So it turns out, my whole dilemma on which activity to take my son to this past Sunday was all for naught. Sunday morning, my son woke up with just enough of a cough and runny nose, with a cranky and slightly sleepy aspect to boot, that I knew we weren’t going anywhere, fun or not, that day. We kept him indoors for most of the morning, but by afternoon, even though he wasn’t feeling all that well, he was going a bit stir-crazy. He is a child who does not stay still and he loves being outside. My spouse needed to go rake some leaves for pickup today so I let my son go out with him to do a little raking and get some of his restlessness out of his system.
My daughter (who is very much a DADDY’S girl) protested her exclusion from this outing as much as a one year old can (basically by hightailing it to a window, peering outside and wailing “Dadddddddyyyyyy” in the most plaintive yet earpiercing voice in existence), so I bundled her up too and took her outside to observe the raking.
And really, the most wonderous thing happened. My daughter happily sat in a pile of leaves, picking up, examining, and putting down dozens of leaves happily for the better part of an hour, my son scavenged the yard for twigs that had fallen off our big maple tree, picking them up and making a large pile for our lawn recycling , and my spouse and I raked leaves to the curb for pickup (and also made a large pile in the middle of the yard for my son to repeatedly jump in before moving that to the curb as well), and we all had a great time. I’d wager we had as much fun cleaning up the yard as we would have had at either of the two fall-themed activities I was debating taking the kids to, and this activity was free (and actually useful for our yard).
And with all the wind we’ve had the past few days, the yard is already starting to be blanketed in leaves again (it is amazing just how many leaves a single large maple tree has) so I foresee another weekend of fall fun in our future that won’t cost us a dime. I should have just taken a page from Lynnae’s book in the first place and planned on leafy fun. I’m glad it worked out this way though, after all. The zoo and the pumpkin patches still will be there next year. And maybe we’ll decide to partake in one…. or not.