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Forced Family Fun: The Apple-Picking Edition

Here I sit, nursing a sore knee and the remainder of a headache brought about by another edition of Forced Family Fun. For those of you who don’t know what that is, let me enlighten you; it occurs when we as parents operate under the illusion that our families, who eat fast food and occasionally wear dirty socks (okay, more than occasionally) bear any resemblance whatsoever to a Norman Rockwell portrait.  We do not. Not even close.

But for some strange reason, we take out, dust off and don those rose-tinted glasses because we all buy into what society says we have to do in order to give our kids a well-rounded childhood. That would include (but not limited to) theme parks, museums, pony rides or as was the case for us, apple picking. You know we’re all about learning and sharing around here so in an effort to keep you from making the same mistakes, I will share the three things I learned from our outing.

*NATURAL CONSEQUENCES RULE! It is this way in the animal kingdom, in agriculture and in our household. I told Cole it was chilly. He stuck his barren, big toe out the back door and pronounced, “It’s not that bad” and refused to get a jacket. So I let him go without one, despite the fact that it was 58 degrees outside when we got to our destination. And raining. Okay, drizzling. Steadily. The entire time Cole tried to convince me (through chattering teeth) that he was not cold; I knew better but said nothing (that’s a lie, but I did said “I told you” fewer than half a dozen times. The rest of the time I left my eyebrows do the talking). I also let him go without a belt, so not only was he cold, he had to use this odd gait in order to keep his pants up. Trust me when I say, I will not have to say, “Bring a jacket, just in case” ever again.

*PREPARE TO PAY FOR “THE EXPERIENCE”: We do this year after year so you’d think we’d a) intuitively know better or b) ultimately get smarter. But noooooo. Year after year we buy two, overpriced plastic bags and cram them full of apples, which, in case it’s been a while since you’ve bought apples, gets to be quite heavy. Then we drag them, and complaining kids, all over creation, because we can “still fit more in the bag.”  What that means, of course, is that not only will we pull a shoulder out of joint hoisting 17 pounds of apples onto the mandatory hayride, but we’ll also have more than we know what to do with. There will candy and caramel applies, apple strudel, apple pie, hot apple cider, cold apple juice and enough fiber to clean the pipes of every person in Manhattan.

*THE BEST PART: LEAVING! That’s what Casey said when we asked her and frankly, truer words were never spoken. I know I sound like a curmudgeon but can we get real for a second? We paid 37 bucks for a meal that would have warranted a call to the health inspector had we eaten it anywhere else. We paid $14 for the pleasure of having a plastic bag cut off circulation to our fingertips with each added pound of fruit. We wandered all over looking for just the right apples (green, in this case) and we were cold, even those of us who were properly attired. At one point, when Buff and Cole were at each other again, Casey turned to me and, in her second best line of the day, said “We need to get home and back to our own rooms. It’s the only way this family is going to stay together.”

But you know something? In all of that craziness, we had a blast, even if it was just to laugh about how miserable we were. Casey and Cole Look forward to it every year and we go every year, which means we’ll be back there this time next year.  And for the nuttiness of it all, you can rest assured, they’ll remember this year’s apple picking adventure. And to bring a jacket next year.

What about you, what’s your favorite FFF outing? Is it something you do year after year? What do you get out of it?


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