For The Record
Volume 6, Issue 10, Number 1

October 23, 2002

Pumpkin Patch
Also, The Pap Pap imposter

On October 19 I took the kids to Belvedere Plantation down south of us to get pumpkins. You know how Precious's best friend in Daycare is Jordon; well, Jordon's mom Linda suggested that we all go. I gave poor Hubby the day off because the weekend before that I was in Indiana for a sorority sister's wedding.

So Hubby put the extra seat in the van and we stuffed the four kids and 3 adults into the car for the drive down to Spotsylvania to the farm. A key point is that Jeff, Jordon's father, got in the front seat-this will be crucial later. (An aside - I got to see the Exon where that guy got shot on October 11. When we exited if I had turned left instead of right I would have driven right by it. Yuck!)

So we get to the farm and park the car and the kids are delighted because they can see the big blown up pumpkin that marks the entrance. So they bolt out of the car and Stealth Toddler just ADOBTS Jeff. I mean, it was strange. So I'm looking and thinking, well, my kids are pretty friendly. So Stealth Toddler is holding Jeff's hand and looking at him with close to adoration in his eyes. Meanwhile, he's never even SEEN Jeff before. So I say to Linda, my kids certainly believe everyone loves them. But Stealth Toddler is just acting like he OWNS Jeff.

At this point I should take a moment to point out that Jeff would like to have more children and Linda is decidedly lukewarm on the idea. (And they decided to spend a day with the scatterbrain queen? Go Figure.) So I was a little concerned that Jeff is going to want to pay attention to his own daughter without some stranger's son basically grabbing him by the crotch every time he moved. But Jeff seemed really pleased to have this pint-sized adoring shadow! It certainly made my life easier! I didn't have to worry about Stealth Toddler because he was ATTACHED to Jeff, and Pumpkin can more or less take care of himself. So all I had to do is keep after Precious.

The Plantation is great - there is face painting and balloons and a band etc. The kids absolutely loved the barn which has long ropes you swing from (just like the noose Hubby so cleverly just attached to the tree in out front yard. After all, there weren't nearly enough ways for my kids to kill themselves so Hubby has to rig up this rope swing on the front tree. Sigh.) So you swing on this rope in the barn and when you let go you fall into about 2 feet of loose hay (which I am still finding in my house.) Oh yeah, they loved it. So from there we went to the horse-pull where two HUGE Clydesdales pulled a wagon with hay. (and there is Stealth Toddler demanding to sit next to Jeff) So the horse gallop and kick rocks into the wagon and everyone loves it. Petting zoo, ziplines, moon bounce, some enormous hay creature that Pumpkin could play tag on with other hyperactive boys.

So we are careening from activity to activity and the kids are loving it and Stealth Toddler is always really concerned where Jeff is, and finally Jeff comes over to me and says, "Why does Stealth Toddler keep calling me Pap Pap?"

Oh heavens it was SO Neat! Stealth Toddler saw Jeff's build and Jeff's glasses, and once Jeff sat in the front seat of my car just naturally assumed it HAD to be Pap pap. And Stealth Toddler just worships pap pap. So Jeff was the object of all Stealth Toddler's Love and Attention. It really was so funny - Linda and I kept busting out as we would look over the 5 + acres of pumpkin fields. . . and there is Jeff with Stealth Toddler holding his hand. I can't say what joy it brings to my life just to remember the look of love on Stealth Toddler's face. And Jeff, to his credit, was a fabulous 'fake' pap pap and gave Stealth Toddler no reason not to adore him. I was saying to my dad later that day that it was a very special day for little Stealth Toddler. After all, Pumpkin and Precious darn well knew that wasn't Pap pap, so for the first time in Stealth Toddler's entire life he had him all to himself. What a great scene. I can't quit smiling about it! Oh yeah - so Stealth Toddler likes collecting rocks. So he's always picking them up and then handing them to me. I usually just throw them down when he quits looking, but when we get to the car I then make an effort to find a rock for him for the ride home. So we finally get back to the car and I grab a rock off the ground to hand to Stealth Toddler. And Jeff gives me this sheepish smile and basically takes a handful of gravel out of his jacket pocket to give to Stealth Toddler - he had been saving all the rocks Stealth Toddler handed him throughout the afternoon! Isn't that just the sweetest thing!

The pumpkin patch was really neat too. It was a true patch with a million pumpkins still attached to the vines. The kids had a blast basically trying to find moldy and mushed pumpkins and the running over to them shouting "Ewwwwww!!" And I'm like, Pumpkin, if you stick your hands in there I swear I will beat you right in front of all these people! I was on a hunt to find a monstrous pumpkin for my darling husband, since he just loves pumpkins and thinks spending lots of money on a big one is a perfectly normal use of our extraneous cash. (Are we perfect for each other or what?) It was all the pumpkins you could carry for 25 dollars. So I'm trying to find the biggest pumpkin I can carry. Actually I found a great pumpkin but I couldn't carry it, and I left it on the ground. On the way back Pumpkin and Precious decided that that EXACT pumpkin was the one they wanted please please please. . . and as we walked back some guy easily picked it up and walked off with it. So I found the biggest pumpkin I could haul on my hip. So we all get in the tractor and Jeff is like, no really, they'll help you carry the pumpkins you only have to take 3 steps. So I jump off the tractor and grab another little pumpkin that I figure I could balance on my other hip. The tractor takes us back to the place where you actually pay for things and all the young marine types are trying to impress their equally young wives(?) and children by holding like 7 pumpkins. So Jeff decides, heck, he can hold all 4 of our pumpkins . . . and he did! I was amazed since my pumpkin alone was about 30 pounds, plus they had a big one and then we had 2 more! And he did all of this with Stealth Toddler trying to talk to him via the clever method of pulling on his back pocket.

Not counting the ceramic jack-o-lanterns and ghosts,the flags, witch, and ghost statues, we now have 7 pumpkins on the front porch. Oh yes, also the black noose like thing that the kids use as a swing.

I love my kids.

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