This is not my baby’s first autumn. My son was born in early November 2016. That, however kept him from experiencing Portland in the fall. This season happens to be my favorite, and not just because it’s my namesake. There’s something about Portland autumns: the crispness in the air on a brisk morning, the golden tinge to the sunlight, the colors sweeping over the landscape in brassy reds and yellows.
I remember when my baby was only two-weeks-old, we were sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair, bundled up against the damp, and letting the season’s smells and chills settle over us. His tiny face was exposed and his nose snuffled gently. I daydreamed about future falls and what they would bring for us. There are many autumn firsts for babies, but the five I look forward to the most are included below. Sure, a few of them are pretty iconic, but others are just whimsical moments that last a minute or two and yet absolutely encompass the season.
I mean, let’s be real. We all love the baby pumpkin photo. It’s a classic! And yeah, I totally dressed my baby up as an autumn cliche (plaid shirt, overalls, neckerchief) and stuck him directly in that pile of pumpkins for photos. No shame, moms, no shame. My little farmer wasn’t exactly thrilled with the arrangement, but he wasn’t screaming so I consider that a win. We drove to Sauvie Island, plunked ourselves in a patch, picked out some excellent pumpkins, and took them home for a cute front porch display. My kiddo really enjoyed riding around in the cart as I loaded up our pumpkins, and was thoroughly engrossed with touching ALL THE SQUASHES once we got home.
2. Autumn Leaves
Not yet old enough for leaping into piles, a baby can still appreciate the turning of the leaves. There is nothing my baby enjoys more than posting up under a tree and poking around at the various debris that collect beneath. In the autumn this is made even more exciting and adorable by the presence of brightly colored leaves that attract his tiny eyes and fingers. Maples are surprisingly prevalent in Portland parks and there is nothing better than watching your little one admire, shred, and potentially eat nature’s falling fireworks display.
3. Cozy Outfits
I dare you to show me a baby who isn’t at his cutest in the autumn. It’s impossible. A beanie, some overalls, maybe a fleece vest. A fall baby is ridiculous because there’s always outerwear. You like a raincoat covered in sharks? Of course, you do. How about mini galoshes? Yeah. I thought so. What was that? Tiny puffy coat? You got it, because it’s fall, and now is the time to get those babies in layers. Also, can we talk about jeans on babies? I can’t. Because they literally cause me to melt into a puddle!
4. Rain Storms
It’s not as if my baby has never experienced rain. A sprinkle here, a sprinkle there, he knows what it generally is. However, he has not yet been caught in a surprise downpour. Those autumn showers that come out of nowhere and suddenly turn the sky black and your sidewalks into streams. I realize if this happens he probably won’t be wearing that weather-appropriate, shark-covered raincoat. We’ll probably be out somewhere inconvenient and he may get a little chilly before we can get back to the car. However, I’m telling you, the mild discomfort is worth the experience. Babies thrive on new feelings, and what better feeling is there than getting caught up in a whirlwind of rain, falling leaves, and gusts that blow you off course and into fits of laughter?
5. Fall Foods
Now that my baby is eating some solids, there’s a whole seasonal bounty about to open up. Being married to a chef comes with some serious perks. Squash, sweet potatoes, stewed apples, and all the other goodies that show up this time of year. Healthy and beautiful, the availability of new and tasty foods is prevalent in the autumn. Plus, your kitchen smells amazing when you roast pretty much anything.
Autumn is the time for new experiences for babies, and they’ll continue to get better, but nothing will replace this first fall. Get out there and show your baby the best this season has to offer!