Tuesday, October 31, 2017

This is Halloween

"You're going to be here in the morning, right?" I asked Andrew last night. "Because I can get the kids ready for school and out the door on a regular day just fine, but I'm not sure I can do Halloween on my own."

My children have never worn their Halloween costumes to school before. Their old school(s) did a "Mathquerade" event every year...after school...and well before Halloween. 

While getting my children into costumes before school seemed like a hassle I'd prefer to not to experience, I was happy that this year we were invited to a grand total of zero costume parties before Halloween: no trunk-or-treat or ward party, no school parties, and the one Halloween party didn't require costumes (score). And why did that make me so happy?

Because...who has two thumbs and finished making Halloween costumes last night?

THIS GIRL!

Truthfully, the older girls put their costumes together pretty much on their own (just a little bit of guidance on my part), Zoë landed a lovely hand-me-down costume, and Alexander wore a little monster sleeper, so it was mostly just Benjamin's costume I had to worry about.

Andrew assured me that he'd be around in the morning to help with the kids—and thank goodness for that because little miss Zoë stumbled out of her room feeling cranky and...never quite got over that.

Here she is having some morning snuggles with the A-Team (Alexander and Andrew):



And here are the kids all ready for school:

A pirate, Bellatrix Lestrange, Hiccup

I tried to convince Zoë to put on her poodle costume and join us outside for a picture, but she wouldn't. And, in fact, my dream of getting a picture of all five children in their costumes never happened either. I'm not really sure I even managed to get all five of them in their costumes all at once. *sigh*

I walked to the school to pick Benjamin up today, with both babies in tow (aren't I brave?). The morning kindergarten was having their own special costume parade before the full-school parade in the afternoon, so we packed some lunch to picnic with in the park afterwards so that we wouldn't have to walk home and then back to the school again.

Here's Benjamin blithely walking past us in the hallway (I was calling out his name the whole time but he was in his own little world):


This is how Zoë watched the parade (I told you she was cranky):


Playing at the playground didn't do much to lift her spirits, either...



The best was when she asked to hold Alexander, while sitting at a picnic table over a cement pad, and I told her that she could most definitely hold her brother...if she'd come sit on the grass with Mommy.

The tantrum she threw was epic and culminated (after much screaming and stomping and fist shaking) with her falling flat on her face. I guess she figured she'd be fine because of the extra padding her costume offered (and she was fine) so she just went as stiff as a board and tipped over, flat on her face (garnering quite a bit of stifled laughter from the gathering parade crowd).

She was in a seriously bad mood today, but she did have some happy moments.

I tucked Alexander into the stroller so that I could put her in the swing (she likes swinging) but she quickly changed her mind about swinging. Instead she said, "My push him! My push him!" So I let her push him around in the stroller for a little bit.


She's not very good at steering, so I eventually told her that she'd had a long enough turn (which prompted a fit (pictured above), naturally).


She did, however, genuinely enjoy her favourite slide. It was difficult for her to master in puppy form; she wanted help at the beginning but soon was bravely shouting, "No! Me do own!" at me while climbing the ladder. 


Would you look at that genuine smile?


Benjamin, meanwhile, was happy to pose as Hiccup for a few pictures before going off to play on his own:


He had a great day at school and was so excited to tell me about everything they did. His teacher sent him home with a cauldron of "bone soup" (just some little Halloween candies in a plastic cauldron) and he showed me the recipe that he made up:


He did all the spelling on his own! He's made huge improvements this year for sure. If you can't make out his writing, you need: frog guts, vampire legs, bones, eye balls, and dead rabbits.

Benjamin had a ton of energy today (and I was thrilled when Grandpa asked Benjamin to run some errands with him later in the afternoon because...holy cow...he was driving me bonkers), probably to offset Alexander who did not have a ton of energy today. He slept so hard the whole time we were out.



He even slept through Zoë and Benjamin taking turns holding him!






Finally, finally, the parade made it over to where we were sitting:


We waved to Miriam, the pirate:



And then we hung around to wave to Rachel (aka Bellatrix):



And then Zoë decided that she really needed to go "pee pee potty." Unfortunately, I was in the middle of feeding Alexander (so that we could leave as soon as the parade was over) so I wasn't quite able to stop her before she took matters into her own hands. Sometimes nursing an infant makes me feel so helpless.

Like the other day when Reid asked if the children had been playing in his and Karen's bedroom.

I was like, "I don't think so. I certainly hope not..." but there was a good chunk of time when they were downstairs and I was nursing and they would not respond to me no matter how much I yelled at them to "come here!" Probably because they knew I was somewhat trapped. So...yes, they later admitted they had been jumping on the bed and playing hide-and-seek in there.

Anyway, I was finishing up feeding Alexander (even stopping nursing right away takes a few minutes if you don't want to end up with a screaming baby and milk flying everywhere) while giving Zoë stern verbal commands.

"We're going to head home right now," I said. "Can you hold it? Let me just unlatch your brother and...what are you doing? Zoë, stop. You can't just pull down your pants right here. Let's at least run over to the school. Zoë, no. Zoë. Zoë. Zoë—you are not a boy! You can't just..."

She has this thing about peeing on trees.

Look how pretty this tree is! She didn't pee on this tree. Technically she didn't pee on any tree.
I caught her trying to pee on trees in the backyard a handful of times over the course of the summer. Although I haven't ever caught Benjamin in the act, I'm assuming he's the one who gave her the idea (and that isn't to say that I've never caught him in the act...I've just never caught him in the act here, this summer (I know he's given himself permission to do it, however, because he did it all the time in North Carolina—even once peeing on the front porch—even though we did our best to put an end to the practice)). I've explained to her (multiple times) the mechanics of why girls can't pee on trees like boys can but nevertheless...she's persisted.

So, she dropped her pants and tried to pee on a tree but, of course, she ended up just peeing all over her pants and underwear. Because...she's not a boy.

I had extra underwear in the diaper bag for her, but no pants, so I forced her back into her costume (I swear she was in and out of that thing like fifty times while we were at the park). By the time we got home she was completely zonked.



I didn't want to wake her (because she had spent the entire day yelling at me) so I just wheeled her into the backyard and let her nap (napping outdoors is good for kids).



Alexander needed a nap to recover from the busy outing he had slept through:



So after Grandpa took Benjamin away, I crashed on the couch and we all slept for almost an hour (until Zoë woke up and started banging on the door and screaming for Mama...because for some odd reason she woke up in the backyard all alone).


Soon after Zoë and I were up from our naps the girls came home from school gushing about the fun day they'd had. Rachel was most excited to present this litre of lemonade she'd won:



Sometimes I'm surprised at the things my kids will cart around for half a mile: litres of lemonade, giant pumpkins, hobby-horse dragons.

I can't get them to take their socks upstairs...but carrying a litre of lemonade for half a mile is no problem. Because that makes sense.

Halloween on a weekday is always hard. It's just such a rush after school to get through dinner and then out the door to collect candy. We had our first trick-or-treaters shortly after 5:00 and although I had already called the kids to the table, I don't think we'd even blessed the food yet. And Andrew wasn't home. And it was all kinds of crazy.

But we did manage to get the kids fed and ready for trick-or-treating by the time my backup had arrived. Andrew came home and soon after my mom and brother arrived. Zoë was particularly excited about "A-gack" coming over to help take her trick-or-treating. She insisted on holding his hand pretty much the whole time.


She refused to say "trick or treat" or "thank you" at any house (until we got back to our house and then she shouted, "Trick or treat!" to Daddy), and was always very generous (extremely generous) with herself whenever she was offered a selection of candy. She can count to two, but why bother to do that when everyone laughs when you take a whole handful of treats?

She was apparently rather shy the first few houses and dragged Patrick up to the door with her, but she had loosened up by the time I caught up with them, and would bravely march up to the doors to get her candy (her little tail wagging behind her).

The first thing she said when she saw me was, "Mom! Me have!"

And have she did! So much having of the candy!

Then Benjamin offered to share his loot with me, so she also offered to share. "Me share you! Me share you!"

Benjamin was rather polite. He remembered to say thank you (yes, verbally) at most of the houses. He kept asking us if we thought ordinary houses looked haunted, while completely ignoring (or not noticing) intentionally spooky decorations.

We went to one house that had a smoke machine going and a collage of bats on their porch wall and a green light casting an eerie glow, so I started talking to Benjamin in a spooky voice, saying, "Oooooh! Isn't this spooky?!"

And he was like, "What?"

The very next house was completely undecorated, aside from a solitary pumpkin on the step.

"This house is haunted!" he declared.

I was like, "Sure. This house is haunted. This completely ordinary-looking house is haunted. But the one with all the smoke and the lights and the bats....totally not haunted."

Silly kid.

He and Zoë did have quite the fright, however. We went to one house with a long sidewalk leading up to the door. Their little boy had run to the end of the sidewalk to look for trick-or-treaters (it was seriously a loooooong sidewalk) and ran back to his house to alert the treat-givers that there were, in fact, children coming.

Out pops this man wearing a scream mask. He made all sorts of oogity-boogity noises and Benjamin and Zoë turned on the spot and sprinted back to us as fast as they could. A woman came to the door, chided the mask-wearer and told him to take it off and give the poor babies some candy. It was pretty funny (though I don't think Zoë would agree, Benjamin might).

Zoë really was quite a trouper but eventually looked up at me and said, "No more houses. Home."

So we took her home (more or less (we had to make a few more stops on the way because, as Benjamin said, "Can we go home the getting-more-candy way?")). Benjamin still wanted to stay out a little longer, so I asked Patrick if he wouldn't mind just finishing up our street with Benjamin (my mom and I were more in Zoë's camp), so the two of them headed down the street. Literally two minutes later they were back home.

"That didn't take long," I remarked.

"Oh, I just wanted to do one more house," Benjamin said, bigly.

Here's my mom snuggling Alexander for a minute (after she finished doing the dishes for me):


He was pretty sure he wanted to eat, though, so she didn't get to snuggle him for long:


Rachel and Miriam went trick-or-treating with friends this year, so I don't really know what they did...except that they had fun. Here are some pictures Andrew took of the kids before they went off...

Rachel as Bellatrix:

 

Miriam as a pirate:


Benjamin as Hiccup:


Zoë as a poodle:

 

And here's Alexander as a monster (from our afternoon at the park; he wasn't in costume after dinner):



Here are the four biggest kids together (minus Alexander) before trick-or-treating:


And here are the four younger kids (minus Rachel) after trick-or-treating:


Here's Zoë, with a mouth full of candy, looking for the next candy she wants to sample:


The kids were all excited about helping to give out candy while we waited for Rachel to get back home. They were elated when Riley was one of our trick-or-treaters! He and Zoë did a whole lot of sharing and comparing of treats. Here's the little Lightning McQueen race car driver, himself:


Before we blew out turned off the candles in our jack-o-lanterns, I asked Andrew if he would take a few pictures of Alexander with them. Just because, you know, he's our little Halloween Baby (even if he didn't quite make it on Halloween—happy due date!) so we should probably have a few pictures of him participating in Halloween events.

"Any particular pose you're going for?" Andrew asked.

"Just...cute..." I said.

But Alexander was so not into it.



So maybe we'll try again tomorrow...

Happy Halloween!

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