The Children’s Division–Or Would That Be “Division Among the Children?”

At the Great Pumpkin’s weigh-off, the children’s division is almost an after-thought. “Ahh, look at the cute little pumpkins! Hurry them through and let’s get on to the big daddies.”

This year was the exception.

The rules are the pumpkins need to be dropped off well in advance of the competition. The children’s started at 10 a.m. and the adults were supposed to follow at 11 a.m. Much to my annoyance (as one who HATES when people/events are late), this event has never started on time.

At 10 a.m., Hadley and Bode had the only pumpkin in the children’s division. Then 10:15 a.m., 10:30 a.m. By 10:45 a.m., we started doing our victory lap but no, wait! Our arch nemesis from years past showed up with three humdinger pumpkins. Meaning: HUGE.

The kids had not noticed their competition so we settled back, waiting for it to begin. When we saw the first pumpkin that was going to scale, Hadley was unimpressed.

“Wow, that’s small,” she scoffed.

 I tried to shush her but not before the mohawked kid and his brother in front of us turned around without missing a beat and snarled, “That’s my pumpkin.”

“And it’s a very nice one,” I assured him before lecturing Hadley about being a good sport. Turns out, she needed that lecture because out of the five pumpkins, hers was among the smallest.

To build suspense, pumpkins are measured from smallest to largest and Hadley and Bode’s was next. They were excited about the results: 203 pounds. And a great-looking pumpkin to boot!

But they didn’t win. In fact, there were three kids from the same family whose pumpkins got progressively bigger. By the time they got to the largest pumpkin–from a 5-year-old girl–the pumpkin was a foot taller than she was.

“622 pounds!” Jamie (the MC) announced.

Now, that’s impressive for any grower but common consensus was there was no way a kindergartner who couldn’t remember what city she was from could have grown it. The dad even later later it slip that they were all his pumpkins.

Disconcerting? Sure. The father should have just entered them in the adult competition and he still would have beat out half the competition. And it wasn’t that little girl’s fault–I’m sure she didn’t put herself up to it.

Haddie is a perceptive one. “I don’t think she did it by herself. In fact, I’m 100 percent sure she didn’t.”

Regardless of the fairness of the situation, there was a lesson to be learned. “It doesn’t matter,” I consoled. “Sometimes things just aren’t fair. But you got fourth place and you grew a really great pumpkin. That is something to be proud of.”

When the ribbons were handed out, I insisted they cheer for their competitors. Hadley begrudgingly obliged but mild-mannered Bode had been nursing a brutal blister from the monkey bars.

“I can’t,” he contested. “It hurts too much to clap.”

I couldn’t have agreed more, Little Dude.

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