October 23, 2012, 4:10 pm
I don’t think any of these things are super necessary for childhood, but I enjoy apple picking because of AWESOME CLIMBING TREES! The apples were secondary enjoyment.
sarolabelle October 23, 2012, 5:27 pm
I went strawberry picking last Spring and LOVED IT! I don’t even like strawberries but we picked about 2 pounds of the ripest strawberries right off the vine. Sure there were some nasty bugs on a few and I screamed but wow, what a different experience!
And if my kid can remember the birthday then you better bet I’ll throw them a big one. 1 or 2 or 3 year old birthdays you can get away with not much but my first memory ever as a child was my forth birthday. My parents got a merry go round! 🙂
Christina October 23, 2012, 5:12 pm
I’m 30 and grew up in Southern California and my parents definitely took us to the Pumpkin Patch (Pumpkin City) every year! It was even dragged out longer than it probably should have growing up because my parents had my youngest brother pretty late, so he was still pumpkin patch age while I was a teenager.
I think perhaps the super-twee posed or professional (or semi-professional) pictures people post on FB are definitely new. I am pretty sure my parents took a few pictures of us near giant pumpkins or picking out our favorite one, but they definitely weren’t anything but snapshots that got tucked away in an album and never looked at again.
I think most activities involving kids have gotten kind of out of hand now-a-days. Apparently now you can go to the mall and meet some kind of holiday mascot for pretty much every holiday instead of just Santa at Christmas. And a kid’s party can’t just be cake, balloons and some festive paper goods, it has to be over-the-top and Pinterest-worthy. I don’t have kids, but if I ever do, I think simple but good will be my philosophy
Colloquielle October 23, 2012, 10:54 pm
Apple or pumpkin picking are largely for children and their parents to have fun and make friends. Children get to make friends outside of their usual social circle, and it’s an open place with lots of adults to look out for the safety of children, so everyone can relax.
Sue Jones October 24, 2012, 12:07 am
Oh the main thing is making memories for the kid on a gorgeous crisp fall day. They remember these things! I do like the pumpkin patch. One near our house has a hayride on an old tractor, corn mazes, baby goats and chickens, a petting zoo and hot apple cider and you get to pick your pumpkin that you are going to carve or make pies from! And it is a great photo op… thanks for the reminder of what to do with him this weekend. And his preschool used to go too when he was little. I think it is a way to honor the changing of the seasons. And let us not forget the awesome pumpkin birthing goddess my husband and I made last year… complete with corn silk pubic hair, and squash boobies… and a baby pumpkin coming out of it’s pumpkin mommy!
Sara L. October 24, 2012, 11:22 am
I’m a mom with two young boys (6 and 4). I really dislike a lot of the traditional kid activities like pumpkin patches and birthday parties. I’m lucky that my kids’ birthdays are less than a week apart so I can have one birthday party for both of them. I usually have their party at Chucky Cheese or one of those indoor jumpy places so they can run around like crazy and I don’t have to do anything.
If you don’t like pumpkin patches, don’t go to them. You’ll have other family activities that will be unique to your family that your child will remember with nostalgia. There’s no reason to torture yourself with something you don’t find fun or interesting.
I also don’t like anything artsy-crafty but I do like playing board games and cards with my kids and I’m betting all they really care about is that their mom is spending time with them. Once kids get to preschool and kindergarten they get to do all sorts of crafty activities. There’s no reason to feel guilty about not doing that stuff at home.
S.B. October 24, 2012, 11:44 am
OMG…LOVED going pumpkin picking as a kid. My family and I would go to this local farm, and pick out pumpkins and those pretty-coloured squash. We’d go on nice sunny days, so I have all these memories of clear blue skies and crisp air and bright orange pumpkins and yellow cornstalks. I have wonderful memories of roasted squash and pumpkin pie as well 🙂
As a college student my friends and I went apple picking (yay New England!) and bought big jugs of apple cider. It was all about crunching around in the leaves and enjoying the sunshine and then getting to eat nice crunchy apples fresh off the tree.
Emma October 24, 2012, 12:22 pm
Not trying to shame you or anything Wendy (you seem like a fine mom), but the fact that my mom was so big on Halloween really brightened my childhood. I loved going to the pumpkin patch, and my mother made BEAUTIFUL costumes, which took at least a month to complete (with a little help from me and my brothers). She really went all out on it, even with her working long hours at the hospital. I still can’t believe she had time for it, but I guess she really loved doing it (the costumes), so it didn’t seem like work to her. She’s also pretty great at carving pumpkins.
Also, pumpkin patches aren’t just for kids. I went with a group of my friends (we’re all college-aged) a week or so ago, and it was fantastic; although, it was mostly kids there, and I’m pretty sure the guy driving the tractor on the hay ride singled us out to tell us not to smoke/jump off/make any trouble… oh well. It was still the perfect summer day; we went home afterwards, drank a bunch of cider, carved a pumpkin (bad idea, so early in the month, haha), and watched Walking Dead.
I love Halloween. I love October. :]
SixtyFour October 24, 2012, 1:44 pm
Today as an adult, I love pumpkin patches. They are awesome and beautiful and I love all the fall colors. That said, as a kid, I hated pumpkin patches. Or more accurately – the expectaction of a joyful family experience never really came through. Usually my brother, sister, and I would fight over which pumpkins we got to take home. My parents would get all frustrated and agitated because they had to deal with three kids under the age of 8 who were fighting, and then they got stuck carrying all of the enourmous pumpkins. Although even though it sucked at the time, it is still funny to look back on and laugh about. I love my family, but we just weren’t cut out to be at pumpkin patches. Going to the park, running around, and jumping in leaves was definitely a better bet for us.
Melissa October 25, 2012, 11:59 am
I love the pumpkin patch…and apple picking. And I don’t have kids (yet). I grew up doing both every fall so it’s part tradition part, I don’t know. I can’t explain the appeal of going out and picking up pumpkins off the ground. Or picking apples off trees. The apple thing is really because it’s cheaper to get a bushel at my local farm than at the store – and I make apple butter and other things to last a few months so financially it’s smarter. And better to buy local. But it’s just something my boyfriend and I do together now that’s a little different than the every day. Pumpkin patches usually involve a hayride, so that’s fun. Yep, I can’t explain it, it’s just fun.
Now I’m with you on kids birthdays, I don’t want to one day mess them up but I don’t see the huge deal. We always got cake and presents with the family, but huge parties were rare. I didn’t get a party with friends until I turned 16 and was allowed to have a sleep over. and I turned out ok. And costumes? Do whatever you want, the kid will survive. They’ll even survive if they don’t dress up the first few years – they’ll never remember.
Leah October 26, 2012, 12:18 am
I grew up in Washington state, going to pumpkin patches as a kid. There were several around my area, all with big barns where they had hot chocolate, apple cider, fun little play areas for kids, pop-up wood murals with the hole to put your face in (photo op for mom) and a hay wagon that carried you way out into the patch to select your pumpkin. Then you took it home and carved it! So it’s a great seasonal activity for people with kids, or people who like to carve pumpkins.