Ever since my daughter was born, I’ve had this fantasy about taking her to visit a farm.
Fresh air, baby animals, fruit picking – it all sounded so cute and wholesome. Plus, I wanted my kid to know her food comes from the ground, not Trader Joe’s. But the realities kept me from making it happen: 45 minute freeway drive, brutally hot weather during growing season, port-a-potties.
This week, with a favorable weather report, friends organizing, and grandpa Boo Boo in town to help out, I decided the time was ripe (fruit pun!) and we hit the road. Everything went great for the first 15 minutes. Then, just after merging onto the 405 freeway, I heard tell-tale coughing from the back seat. My toddler is prone to carsickness, especially if (A) I feed her right before we get in the car and (B) we hit some stop & go traffic. Check, check.
I managed to pull onto the shoulder just as Viv blew like Mount Vesuvius. If your toddler is going to throw up any meal on you, I highly recommend breakfast, as the tropical fruit and cheese combo was, at least, a pretty color. However, after a few hours of baking in the sun, my new car still smells like pickled feet.
Viv doesn’t enjoy the feeling of hot molten lava cascading from nose to toes, but once I stripped her naked and cleaned her up (note to self: restock 10 cases of wipes), she stopped wailing and still wanted to go to the farm as promised. Way to boot and rally, kid. The only thing standing between us and pony rides was the California Highway Patrol car that had pulled up behind me to see what was happening.
A CHiPS officer, we’ll call him Erik Estrada, stepped up just in time to witness me using brute force to fit my shrieking, pants-less daughter back into her toxic car seat. This was one of those times I’m glad my kid looks just like me, because otherwise we might have set off Estrada’s Amber Alert. After a long, thoughtful pause, during which old Erik probably decided he didn’t need Viv’s puke in his cop car, he wished us well, even providing an escort back onto the freeway.
An hour and a half after leaving the house, we finally arrived at the farm. Everything was great for the first 15 minutes, and then an emu bit my daughter’s finger.
We’d barely begun, and I was already so tired. Part of me wished we had just stayed home, but then we would never have been able to do this:
Which makes the farm trip a great metaphor for parenthood–it’s sour and sweet, sticky and smelly, hairy and scary, sweaty and exhausting, and totally worth it.