This is the first fall (except the one I spent as a postdoc, but I already knew I was heading back to school the following September so it wasn't the same) that didn't mean back to school. The year turns over in fall, for me -- both because of the academic calendar that I've been bound by for 29 years, and because I think of New Year's eve as being in October. :)
I kind of miss the thrill of a new school year, a clean academic slate, the opportunity to have consistent, regularly scheduled positive feedback on my academic progress (yes, I just said I miss exams). But it's also nice to know that when I get home from work at the end of the night, my time is my own. There are no demands on me after work (well, there's a lot I should be - and less that I am - studying, but it's semi-elective). If I want to spend a whole Sunday playing with H in a pumpkin patch, I'm free to do that without knowing in the back of my mind that I'm going to have to "pay back" that time later with late nights catching up on the work I missed. It feels free. I also feel crushingly weighted down with responsibility for patients for whom I am often the final word, and with the magnitude of the things I still don't know (or have forgotten - that feels so shameful, to have learned something and not be able to use it). And I do spend a lot of my days off studying when H is napping, or looking things up on VIN, or ruminating over things I think I did inadequately or just plain incorrectly at work.
BUT ENOUGH ALREADY, this is a post about having autumn fun with my cute baby! Why the heck am I brooding over work? I'll stop.
This weekend was AWESOME. We took H to a pick-your-own orchard about 30 minutes away. The one I always went to as a child has a big fall festival-type thing, and we took H to that one last year, and I was horrified by the number of cranky, impatient, ill-spirited parents snapping at their children. Plus the pumpkins are pre-picked in bins, and what's the fun of that? So we decided not to go back this year. I didn't know if we'd be able to find another one, and it turned out that there are dozens within easy driving distance of our suburb! So we picked one, mostly just based on hours and proximity, and headed out.
It turned out to have nice apple orchards. We picked a bunch of apples, H ate almost an entire gigantic apple by himself standing in the middle of the orchard, and looked absolutely adorable dressed in his little caterpillar jacket munching on a matching green apple. It also had a pumpkin patch! The pumpkins were mostly cut from the vine already (which turned out to be a good thing -- I never realized pumpkin vines were so prickly! I got a bunch of splinters in my finger when I touched one accidentally) and we just walked around and looked at them. H sat in front of one and slapped it gleefully a bunch of times, and then was over the pumpkin scene). We took a smallish one home, and it's sitting on our balcony. He goes out there a few times a day and pats it with his little hands. :)
They also had the most incredible apple cider donuts I've ever had. They sold out so we had to wait while they made more, and that was so lucky because hot out of the oven they were AMAZING!!! I think we ate 5 that day (they were small . . . . . . ish) and 2 more the next day. They were so much better hot and fresh; I'm thinking of going back just to get more donuts!
H loved the goats; they weren't in an enclosure that you could enter, so we just watched them from across the fence. I helped H feed them little kernels of corn that had fallen out of their feed bins onto the ground. I love the tickly way that goat lips gently brush food into their mouths!
He also loved the calf starters that were painted like jack-o-lanterns, and spent a long time going in and out of one. He liked eating barbecue chicken drumsticks at a picnic table, and climbing up and down the little step for the wooden photo things that you stick your head into (and it appears on top of a painted farmer, or scarecrow, or whatever).
It was a beautiful day. I had so much fun.
And then today is my day off, and I took him to an indoor baby gym that's 5 minutes away. He climbed around the giant foam obstacle course and played in the ball pit (I shudder to think of what lives in those things, but I don't want to be one of those parents who puts a fabric cover on their shopping cart and squirts Purell over everything every 2 minutes and won't let their children do fun child things because they're afraid of germs). And we signed up for a waiting list for a toddler gymnastics class!!! I don't know if we'll get a spot; since it's an Olympic year they're inundated with children wanting to be gymnasts, but it will be a lot of fun if we do.
We spent the rest of the day at home, playing on the floor -- I cut a door into one of the giant U-Haul boxes that we used for moving, and he goes in and out of it like it's a little playhouse. And we made some pretend soup together the other night in the big pot that we keep in "his" kitchen cabinet, and now he likes to make soup by himself. :) And he typed on the computer, which he also loves, until he picked it up and dropped it onto the floor from 6 inches in the air, which ended typing time. But he had fun. And I had fun. And fall is definitely my favorite season, and despite my work angst, this is probably my favorite fall. :)