Friday, October 13, 2006

The best day ever

A day at the pumpkin patch.

Or, the post of a thousand photos.

This weekend I was alone with Ada while Chris was at a conference. Despite my worry about whether we'd get tired of staring at one another for four days, I had a near perfect weekend with the girl. On Saturday we had a best-day-ever kind of day. This was the best day ever for me because not only did Ada have a great time on our excursion, not only did I skillfully handle day 3 of solo-parenting (now, with more outings!), but the girl had a long nap in the middle of the day. That Ada's naps are either long or in the middle of the day is not ever to be counted on. Getting both in one day was so great, so the rest of the day being good was just gravy.

Luckily, this was also the best day ever for Ada. First, we went on two, count 'em TWO bridges to get to the pumpkin patch. Ada, like her parents, is a sucker for a good bridge. If I fail to point out that we are on a bridge, she emphatically reminds me "bridge!" (which sounds more like "bige"). On this trip, Ada got to exclaim twice, and while she wasn't occupied with shrieking gleefully, she was busy hugging the horse her grandmother bought her. (This being-a-baby thing is a total racket. Ada's grandma visited for grandma's birthday, and brought gifts for Ada.)

Ada and I were meeting my brother-in-law, his girlfriend and her son. I wasn't sure how far behind us they'd be, so I took Ada to the barn to see the animals. Let the best day ever fun begin! Ada's joy was, as we say in my family, standing beside her. She did not know what to make of all the real live animals that were just like those in the books, but moving! and making noise! and moving! I should have predicted this, given how she reacts to the cats and dogs she meets in our neighborhood. It was definitely one of those moments parents talk about. You know, the "having kids is so great because you get to see things for the first time all over again!" moments. Ada loved the animals. Loved them in a run-back-and-forth-between-the-pens-gawping-and-smiling-and-pointing-and-then-running-back-to-see-the-pigs-oh-the-ducks-no-the-llama-wait... frenzy. She made all the animal noises.

Well, except for the llama. What exactly DOES a llama say?

And when I asked her what the goat says she responded "llama! llama! llama!" I didn't actually hear it say that, but they are pen mates, so they are bound to be tight.

Ada was a little skeptical about the hay ride but was thrilled to see all the pumpkins in the field. She toddled off into the field, alternating between trying to pick up pumpkins weighing more than half her body weight and grabbing at vines in order to take the "sticks" with her. D (the kid in the orange shirt) was great with Ada. He brought her pumpkins, carried her between the rows, carved a face into a small pumpkin and otherwise entertained the short girl.

After an extended discussion of which pumpkins were the "right" pumpkins, the "best" pumpkins, we hopped back on the hay cart, paid for the pumpkins and made a beeline for the elephant ear booth. My brother-in-law's gal is a connoisseur of the elephant ear, and guided me through this new experience. Looking at the size of those monsters, I talked her son into sharing one with Ada and me. Sadly, my camera battery died before we got our hands on this fried dough deliciousness. It is probably just as well, since between shoveling in the stuff into my own mouth and parceling out bits for Ada, I got a little greasy/sugar-and-butter coated.

Mid-snack I realized that almost all the sugar-bomb, dinner-thwarting treats Ada has experienced have come without Chris. My husband loves sugar and late at night often asks if I've got any cookies. So I feel a bit guilty about dosing Ada with sugary snacks while Chris was out of town. But not guilty enough not to buy a second elephant ear to share with the kids. Mmmm, greasy...

I take care of Ada by myself all the time. Spending so much time with her this weekend was nothing new. But it felt different because with Chris out of town for four days, it was just me. Before he left I'd been worried about what I would do at the end of the day when she was whiny and I was tired and minutes stretched to hours. When Ada was tiny and colicky I could swear that she'd ramp up into special fits when she knew I was going to be alone with her for an extended period. But this weekend Ada was on her best, most adorable, sweetest behavior. She's too young to understand how it feels to be in charge alone, but she managed to give me the lovely gift of a wonderful weekend nonetheless. And writing this days after the elephant ears are only a pleasant memory, I know it isn't just the sugar talking.


  1. love the photos! just yesterday we went to the pumpkin patch. the first of two outings planned to a patch this year.

    it sounds like you were able to make the most of a four day parenting spree. i don't know if i would have that much energy.

    wonderful work.

  2. Mmmm, elephant ears. We call 'em Beaver Tails up here in Canada, and they are too yummy. And I'm pretty sure that when daddy's away you're allowed to dose the baby with unlimited doses of sugar, TV, juice, macaroni and cheese, and whatever else it takes to get through the day.

  3. Sounds (and looks) like a great weekend.

  4. Looks like a great day! Lovely Ada seems like she had some nice mommy time. I we may have gone to the same patch, I just posted about it today as well!

  5. this is my favorite post in your entire blog. reading it makes me almost as happy as ada was experiencing it.

  6. That blue sky is wrenching my heart. Fall can be so beautiful.

    Your child? Always beautiful.

    Llamas? Meh.

  7. This was such a happy post. We are going to the pumpkin patch this weekend, rain be damned. I love the looks on the kids faces, such sweet memories.

  8. Andrew's been gone this week on business in New Orleans and it's been an excuse to do the no-make-up, no-dishes, no-curling the hair thing. He's back in a few hours and I'm thinking that maybe I ought to put some effort up before he gets back. :)

  9. sounds like an amazing weekend. love all the colors and the shot of Ada and D. and, I presume, your brother-in-law and the goat saying "llama," and Ada's overalls. great post -- thanks for cheering me up today!

  10. AMAZING photos. Wow.

    I wish you lived next door to me so I could ask you to come over and do Hailey's portrait.

  11. It sounds wonderful! Naps, animals, elephant ears--what more could a mom want?

  12. what a mind-bogglingly awesome moment to have frozen here.

    the animal thing would've been my favorite, but then you mentioned elephant ears and I sort of lost my head.

    I heart elephant ears. (probably b/c I'm a cinnamon addict.)

    is that a P-town thing? I remember buying them at Pioneer Square as a tiny kid.


    p.s. you're really brave. I dread the extended solo-parenting; I get a knot the size of Kentucky in my tummy the day before my fella goes out of town. I'm gonna pretend I'm tough and cool like you the next time it happens. thanks for being my shining beacon, sister.

  13. Those photos have a magical quality to them!

  14. Has it taken me like 4 days to register this comment? I inhaled this post. Loved it. Breathed it all over our sunny weekend.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  15. It was the perfect day! Now that B has kicked the malaria maybe we can head out to the infamous Pumpkin Patch too!

  16. Looking at those photos made me feel all warm and squishy on a gray cold day- thank you!
    PS- my bday was 10/15, it's a very good day! :)