preschooler

The Grimmest Pumpkin Patch in Los Angeles

After misunderstanding a friend’s recommendation for a preschooler-friendly local pumpkin patch, we took Charlie to the grimmest, most Carnie fall experience I’ve yet encountered.

In pursuit of of autumn magic, we drove over to the Pasadena Pumpkin Patch. When my friend Heidi said she always took her kids to their local pumpkin patch and had a great time, I just Googled which pumpkin patches were close to her and made plans. Like an idiot.

As we drove into the CVS parking lot, I questioned Heidi’s taste for the first time in our 11-year friendship. When we walked through the chain-link fence, I knew she must be all the way out of her entire mind. But Charlie was enchanted. He immediately found the pumpkin of his dreams.

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I foolishly only took pictures where it looked like we were at a perfectly acceptable pumpkin patch. 

He liked that it fit in one hand, and that it had the best stem. He also found some dried corn, which he started using as a broom immediately. Neither of these were near as exciting as the prospect of the ultra-grim petting zoo. Wanna touch a real, live, mangey chicken? This is the place for you! What about a piglet with intestinal discomfort? We have two! Do you like goats? This goat does not like you, and is currently escaping through the chain-link fence to explore the freedom of the rest of the CVS parking lot. Don’t worry, Methy Joe has acquired a rake with which to shoe the goat back into place. Please, Mom, please can we pay the $7 to get right in there, in the pin with them, and touch those animals? Kiss them with our faces? Rub the hay in our eyes? I’m especially interested in the parts of the animals that ought to have fur and/or feathers, and yet have neither.

Oh, sorry honey, dad is highly allergic to some manner of evil within this petting zoo, and we’ve got to GTFO before his sinuses explode. I, too, am experiencing itching in places on my face I didn’t know I had.

When can I go on the inflatable slide, Mom? I love the part about how we have to take our shoes off and walk around in what I can only assume are used hypodermic needles and a bit of hay.

Sadly, we had to go before we could experience the full splendor. Andy was legit allergic, so we couldn’t linger, as much as we obviously wanted to. Charlie started throwing a fit upon the news that it was time to pay for our pumpkins and go. Sobbing, as is his custom, “I’m never going to be happy again!” He cried all the way home.

As it turned out, this was not the recommended pumpkin patch in question. The one my friend endorsed was her non-gimmicky, strictly pumpkin-based neighborhood patch. In fairness to me, this questionable autumn experience had a lot of close-up pictures on its website, so all red flags had been carefully cropped out of my internet research. But because I wanted to create a magical memory and didn’t feel like driving all the way the fuck to Moorpark, we now have the magical memories of the saddest petting zoo in Los Angeles, and a son who promises to be unhappy forever.

But a memory’s a memory. I’m counting this one as a win.

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The House that the Jungle Cruise Built

Oh my gawd, I haven’t blogged for fun in forever. Hello, everyone! I missed you. I’ve mostly been writing blogs for corporate entities of late, in exchange for money. It’s a great system! But I had a joyful little moment the other day that’s prompted me to get back on the Hipster Mother wagon.

Earlier this week, we took Charlie on his very first Jungle Cruise ride. Andy and I first met while we worked on Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise, approximately one million years ago. (Yesterday was our 16th first-date-aversary. We both forgot until mid-day, and then celebrated with Mexican food.)

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This is the best picture I got. It will do!

We’ve avoided Jungle Cruising with Charlie up to this point because he thought it looked too scary. What happens to that boat when it goes around the corner? Death? Probably death. He’s not interested in death right now. He has a lot of magic tricks to look at on YouTube, and he’s not about to throw that all away for a chance to take a boat ride straight to the pit of hell. We had the same fear issue with the caterpillar train in Disney California Adventure. Where does it go after it gets through the giant box of animal crackers? To the pit of hell? Probably to the pit of hell. But now that damned train is his favorite and literally the only thing he wants to ride. Over and over and over again. With Jungle Cruise, we once got as far as taking him through most of the line before he started screaming and panic-crying.

But Tuesday, he asked if we could go on it. He asked if it was still daytime, because it would be too scary at night. He asked right at dusk, so we had to move fast.

Charlie fucking loved it. He’s all about cheesy jokes right now, and our skipper was polished and totally on-script. When our skipper did the line about most people taking these rocks for granite, Charlie laughed like a goddamn lunatic. He has no idea what granite is, but he knew this guy was using a joke-telling voice, and Charlie loves to be in on the joke. His favorite part was “when that elephant joked at me that it was going to splash me.”

To see the love and family that we’ve built off of this puntastic theme park attraction was a special experience that made me feel feelings, like joy and hope, that have become harder to come by since right around November 8th of last year. I thanked our skipper, conveyed the momentousness of the occasion, and told him what a bummer it would have been if this evening’s ride had sucked.

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Charlie at Trader Sam’s House

We also took Charlie to “Trader Sam’s House” at the Disneyland Hotel, which has become part of our pre-game ritual when we go to Disneyland. We sit outside, because the inside of this themed restaurant is obviously completely horrifying. They’ve got moody lighting, so that probably means that terror and death await. Charlie’s smart. He knows that blue gels on your overhead lights mean you’re evil.

Oh, he also asked to go on The Haunted Mansion for the first time, so we took him. It went poorly.

“It was supposed to be spooky fun, but it was just REAL spooky. I’ll never be happy again! Ahhhhhhhhhh!” – Charlie