It was almost the perfect day. It was 80 degrees and partly sunny which meant that there were just enough fluffy white clouds in the sky to provide the occasional cool breeze. While it was a Monday, it was also a holiday which meant that we got to spend the entire day together as a family. We packed my three year old twins up and headed to Cherry Crest Adventure Farm in Ronks, PA.
It was our first venture to this particular venue. My wife had stumbled across it during a google search of things to do with toddlers in our area, and the website seemed promising, and the prices reasonable.
We’ve done the pumpkin patch thing with our boys in the fall. While we’ve had some good experiences, some places did not live up to their website. That was not the case with this particular spot. I cannot say enough good things about place. The grounds are beautiful and clean, the staff friendly and courteous.
The activities were numerous and perfect for a place like this; stimulating for young families but juvenile enough to disinterest unaccompanied teenagers. The boys got to ride down a huge tunnel slide (that walk up the hill to which only made me momentarily dizzy). They got to ride toy tractors and bounce on a large trampoline-like device. There were goats and chicks for them to pet. There was a pit filled with dried corn kernels that the boys could dig and play in that was so entertaining that even my toddler with minor sensory issues couldn’t help but love. There was even an animatronic “Singing Chicken” show that my boys found absolutely captivating.
The absolute shining star of the whole farm though was a place called “Sproutsville”, a miniature make believe town with its own pretend ice cream parlor, farmer’s market, veterinarian clinic, post office and garage for preschool age children to enjoy. The smiles on my son’s faces as they donned mail carrier hats and delivered mail or strapped on a stethoscope to check out a stuffed puppy’s heart beat was worth every penny of admission. We could have spent the entire day and never left “Sproutsville”, and my children would have left happier than ever. It was perfect. Too perfect.
My boys had so much fun that one of my guys, who is still working on potty training, let forth a more solid endeavor. Unfortunately the size of this particular deposit and a misplacement of his pull up led to a Threat Level Midnight caliber code brown just outside the entrance to the Sproutsville Garage. Remember: this wasn’t the perfect day; it was only almost the perfect day.
Now when this type of situation happens to you as a parent, you sorta slip into crisis mode. Your fight or flight instincts kick in. Basically, you’re fighting your urge to flee to the safety of the minivan and hope you’re back on paved road before the first person discovers what’s happened to their new flip flops.
Yet we stayed. Well, I stayed anyway. My beautiful wife took our son out to the car for damage control and to inform the staff what had happened while I stood guard over the “scene of the crime” and kept an eye on the other toddler now shopping at the Sproutsville Farmer’s Market.
A year ago, we both would have been mortified by the whole situation. We would have spent the entire car ride home contemplating the number 2 reason we could never go back to this wonderful farm that had brought so much glee to our children. We’re three and a half years in now; we’re grizzled veterans of the parenting experience. Let’s face it, there’s one irrefutable fact when it comes to raising children….
And that’s the thing; in a place like this surrounded by parents of preschoolers, they get it. They’ve all been in our shoes when children do something out of our control in public. At that point, they’re just glad that it’s not them standing vigil over the remnants of a true accident. There were no dirty looks. In fact, there was a mom with a handful of wipes (ours were in the car) and a comforting “I got you, bro” smile. The bond between parents of young children is a real thing, and there is definitely a level of respect given to those that steer into the skid marks and deal with the situation rather than leaving an anonymous mess.
After farm staff came to relieve me of my post, I got to throw a kicking and screaming toddler (who was by no means ready to go) out to the van to meet his now short-less, but thankfully clean and pull-up clad twin out at the car. All protests about leaving were immediately quelled by goldfish crackers, and before we hit the highway, they were both sound asleep.
It wasn’t the perfect day, but despite it taking a crappy turn, it was pretty close. Never forget, today’s frustrations make for tomorrow’s funniest stories.
Dale was born in Pittsburgh, PA but currently lives outside of Reading, PA. He graduated with a BA in photojournalism from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA in 2007. He has worked as a Marketing Brand Representative in the optical industry for five years. Dale lives in a quiet suburb with his beautiful wife and twin three-year-old boys. He enjoys Pittsburgh sports, comic books and bad action movies from the 80’s and 90’s. Dale also runs a comedic twitter account under the handle @TwinzerDad.