I love the fall. We may not be experiencing cooler weather or watching the leaves change here anytime soon, but one of the tried-and-true signs of fall is the arrival of the greatest invention known to man: The Fall Festival. Fall Festivals are the BEST: the smells, the sounds, the people-watching. I just plain love 'em.
David and I met my mom at one of my favorite Fall Festivals today. We had a great time shopping around the little craft booths, chatting with friends, and listening to fun bluegrass music.
The only down-side to an otherwise beautiful morning was that I was unable to indulge in my favorite Festival Foods. I stoically resisted the corn dogs, snow cones, and even the funnel cakes... but almost cried my eyes out when I had to pass up the FRIED PICKLES (Darn you, evil, evil Sugah!).
I'll be sure to make up for lost carb-age next year. You can quote me on that.
As the day wound down, we thought that Avery might enjoy the chance to pet some of the animals in the Petting Zoo.
She's started this "I'm Afraid of Anything New" phase lately, so we weren't quite sure how she would respond to seeing real, live farm animals.
At first, she was VERY nervous about the entire situation. She must have said, "Mommy, I hode you a minute" a million times.
Evidently, one request to be held is just not enough to an almost-two-year-old.
The happy news: The longer we stayed, the more comfortable she became.
The sad news: As Avery became more relaxed, Mommy became more and more nervous.
The reason for my anxiety had nothing to do with Avery. My trepidation was rooted in the fact that the poor little "petting zoo" definitely wasn't the well-oiled machine that it could have been.
(Southern Etiquette 101: How to verbally pummel something/someone with grace and charm: Simply insert the words,"poor", "little", "sweet", or "bless his/her heart" and you can get away with saying almost anything in your evil little head).
Bottom Line: That place was out-of-control! I'm pretty sure that if PETA could have seen what I saw today, they would have immediately launched a full-blown anti-petting zoo campaign. Right there on the spot.
Problem #1 -
In order for me to go with my small child inside the petting zoo area, I had to pay for a TWO tickets: one for her, one for me.
That's $6 to pet a few tiny animals. Not the greatest bargain in the world.
Problem #2 -
Many of the parents there opted NOT to pay for an additional ticket to go into the petting zoo with their child. Instead they stood at the gate watching.
Great idea, Mom and Dad. You have a front row seat as your unattended child steps on teeny, tiny farm animals.
Problem #3 -
There was only ONE worker in the petting zoo monitoring 15 exuberant, handsy, little guys.
The teacher in me almost lost her MIND.
I found myself frantically trying to monitor each one of them.
I kept saying, "Gentle, gentle, GENTLE... OH GOODNESS, don't grab so tightly, I'm pretty sure it can't breathe...OH MY... Careful!"
Problem #4 -
Small children and small animals do NOT mix. It's just a scientific fact.
I watched in horror as many overzealous preschoolers excitedly grabbed baby duck wings, practically crushed tiny chickies, lunged at innocent bunnies, and happily chased unsuspecting baby goats.
After the most terrifying 10 minutes of my life, I decided to make an exit before things got really ugly.
You'll enjoy this little picture. One of the bunnies got a little too friendly with me...
Don't let the smile fool you... I'm freaking out on the inside!