We went to a Great Pumpkin Festival in a neighboring town yesterday. I love autumn, Halloween, Thanksgiving, pumpkins, apple picking, all that fun stuff. It's my favorite time of year hands down. Last year, we had all these crazy plans for fall, but they got rained out and then Clare ended up having a cath on Halloween.
The pumpkin fest was awesome. It was a gorgeous, sunny, crisp autumn day. The leaves are starting to change in beautiful northern New England, so the foliage was lovely. There were so many activities for the kids - face painting, pumpkin painting, tours of the fire station, games, pumpkin catapult, yummy food, and a children's singer who got both Jamie and Clare dancing. (And even Shawn, although he won't admit it.) Jamie had a great time doing everything, and even Clare enjoyed herself. It's tough because she is at an age where she is too young to really participate, but she wants to be involved. She had fun just taking it all in. When we went down to the fire station, Jamie got to use a fire extinguisher (with the help of the fireman) to put out a real fire - he thought that was fantastic! He was also eager to try his hand at the pumpkin catapult. He picked out his pumpkin (a perfectly round little pumpkin). When it was his turn, he waited patiently while the man set up his pumpkin in the catapult. The goal is to aim the pumpkin at a floating scarecrow in the river, pull the string to send the catapult flying, then hope the pumpkin hits the target. Jamie pulled that string with all his might. His pumpkin sailed high in the air and hit that scarecrow dead on! Jamie was so excited - he was a winner! He was led into the tent to pick his prize. Jamie carefully perused the table of assorted pumpkin shapes for the perfect prize. He settled on a plastic jack-o-lantern that flashes red and yellow lights. For the rest of the day, Shawn and I answered the questions a zillion times - How did I hit the scarecrow? Did I pick the right pumpkin? Did I pull that string hard enough? Was I winner? He wanted to hear over and over again how he hit the scarecrow and won a prize. With no false pride as the beaming mother, we watched the pumpkin catapult for quite a while later that day and did not see anyone else hit the scarecrow.
Unfortunately, we had our next first right after Jamie became the first contestant of the day to hit the scarecrow. As I carried Clare back to the stroller, she started screaming and flailing her arms. Shawn hurried over, and we examined Clare - could not figure out why she was carrying on until we saw a little well of blood on her left cheek. Shawn took Clare, and I checked myself to see what on me could have cut Clare. As Shawn cleaned off the blood, I could see that it was not a cut, but a puncture - Clare had been stung. By what, I don't know because I did not see any insect near her. Within seconds, Clare's cheek turned red and started to swell. Thankfully, we had already checked out the local ambulance house, so we knew where to go. By this time, Clare's left cheek was bright red and the size of a golfball, but she had stopped crying and was acting fine otherwise. The EMTs listened to Clare's heart and lungs, checked her over for any other rashes or hives (signs of an allergic reaction). Since the only discoloration and swelling was at the site of her sting and her chest sounded good, they gave us an ice pack to reduce swelling and told us what other symptoms to watch for. The EMTs were wonderful and even shared their munchkins with Jamie while we waited. Clare hated the ice pack and screamed every time we put it near her cheek. Within an hour or so, her swelling and redness went down. I was so grateful that it turned out to be relatively nothing.
We enjoyed the rest of the pumpkin fest since Clare was okay and then headed home. That night, Shawn gave Clare her first haircut. Her bangs are ridiculously long, but they were manageable with barrettes and elastics. However, Clare has decided that she does not want to wear anything in her hair. Within minutes (sometimes seconds) of me putting her hair up, she yanks whatever it is right out. And since the baby barrettes and elastics are teensy tiny, I don't want her eating them! So cut her bangs it was. Not the must professional job, but she looks pretty darn cute! And now no more hair in her eyes.
Before bed, once it was dark enough, Jamie and I went in his room and he turned on his prize pumpkin. It flashed its yellow and red lights. Jamie said, "Isn't it beautiful?" And it was.