Autism Watch: 2007

Pumpkin Patch, Here We Come…And Go

Posted on: October 30, 2008

We’ve visited the same pumpkin patch for years now. Petting zoo, bouncers, slides, games, swings, reverse bungee, you name it. We’re a few days behind this year — crap week continues — and we expected the crowds that were indeed there. What we didn’t expect was that half the rides weren’t operating, the petting zoo wasn’t open, and the games weren’t being run. It pretty much left the bouncers and slide for ds, as he’s not one for the swings. The petting zoo has always been a favorite, so he was bummed from early on. It came as no surprise, after dh dropped $16 on 20 tickets, that ds had a meltdown. But let’s back up a bit.

First, ds ran to the bouncer. Last year, two tickets got you two runs through it; this year, one. Fine, we do it a couple of times then move onto the bouncer slide. After handing the guy a couple of tickets, the attendant tells ds he can’t jump onto the slide. So much for that ride, ds of course wouldn’t go on it again. Then he moves onto the bouncer, just a regular bouncer with only two other kids in it. Five minutes later, in which he was at least smiling, a kid bounced on him when he fell, and we hear him screaming “he broke my neck!” After apologizing to the mom because ds called him stupid — and mom, if you’re out there, thank you, you were nicer than most people I’ve seen in public in a long time and it is/was appreciated — ds had a complete freakout. Screaming, yelling, people staring meltdown. Dd and I walked around looking at pumpkins. (They had a 95-pound pumpkin. 95 pounds!) People were still turning and staring, but eh, bite me. Yeah, he sounded obnoxious, but he wasn’t hurting your night, and even worse, he wasn’t going home with you, so go find something else to stare at.

We head out, and I point out a family to dh to give the tickets to. “Pick them, Honey, they have three small children in that wagon, how cute.” Little did I know, until mom turned around, that we know them. Yay! Ds calmed down, but we still made him leave…there’s gotta be consequences for epic meltdowns, now that he’s aware enough to understand.

Next year, we may skip the pumpkin patch altogether. We can’t promise that the activities he wants will be there, though we understand. After all, they’re there every year otherwise, the booths are still there, who knew? Some days it really seems pointless to drag him to places he thinks he wants to go but can only turn into disaster…and I’m tired of disasters. Really, so very tired.

He’s upstairs making a loud mess with magnetics. (Yes, we still let him play with ‘those’ toys. He doesn’t eat them. And if he did, I’d, here’s a thought, supervise my child. He can choke on a piece of food, a marble, or any other item that a child should be supervised with, so I’m not going to scream that they be removed from the shelves.) He seems happy, though his fundraising toy that he waited weeks for broke after a few minutes. (Yes, I actually wrote the company for a replacement.) It’s always something.

If you head to the pumpkin patch with expectations, drive by first. Have a backup/alternative in mind. And don’t forget the camera!

And because I’m in a bad mood, here’s a mini-rant. Second-graders need Halloween celebrations..or if we’re being ridiculously politically correct, ‘harvest celebrations.’ It’s as important to the parents as it is to the kids. They’re kids only once. Let them party, let them have fun. When every other kid of the same age is carrying out caramel apples, sacks of cookies and goodie bags, it isn’t fair. It’s  not a big deal. Give them 30 minutes, give the parents time to spend partying with the kids and their class, and consider it time well-spent.

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