Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween Week Photo Dump

The week leading up to and including Halloween was a busy one, with events at school and a party on Friday. I took a lot of photos so I thought I'd make a blog post out of it.

On Wednesday the 28th Timmy's class had a "Harvest Party," so I came and helped out a little, but mostly just enjoyed watching Timmy in his element. When I first walked in the door at 8:30, this is what I found him doing, so absorbed that he didn't even notice I was there for at least a couple minutes.
We spent the first hour or so with the kids just rotating to different stations the way they do on any given day, with an activity at each one that lasts maybe five to ten minutes. One station was the snack station, another one was a applesauce-making and eating station, and my station was the one where kids had to measure the circumference of a pumpkin. It was not very interesting, but they all got a prize for trying. Timmy hardly paid me any attention, just went from one station to the next as usual. Then everybody had to clean up and put things away, and there was a story time. Lastly, they played a few songs and videos, and the kids sang and danced along on the carpet before it was time to go home. So it was just a Halloween spin on what is just a typical day of Pre-K. Other than the one snack that each kid got to have, which I think was a frosted Halloween cookie, there weren't any sweets being given out and that made me glad. At this school and at Delaney's, sweets are restricted, and healthy eating is encouraged at least in theory (e.g., no one is allowed to bring in birthday treats). That makes me happy because goodness knows they get enough treats at Halloween without the teachers, bus drivers and other parents at school handing them out left and right. Timmy was very happy with the little goody bag he got to take home. It was filled mostly with dollar store crap that will be in the trash soon, and maybe just a handful of candy.
Timmy was allowed to call on a couple classmates to ask him questions about what he'd made. This made him a little bashful.
Thursday was a day off school for Timmy and a half-day for the girls, and nobody had school on Friday. This was for parent-teacher conferences beginning Thursday afternoon and going all day Friday. I think it's nice that the teachers don't have to squeeze in the conferences after hours. On Thursday morning Timmy and I went to Annie's class for a "Celebration of Learning" in the classroom, and a "Readers are Leaders" awards ceremony for all the first grade classes. Delaney was jealous that she didn't get to do something like that with us, and I told her to just be glad her class didn't have something scheduled for the same day. I can't be in two places at once. Then, we've never been invited to attend anything with Delaney's class, so I need to make a point of at least coming and eating lunch with her sometime. Probably in the next few weeks would be best..

We had a really nice time in Annie's classroom. We spent about a half hour playing math games, and Annie helped Timmy solve problems with candy corns and pumpkin seeds. She was very sweet with him and seemed very much at home in the classroom. I couldn't be more pleased with what a great school year she's having so far. Once again, she won the lottery for good teachers, and has one that is youthful, enthusiastic, and never raises her voice above normal conversational tone to get and keep the kids' attention. I know she probably made sure to be really on her game with all the parents hanging around, but I get the feeling that her classroom is typically a very orderly place with the kids all just doing what's expected.

The "Readers are Leaders" ceremony was kind of meh as far as I was concerned. What it is is the kids in the primary grades have a log for filling out every time they read a book alone or you read with them. I only received one log for each of them, filled it out in a matter of days and sent it in. I never saw another. I guess I was supposed to ask for more. So Annie received an award for 'meeting the goal', when we all know she reads constantly. Whatever. I think the whole thing is kind of silly anyway, but easy for me to say as the mom of kids who've needed no encouragement to read books.
Tim and I have talked about what a difference there is between Annie this year and last year. Last year she had a wonderful kindergarten teacher, and we feel we couldn't have asked for a better experience. But Annie would puzzle us by behaving so perfectly at school and then being a bear at home. She really drove me crazy some days, and I didn't know whether she was having some kind of crisis or just being a turd for its own sake. I was really holding my breath at the beginning of this school year because I had them switching schools again, and I didn't know how that transition would go for Annie. I am so glad to say that this year she has been much less moody, and more happy and helpful at home. I don't know why .. maybe it just took time to adjust to the new reality of full time school? Whatever the reason, I am grateful.
On Friday afternoon the kids donned their costumes for the Halloween party down the street. A great time was had by all. The neighbor who hosted is like a big kid, and she went all out with planning games and crafts for the kids, as well as having tons of yummy food. 

Before we left I had the kids pose for the customary 'costumes on the porch' picture. I promised them that if I got a good picture that night I would not make them pose for any pictures the next night before trick-or-treating. I'd say they delivered on their end of the bargain.
Delaney knocked the pinata down.
Annie bobs for apples while her brother tries to turn them stem up for her.
Bobbing for apples .. it's one of those traditional Halloween games that I think should just go away. It is pretty gross. Tim tried to volunteer me to go first, and I said to him (under my breath), "No way. I'll just tell them I have herpes." Not that I needed to worry, only the kids were invited to participate. And with the host dad being a doctor, an attempt was made to keep it somewhat germ-safe for the kids. The kids who had a cough were given their own bowl with their own apples to bob for. Everybody else just dunked their faces in the communal bowl. Well, one kid slipped through the cracks. He came up out of the bowl, stem of an apple held triumphantly between his teeth, and a rope of snot at least four inches long hanging from his nose. Everyone in the room went, "Oooohhhhhhh.." Then raucous laughter and shouts of "Game over!"

There was also a costume fashion show, a craft, 'pin the hat on the witch' and copious sweets. Toward the end of the night as the kids were starting to crash from the sugar and lay glassy-eyed in front of the TV, someone said to our hosts, "This was a five-year-old frat party!" Well done, neighbors, well done.
After that, most of the grownups on our street were feeling like they'd already had enough Halloween, but the next night was round 2 with trick-or-treating.

I made good on my promise to not make the kids pose for more pictures, but after I dashed back inside to get my sunglasses (trick-or-treating started at 5), Tim got a few more of them on the porch which were a nice surprise for me later. I promised not to take any more, but no one said anything about dad. It doesn't look like they minded.
As Delaney and 'other Delaney' strolled along, ours was saying, "One Delaney lives in a palace, and the other lives on a farm!"
When Timmy tripped and spilled his bucket of candy, these good boys stopped to help him.
When we got back home, three very excited kids sorted their loot.
Trick-or-treating was from 5 to 7, but it only took us a little over an hour to go down every street in our neighborhood and fill up their pumpkins with candy. Perfect. By then we were starving, and we headed home and Tim made a pizza, and the kids got to have a treat before getting ready for bed.

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