If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that on Saturday I had the chance to take over the account of my all-time favorite children's clothing brand, KicKee Pants! Talk about a huge honor and privilege! I love that KicKee is always looking for new ways to connect with their customers and show their adorable clothes on regular kids doing regular things. For our KicKee Day, I planned a trip to the pumpkin patch with Mac and Mim in the morning with the hope of getting some cute photos of them playing amid a sea of pumpkins and pretty fall leaves...
Well, of course, since I had big plans to take all these amazing photos, the kids were naturally less than cooperative. I should have known better than to get my hopes up or set my expectations high with two wild and strong-willed toddlers. Needless to say, things didn't exactly go as planned. I briefly talked about this on IG, but I'm going to jump right in and give you all the gory details here. It was definitely not my best parenting day and I want you all to know that despite how "pretty and perfect" photos can look, the real story may be quite different than the one you see on social media. Let's get real here, shall we?
First off, it took us FOREVER get even get out of the house. I had their adorable KicKee Pants outfits laid out and ready to go, but it still took us almost 2 hours just to get in the car! How is that even possible? The pumpkin patch is 20 minutes from our house and Mim despises car rides, so it was a solid 20-minute screamfest in the backseat while I silently seethed in the front seat and wondered why it was never easy for us to do anything. I'll admit that right then and there I could feel myself getting overly worked up about this outing and how hard the morning had already been. I probably should have just dropped all expectations right then and there and called it a day, but we trudged on.
When we got to the pumpkin patch, it was bright, sunny and much warmer than we anticipated. As soon as we got out of the car Mac asked for his sunglasses, which I realized we forgot. He was very distraught about it and I was losing my patience. I feel like such a jerk for getting upset with him about this, especially since I know he always wants his sunglasses, but there I was getting all impatient and frustrated with him. Over the last year he has really developed a sensitivity to bright light, loud noises and scratchy clothes (hence, why we love KicKee so much). I won't go so far as to say that he has "sensory issues" because he doesn't have them across the board (no issues with taste or smell or textures) and most of the time he gets over things quickly, but he's definitely extra sensitive when it comes to light and noise. From what I've read this seems to be a normal thing for toddlers/preschoolers that they grow out of, but it has started concerning me. Does anyone else have a kid that's sensitive to light/noise?
Anyway, the pumpkin patch was packed! I mean, I knew it would be since it's mid-October, but it seemed like every kindergartner in the bi-state area was there on a field trip and it was loud and intense. Mac immediately had a hard time with all the noise and the chaos, leading to multiple meltdowns from him over nothing and more frustration on my part. He didn't want to play on the hay bales, he didn't want to go down the slide, he didn't want to go in the mazes or on a tractor ride or on the swings. He just walked around whining about how bright it was. And that's about the time when I reached max impatience mode. I didn't yell or scream or throw a fit, but I was angry and disappointed and frustrated with him, with the day, with myself. I just wanted the kids to have fun! Why couldn't they just have fun?! HAVE FUN, DAMMIT. I could hear the anger in my voice and the lack of patience in my tone and yet I didn't check my attitude. No wonder they couldn't relax and have fun when mom was being such an uptight crank. Ugh.
We made the best of it and it got better. Some of the school kids left and the intensity of the place died down. Mac finally calmed down a bit after going through the corn maze a dozen times and into the hay bale tunnels with a flashlight, which he loved. Maybe because it was dark and quiet in there? I don't know. He finally started running around, climbing, playing, laughing and we all relaxed a little. The kids rode on the mini tractors, Mim loved the slide, Mac was brave enough to try the zipline! (even though it ended with tears) I got some really cute photos of the kids and we left the pumpkin patch on a good note, excited to hit Chick-Fil-A on the way home.
But I can't quite shake that guilty feeling that I should have done better...been better. I know I'm being a bit hard on myself, but I'm disappointed in the way I handled everything and honestly, I'm embarrassed. This isn't the first time this has happened and I'm sure it won't be the last. I've bit a bit more high-strung than normal lately and I'm trying to figure out what's going on. Maybe it's just a "phase," like everything else? Looking back now, days later, while we're no longer in the heat of the moment and all the photos look like we're having fun, it's hard to remember exactly why I was so frustrated and angry. And maybe that's the beauty of photos and reliving your memories in highlights. Ten years from now I probably won't remember how hard this time in our life was, how infuriating it was and how exhausted I was. I'll look back on these memories with so much love and affection and nostalgia. I will miss this. I know it because I'm already missing this and wish we had a do over.
So for now, I just need to remind myself to chill out a bit. Calm down. Check your expectations at the door. Go with the flow. Relax. Hang loose. Settle down. Take it easy.
And remember the damn sunglasses...