A few weeks ago, we planned to drive upstate with some friends and do some apple and pumpkin picking. Our plans were postponed when Matt had to go out of town unexpectedly, but Milo didn’t forget about them. “Hi mama. We go pick apples?” he greeted me every morning when Matt was away. He seemed so enthusiastic about it that when Matt got back, we decided to make it happen.
It was a beautiful, perfect fall day. The trees along the Taconic Parkway were alight with color. Zachary slept. Milo sang to us for a while, then fell asleep for the last 45 minutes. How perfect, we thought, he’ll be so refreshed and ready to pick apples. How fun!
Milo awoke in a good mood. “We’re going to pick apples!” we sang out merrily to him. “Yay!” he answered, but then proceeded to pitch a fit upon exiting the car and learning that he was expected to walk to out of the parking lot. “Ride shoulders! Milo ride daddy shoulders!” he demanded. Poor Matt’s back was hurting, so we tried to get Milo up and walking. Milo threw in a little writhing on the ground to show he meant business. Matt sighed. “Ugh, fine, shoulders it is,” he said to Milo, picking him up. We try not to give in to his tantrums but man, sometimes you just don’t feel like standing around in the goddamned parking lot for an hour in a standoff with a toddler.
We paid for our apple bag, and started to walk toward the orchard. I noticed a tractor hauling a flat bed filled with people back from the orchard, so I suggested we hop on that instead of walking, thinking we could save Matt’s back a little. We climbed on, our legs dangling over the side. As the tractor lurched forward, Milo’s eyes grew wide. “Tractor!” he whispered. We rode the tractor up the hill to the orchard. We reached the drop off point and disembarked, ready to pick some last-of-the-season apples. Whereupon, of course, Milo melted into a huge puddle of tears. “More tractor, more tractor,” he sobbed, tears streaming down his face, “no apples, no pick apples, no no no.”
We dragged and cajoled him down the strip a bit. He flung himself out of Matt’s arms onto the ground. “More tractor, more tractor,” he begged. We resorted to trickery. “Come on! Let’s go back to the tractor then! This way,” we said as we led him further into the orchard. Foolish parents we, thinking we could distract a toddler from his heart’s desire. I thought we had him for a moment at one point. There was a quick minute of repose. We pointed out an apple on a low-lying branch that he could reach. He picked it, helpfully placed it in the bag. He picked another one and took a bite.
He ran ahead….and then, remembered that he was upset. Back on the ground he went, rolling in the long grass, nature’s detritus stuck to his sweater and hair. “Let’s go back to the tractor,” we called out, determined to at least fill one paltry bag with apples. Did I mention it was late in the season? The trees were, unsurprisingly, picked almost bare. We wandered around, laughing at Milo’s theatrics, and finally gave in. We trudged up the hill to the tractor pick up site.
Once clear of the hated apple orchard, Milo perked up. We were able to get him into the pumpkin patch for some photos. He picked out two small pumpkins, one for him and one for “my baby Zacky”.
We hopped back on the tractor with our apples and our pumpkins. “Tractor!” said Milo happily. There was, of course, another fit of tears when we reached the end of the tractor ride. Luckily, there were doughnuts and apple juice on this end to assuage the sadness.
It’s funny how you have these days with your kids, days that are filled for the most part with aggravation and things not gone right, but when you get home and look at the photos, you have only a good feeling about the day. “Remember that time we went to pick apples and Milo cried the entire time about how he hated apples and only wanted to ride on the 3 minute long tractor ride? What a lovely day that was! What a fun family time!”