Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Two evenings of forced gaity

One thing I've never liked about New Year's Eve is the pressure to have such a great time. Really, we usually don't do anything so different than usual. We have some friends over, some food, some drink. I'll make a more elaborate spread, then stress over getting it all finished in time. It's fun, but not crazy fun.

I think I have recreated that this year in Halloween. The boys were pretty good sports, humoring Mommy pretty well with a bit of prodding from Daddy to humor Mommy some more. See, I've always loved Halloween. No, that is not consistent with my faith, but I am not observing this tradition on some spiritual level. It's just plain fun. Crazy fun. For the last couple weeks I had been looking to find out when It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown would be broadcast. When I saw it was to be last night, I had my plan. On my way home from work I picked up a pumpkin to carve and set about celebrating Halloween exactly right. Now this all had been preceded a couple days ago by making ghost shaped cupcakes, so we were in the spirit.

We gave the kids dinner fairly early, then set to work. It was great fun for them...for about 5 minutes. The first sign of all this unraveling was Hayden saying he didn't want to empty the pumpkin because it's gross. Sure, I know it is. But..this is for Halloween! I told him he's a little boy, and little boys should like gross things and to Man Up! Then Fillip preceded to graphically demonstrate what that choice phrased is derived from and the boys sat there..ahem...gestering and shouting "Man up!" "You man up!" "No, you man up!!!!" Fortunately, I did not get a call from the school today. I haven't ruled it out. Soooo...Logan was man enough to empty the pumpkin and help me scrape it smooth on the inside. Fillip got the pattern traced despite having to stop to clean up the milk that went flying when the boys were fighting over a tool and knocked the cardboard into a glass of milk. We moved on to punching holes in the pumpkin. Again, fun for about 5 minutes. They both helped, but Hayden wanted to only do it himself, despite needing a little extra strength, and Logan wanted to do it himself, despite a pattern that was already laid out. However, they can definitely say they helped. We got a bat carved into our pumpkin just in time to quickly get ready for bed in time for It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!

Logan Man-ups

Now, one thing to keep in mind. My kids don't watch any tv. This is not due to some moral standard of ours. Believe me, if they would sit still for 20 minutes and quietly pay attention to something, I would put on The Girls Next Door. However, they aren't even interested in Dora and have never sat though an entire episode of anything here. But...this is Charlie Brown. This is only on once a year. Sure, I could purchase the dvd, but that is completely uninterrupted, without the suspense-building commercials. No, they were required to sit nicely and enjoy that tv show, darnit! This went well for about..say...5 minutes. They really liked Snoopy and Charlie Brown, but the other characters were not engaging enough for my little guys. After all, the tv just sits there. It's not a toy that you can build with, or makes noise while it moves around the room. You aren't allowed to touch it like a book and flip the pages to the part of the story that you want to see. Tv is so boring! We were firm. It's a training process. We watched the entire show and even Hayden agrees that the Great Pumpkin must really exist, but he wouldn't miss tricks-or-treats to verify that. After all, we don't have a sincere pumpkin patch for miles around. The boys were finally released from all this forced festivity to go to sleep.

Halloween morning came at last. The boys were very excited to get in their costumes and head to school for the Halloween Parade and potluck. It was so cute to see the kids all dressed up. The teachers kick the parents out to the parking lot and get the kids lined up. Then they all parade out. The teachers sing Halloween songs to familiar melodies, and the kids come out each with a varied attitude to the whole thing. Most of Logan's class seemed to schlepped along. It's not like they were unwilling. They were perfectly happy to be led around, but seemed a little confused by being taken out of their normal environment and paraded in front of the parents. This was not the regular schedule! Some were more animated and would wave as they spotted their parents. Logan finally saw me and I got a bashful "Hi Mommy" as if he were slightly embarrassed, yet really proud of his big muscle-y Spiderman costume. Hey kid- remember I'm the one who got you dressed! Hayden came out with his class and seemed a little dazed as well. He was dressed up as Batman, complete with a mask that was driving him crazy. So, I'm not sure he could see all that well, but was happy when he spotted me. The kids looked absolutely adorable and the teachers had gone all out on their costumes. I took a bunch of pictures, and true to form, balled my eyes out at how freakin' cute it all was. They really did look quite proud of themselves, as they should be for being so freakin' cute!! They all went inside where we were allowed to visit...for a few minutes. They run a very tight ship there. Parents were told they could return at 11:30am for the potluck...not before. I had to go to work, but dutifully bored my co-workers with the pictures on my digital camera, that I just happened to still have in my purse. Logan as "Piderman" at the school Halloween parade.

Hayden as Batman at the school Halloween parade

Because I had not arrived at work until 11am, I couldn't leave early. I high-tailed it best I could in ridiculous L.A. traffic, picking the boys up 15 minutes late. For once, the teachers were very gracious about it, but I don't like feeling that rushed. After all, we had to quickly have dinner so we could go trick-or-treating! Dinner was not a big hit, as they were probably already very tired from their day, and excited to go out. We pushed for real food the best we could, then got them back in costume. They happily grabbed their candy bags and pumpkin flashlights and headed out into the dark night.
They seemed to enjoy going from house to house, but clearly did not get the concept. Oh, they understood that people would be giving them candy. However, they didn't understand that each house call is simply knock-knock "Trick or treat!" in goes the candy "Thank you!" and move on. Like a one night stand who didn't realize that's all it was, they wanted to stay and chat. They would ask about the pets, the train set, and had to confirm with one neighbor sitting on a dark porch that he did in fact have a front door and could get back in the house. Seriously, they wouldn't budge until he demonstrated that he could open from where he sat. Some of the neighbors seemed to enjoy the extra chatting, while others kind of stood their awkwardly with a pleading look to us to have them move along already. We got to see all kinds of cute costumes and everyone oohed and aahed over the adorable superhero brothers. We had gone down our street and across when Fillip discoverd Conan the cat following us. He apparently wanted to go trick-or-treating too. If there weren't a lot of kids around he would go right up to the doorstep. Other times he would stay by the street and patiently let strange kids touch him. I was a little more nervous and would ask them not to. He is 95% nice, but...

Trick-or-treating with my boys...including the cat

We covered all the lit up houses on our street. There was only one that was really scary. We arrived with a pack of kids, but Logan was the only one brave enough (maybe gullible enough) to approach the doorstep. Just as he got there a guy in a scary costume jumped up at him, making him cry. I felt so back for the poor unsuspecting little guy. Hayden approached cautiously and before accepting any candy suspiciously asked the ghoul "What's your name?" The ghoul just shook his head and we had to explain to Hayden that he didn't have any way to talk. Fortunately, he didn't ask questions. We revisited the school lesson that there are scary things, but they are just pretend. We only had a couple more houses to go, which were all neighbors we know. Logan made sure to tell them all about the house that scared him. He had recovered quickly and had no problem finishing his mission.
We were out for about an hour, and even though I would have been happy to go around another block, I think it was the perfect distance. They were clearly tired, but still happy. That 's a fine balance. We got home and checked out the loot!

They each got to pick a piece of candy, and within a second found the biggest ones. Hayden had a huge piece of blue taffy, and Logan tore into a big tootsy pop. That thing was so big for him that he drooled all over the front of his costume, and finally told me he was all done, then threw it away. Despite the giant pieces of candy, they each wanted more, and were very good about settling for one Hershey's kiss each and didn't ask again. Sweet Hayden offered me and Fillip each a piece without us even mentioning it. He scored big points for that move.

That blue dye can't be healthy

It took awhile to finish their candy and get them washed up, then off to bed. At that point they staged simultaneous meltdowns. I imagine that if it weren't so darn frustrating, it would have been quite impressive to watch. Despite the fantastic tantrums, they both went to bed without getting up, asking for water, wanted to pee, wanting to tell us something, bringing us a blankie, etc...

Bruce Wayne getting ready to brush his teeth

Maybe Peter Parker plays a fairy princess when he's not casting webs

I think they really did enjoy Halloween. We did all the things I had deemed relevant to build great memories and traditions. Some activities were bigger hits than others, but at the end of the day...I have a boatload of candy!

1 comment:

wahine808 said...

I love it! You have such a way with words Marlo! I was grinning the wholetime.