Monday, November 30, 2009

Phase In, Phase Out

As I have mentioned before, I have a few parenting mantras that get me through the rough patches. One such phrase is "no phase lasts forever, it only feels like forever". 

Fortunately, with two kids, the odds are that  both of them aren't going through an extremely challenging phase at the same time.  The fall is usually our best time of year. Both kids like the newness of the new school year.  We often have brief late September lull when the longer school days catch up with them, but with birthdays and Halloween in this period, they seem to regain equilibrium.

This year, however, in about early November, Jackson seemed to become less interested in two things: listening to his parents and playing with his sister. It's a coin toss which was less popular around here.

It felt like every time we had a request, we were exasperated, going to the mat and threatening consequences. He lost computer, TV and his DS at different times and once he lost all of them together.  At one point I took away "everything fun you could ever want to do in the day".  He would taunt me "you still haven't taken away the one thing that is important to me!".  I think that might be oxygen because I took away everything else.  He was going to sleep ridiculously late and the resulting fatigue no doubt was not contributing to harmonious parent-child relations the next day.

Add to this Jackson wanted to play less with his sister. To be honest, we've always been impressed with how much they have played together and even how much Jackson would play games that Sydney wanted. But lately, it's like he matured in his play preferences and suddenly Sydney's suggestions, even when playing Star Wars games, were rejected.

Sydney, Ms. Sensitive, did not take well to this rejection.  We had tears, pouts, feet stomping and slammed doors.

We tried to help the kids find a happy medium, taking turns playing each others games.  But when Jackson is not listening to us and Sydney is in pout mode, productive things just don't happen.  So Husband and I played more games and did more crafts with Sydney, which seemed to fill her void.

We wondered if this was the end of our kids as each other's best play mates? We knew it would happen sometime, but we were unprepared for it.

Then suddenly, this past week Jackson has gone all reasonable on us. He's done his spelling homework without complaint, he's listened to our instructions (and obeyed at least some of the time).  He has shared the computer without going to code red. 

And this weekend, he started playing together with his sister.  A lot. They played spies, made documentaries, dressed up, had a dance contest, created movies on the computer and played board games.  When they needed a snack then went to the kitchen and helped themselves.  In a major freak of excellent timing, this coincided with Husband's last trip of the year, so I could actually enjoyed their being independant while I watched football. (Grey Cup, you know.)

As if to remind me of just how good I had it all Sunday, well after 11 last night,  I went to turn out the hall lights and saw Jackson, still fully clothed, climbing into his bed with a book.

"Um, it's kind of time to be sleeping." I said.

"But I need to read my book". He has a whole schedule where he reads one chapter of Harry Potter and then one chapter of Geronimo Stilton.  He had the latter in his hand.

"Well, maybe you could read that tomorrow? It's 11:20!"

"No it's not. It's 11:18."

"Point is, it's late! It's a school night."

Mr. Reasonable curled up into a ball and cried.  I rubbed his back and hoped he might just fall asleep.  He didn't. He insisted on reading his book and I left exasperated.

Perhaps not unrelated to the late night reading session, this morning he was far less than reasonable. In order to get him to the dentist, I resorted to the Angry Mommy Voice. I told him the dentist would charge if we were late and it would come out of his allowance.  I carried him downstairs and when he started to run back up,  I had to threaten no DS until 2010.

Here's to hoping for the good phase again.  Or else I will have to threaten deferral of putting up the Christmas lights. The J Boy is nothing if he's not into the seasonal decorating.

From the Mouth of the Girlie Goo

Me: [reading a book with Sydney] What do you think will happen to that puppy-- he is playing with the bag of flour?

Sydney: Mommy. Isn't it obvious?
----------------------------------------------
Me: May I help you with that?

Sydney: No, I think I'll persevere.
-----------------------------------------------
Me: Who is your favourite princess?

Sydney: Cindarella. I like Sleeping Beauty too, but she's such a Wannabe.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Me: I'll be right back to help you with the craft. I just have to go to the bathroom.

[5 minutes later I am checking email on the computer]

Sydney: Mommy, what took you so long?

Me: I got distracted.

Sydney: I get distracted by the TV sometimes.

Me: Everyone gets distracted sometimes.

Sydney: You're not setting a very good example for your kids when you get distracted.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sydney [playing Star Wars beside her brother with Storm Trooper in one hand and Luke Skywalker in the other]:  Hello Luke Skywalker. I remember you! I met you in dance class?

Consistency


I know one of the alpha rules of parenting is consistency. And about some things, we are very consistent. The kids  know that they ALWAYS wear seat belts, ALWAYS wash up afte eating before they resume their play activities and Mommy ALWAYS has coffee in the morning.  If they forget any of these cardinal rules, we remind them.

However, we have been less than consistent about the eating of vegetables and the brushing of teeth.  The vegetable thing may be the subject of a whole other confessional blog, but today I'm gonna talk about teeth.

Somehow we have had a hard time making this happen every evening and every night. The mornings can be rushed, the evenings can be wrestling matches and somehow the teeth cleaning thing didn't always happen.

We have toothbrushes in three bathrooms, including the noxious blue kid toothpaste, in the hopes that more opportunity would lead to more brushing of teeth. It worked for a while. 

When Jackson had two mini cavities a couple years ago, our dentist told us that with excellent dental hygiene, he wouldn't have to have them filled before the time those baby teeth fell out.  A year later we were at the pediatric dentist getting metal caps on two teeth.

We redoubled our efforts and made tooth brushing a family priority.  For a while. 

I wondered if we could ever instill better brushing habits in our offspring.

Then suddenly, this fall it happened. The kids are brushing their teeth twice a day. Every day.  And they are dong a good job of it.

I'm not sure why. It may be that I am on the a.m. before school routine 4 days a week instead of the 2 or 3 of the past few years, so it's easier for me. Or that Sydney is older and she remembers on her own sometimes. Or that Jackson has developed his own nighttime routine and has voluntarily put tooth brushing into it.  The more they were doing it, the more we remembered to remind them on the days they forgot.

And I just got home from the dentist and clean bill of tooth health for both of them. 

The only problem with the improved brushing is that  we are spending a lot more on toothpaste and I am now spending a lot more time cleaning bathrooms.  And because they brush their teeth in at least two bathrooms, you will see what I am up against:


Addendum:

Jackson was in the bathrom this evening and I asked if he had finished brushing his teeth.

"No" he responded "I had to clean the sink. Did you see how much tooth paste was all over the sink?"
I assured him I had.

"No really  Mommy. There was a ton."

Who knew he would notice.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Math Brain

I have always had a head for numbers. I always did well in math, it has served me well being a tax lawyer and most especially balancing my cheque book.

Yesterday I was in Jackson's class for "not-so-noisy-math". A few parents play math games with the kids with a view to increasing their facility with numbers.

The game of choice yesterday was rolling dice, making two digit numbers and adding them up. So eventually they are adding up a 3 digit number and a 2 digit number.

The grade three's had a white board to work out the answers or they could use a hundred's chart. I had to do it in my head. Generally this was not too hard for me as the grade three triple digit addition is emerging so I had time to work out the answer. But one girl in the class was pretty quick and did it in her head. She was adding 126 and 43.

"169" she said as the teacher watched on.

"Not quite" I said.

"159?" she tried.

"Yes!" I was impressed with this kid's skills.

But it didn't seem right. "I think that's right", I said, trying to remember what numbers she was adding so I could double check.

"Actually, I think it is 169" the teacher said.

Apparently my addition skills are also emerging.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Perfect Number: 8

The J Boy has officially lived 8 years on the planet. Sydney and I began his day by singing happy birthday to him. He gave us both a warm hug tht melted my heart. He gave me a great gift in that he not only complied with all my unreasonable morning requests (get dressed, brush your teeth) but he failed to notice that we left his box of brand new Star Wars toys at Oma and Opa's last night so we had no extra curricular meltdowns.

He of course spent his day at school but I brought cookies for the class to celebrate and he received many well wishes from his classmates and teachers.

The birthday boy was most excited about our family dinner at Red Robin's tonight as he knew he was getting a new DS game for his birthday. The reason he knew this is that the last few weeks when he's been particularly obstinate about any number of issues I have threatened to take away his DS and added "I happen to know that you're getting a new game for your birthday and if would be a real shame if you couldn't play it for a whole week". I have milked that one significantly.

Yesterday he started a casual cross examination over which game it might be. After a dozen "no comments" I told him that it wasn't a game that he had talked about. Which was a blatant lie. It's one he talked about very much: Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story.

Today I could not resist the urge to wind him up further.

"Jackson, wouldn't it be cool to have a DS game where you could actually grow a garden? And then after you grew all the vegetables, you could make a salad?"

That gave him pause for concern. Fortunately for me Jackson had forgotten very similar hi jinx that I had pulled on Sydney's birthday.

Later I let it "slip" that the game was "Garden Mania", and then berated myself that I could not keep a secret. I lamented that I would never be a spy.

I did reassure him and Daddy and I checked out the game and it was a great one for 8 year olds.

"Do you know how the game works? Are you sure it's good for 8 year olds?" he queried.

Later he astutely asked me "did you read about the game from the people that made it or the interviewers?" The kid knows a thing about impartiality vs. self interested promotion.

"The reviewers", I reassured him.

All the subtrefuge was all worth it:
Dinner was quiet as Sydney tried to learn as much as she could:
A little birthday dessert:

The J Boy.
Then:

And now:

Eight Years

For eight years I have been a mother.
For eight years I have had another human being (and then two) relying on me for
food, shelter, love, acceptance
and to keep all their fingers and toes attached.
To that end, I have developed
eyes on the back of my head to see who did what to whom,
an extra ear to hear what is really going on in the back seat of the van,
arms that can carry backpacks, jackets, art projects, snacks
and Star Wars figures all without losing any light sabres and
a sixth sense to know who needs a hug and who needs an attitude adjustment.
When all that fails, I have made it up as I went along.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Halfway to Driving a Car

Jackson will turn 8 on Monday. Today was his big birthday party. Last year I researched, phoned and negotiated to try to get a party in place for the J Boy and just barely managed to sneak it in a movie birthday party at the end of November.

This year, I took no prisoners and started talking enthusiastically about a movie party to Jackson in October. Fortunately the good folks at Teletoon were my unwitting accomplices. They have been playing a trailer for the movie Planet 51 since Mother's Day. It's pretty much your 8 year old dream movie: aliens, slapstick humour and toxic pee. Jackson postured a little, and pretended he was considering a bowling birthday for about a day before he bit from the Mommy apple. About a nanosecond later, I had the party booked.

We even worked on the guest list early. I had thought this might be the year to go with maybe just 3 friends, but he had other ideas. So we invited his 3 cousins in his approximate age range and a half dozen kids from school.

I went simple with the cupcakes:

I assembled the goodie bags. In shameless gender stereotyping I went with Star Wars for the boys (purchased early and on sale!):

And crafts for the girls.

Jackson was pretty excited:...and enjoyed every minute.

Another 8 years and he can drive himself the the movie theatre.

Which will be nice because escorting 11 kids from party room to popcorn stand in a crowded theatre with a bathroom stop for 5 of the 11 is a little nerve racking if you're hoping to still have 11 kids at the end of the movie. At the end of the day, there seemed enough parents for kids, so I'll call it a resounding success.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Away

Top 5 Things I Loved About Being Away:

1. No after dinner chores or spelling practice. In a cruel twist of fate, Jackson had easy spelling words this week.

2. A little income tax, a lot of coffee and a few laughs with colleagues from across the country. We were generally NOT laughing about the Income Tax Act.

3.Cheap wine can be purchased at gas stations in Quebec. I pilfered wine glasses from the bar so I could carry a $3 glass of wine to dinner pretending I paid $15 for it at the lobby bar.

4. Personalized TVs on both flights. I watched a great movie each way. How I used to love movies not made by Disney.

5. Husband had the kitchen as clean or cleaner as when I left. How come I can't do that when he goes away?

When I left we had all just heaved a collective sigh of relief that Halloween was over. I have returned to the pre-Christmas season. Lights are up on houses, Christmas carols are playing loudly in stores and my kids are practicing for their Christmas concert at school which comes with the costume acquisitions. I have already acquired an elf hat for Sydney as instructed. I await the instructions on just how to dress Jackson up like a snowflake and hope that this will not require my looking for white pants for him in December.

But before we get to Christmas, we have an almost 8 year old who wants to party.

Monday, November 16, 2009

S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G

Spelling is very important in the world of grade three, apparently. Jackson did very little spelling in grade 1, as is the trend apparently. Grade 2 he was given a poem one week and in a week he was expected to write it out when dictated. But we were never told how he did on these weekly adventures so it didn't really seem like a spelling test. And truth be told there were usually only a few words Jackson needed to learn.

This year the proverbial gloves are off. Jackson gets a list on Monday and a test on Friday. The words the lad is coming home with are hard core. Coniferous. Responsibility. I barely know how to spell those without my old pal spellcheck.

So we have 4 nights to accomplish this incredible feat of learning spelling words. Jackson, to put it mildly, is not a rote learner. He won't, as many of his classmates might, write out the words 5 times a night and have them down pat.

We must find a thinking boy's way of remembering that it's c-a-m-e-r-a- not c-a-m-a-r-a, even though it kind of sounds like the latter. It goes like this: you take pictures using your eye; eye starts with E, so it's camEra.

We look for words inside of words. There is an "is" in divison. An "ear" in learning.

And sometimes we just try to pound in his head that "shun" at the end of the word is never spelled the way it sounds. It's usually "tion". Unless it's "sion".

Jackson was struggling this week with coniferous. He started by spelling it canefirus. We started by talking about coniferous trees and that they have cones so the word must start with CON. There is an IF inside the word. Then with sheer determination I drilled into his head that there is an ER in there. But the OUS eluded both of us. Each time he spelled coniferus. I would correct his U-S by saying loudly O-U-S. I did it so often that I told him to just hear in his head my yelling O-U-S. That seemed to work.

The past couple weeks Jackson has added some d-e-f-i-a-n-c-e into the spelling sessions. Though he wants to learn the words theoretically, he just doesn't want to stop doing whatever his is doing (current favourite activity torturing his sister) long enough to work on i-n-v-i-s-i-b-l-e.

So he lost some privileges and I found some new grey hairs (they're gone now) and we battled through two weeks of spelling with good success on the weekly tests.

This week Daddy will have the privilege of battling the spelling monster. If it works out I might just fake an injury next week.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Road Trip

I am going on a road trip. A work conference. Four sleeps away from the homestead and the pressures of spelling practice, the obligations of the kitchen and the mania of our weekly schedule. Sounds like heaven even if I will have to have my head in the Income Tax Act for 4 days.

Husband is mosting filling in for me. He'll work from home, and some shorter days at that. He'll be both of us. To assist him in this feat, I prepared notes for each day I'll be gone.

Husband is very hands on with the kids, and has no allergy to the day-to-day hard work of running a household. But certain things I take care of all the time. I work half time so it's part of the deal. I work halftime to make the family life less nutty so I handle certain things.

So I am reconciled to either nightly hour long phone conversation with Husband to remind him when library books are due and which days are gym days OR making long lists of things to do each day. I figure the latter will be the easiest on both of us.

And so I have a day-to-day plan, which is plenty complicated. Activities, car pools and even some childcare for my friends' kids (we trade each week).
But of all weeks, the following only-happy-once-a-year are falling in the only 4 days I am away during the week all year:

1. Stuffie day at school for Sydney. MUST remember to solicit her agreement as to which stuffie and ensure it goes in backpack and remind Sydney that it is there (She tends to forget something is in her backpack and then tells us that WE forgot).

2. Jackson's class is performing on Tuesday at an assembly. This requires "funky clothes". That is negotiating them and getting him to put them on.

3. Swimming lesson registration. Well this we do 3 times a year but Wednesday registrations open and this is a must-do on that day. This requires figuring out when lessons will fit in our schedule, finding our internet access numbers plus actually remembering to register around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

4. Confirmation of Jackson's birthday party. A mere day after I return we have Jackson's birthday. At a theatre. Because they only set the movie times on Monday night we won't know the exact time. And when may bump the party plus or minus an hour and some kids may not be able to come. So email must go out informing of the time and responses must be monitored and then the final number given to the theatre.
5. Sydney need to have her costume measurements done for her dance class. This is for the year-end recital, which is of course just around the corner on June 23.
So I have made the master list. I have the special clothes, copies of emails with details and swimming schedules at the ready for Husband to make a go of it. I'm sure he'll do great.

Fortunately I am going to a gorgeous resort in the wilderness. And they have a spa. And I have 10 hours of flying time to make lists for when I get back.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sensitive

If there is one word to describe our Girlie Goo that is it. She is of course every bit as complex as the rest of the human race is, but sensitive covers a lot of ground.

Because she is sensitive, she wants to please and not get in trouble. She is generally very obliging. You combine this with her excellent memory and she will actually remember to occasionally bring her dishes to the counter. And if she doesn't she'll apologize for it.

When it comes to parenting a sensitive child we are very mindful of her seemingly fragile state. Even the slightest tenseness in my tone and she'll accuse me of yelling. Or say she is afraid.

Just today, the kids were bickering about something. I went to the family room to ensure things did not escalate to where any furniture might be thrown across the room.

Jackson immediately gave his side of the story (not that I asked). It was incomprehensible. "Sydney and I ... and then she wanted the guy ... but the yo-yos ... and I told her it was dangerous. You know ... because of the guys."

Sydney did not hang around long enough to give her side of the story, or to see if I was even listening. She stomped upstairs wailing and expelling large tears. I take it she disagreed with Jackson's version of events.

At school, she is keen not to offend, does not like being called out and is an extremely obedient and conscientious student. However, she is in the middle of a turf was between 2 girls on the playgrounds at lunch hour. Both girls are older than her and have strong personalities. Unfortunately, she is the turf that is being fought over.

Girl 1 asks her to play and she obliges. Girl 2 comes up and takes her away and she is unable to say no to Girl 2 and feels she has wounded Girl 1. Just this weekend, she made an "I'm-sorry-will-you-forgive-me" card when this scenario happened (again) last week and Girl 1 burst into tears. It's all the more complicated because the 2 competing playmates, appear to be mortal enemies. As I said, she is the turf in turf war.

Husband and I struggle with how to deal with all of this sensitivity. She is who she is. We cant jump in and protect her from life, tempted as I may be. We can't change her. But honestly, I wish we could toughen her up a little bit. Let her roll with the punches a bit more. Not take everything to heart.

Last week Sydney's teacher, asked to see me. Mrs. K really understands Sydney and told me she has a daughter (now in her twenties) who has a very similar personality to Sydney.

Mrs. K told me what happened in class with a tear in her eye: "We have a boy in our class who has been having a hard time paying attention and keeping quiet in class. Yesterday he was going around the room and was really trying hard to be a good student and friend and he was asking the children if he could help them clean up. Student after student declined his offer. Sydney saw him ask again and again and she went to the other side of the room to ask him if he could help her clean up. She knew what this boy needed was to help that day."

I know we'll have more hurt feelings and tears and upset in our future. But now I don't want to toughen her up at all. She is sensitive to others in a way I will never be. And the world needs more like her.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Not Up and Down

A few weeks ago I was driving the kids home from an activity and the kids were engaging in one of their favourite past times - comparing family members.

They love to rank the four of us in just about anything: whose birthday is earliest in the year, who owns the most princesses, who likes cleaning the house the most. (Mommy always ranks the highest on that one.)

On this occasion they were talking about who was the smallest in the family.

"I'm the smallest, then Jackson, the Mommy, then Daddy" Sydney proclaimed.

"No" Jackson corrected, "it goes Sydney, me, Daddy, Mommy."

"I'm the OLDEST. Daddy is the biggest."

"Daddy is the tallest, but you are the biggest."

"Daddy is taller than me, and he weighs more than me. How can I be the biggest?"

I can't believe we are having this conversation.

"Daddy is tallest. That is up and down. But BIGGEST is side to side. And you are the biggest side to side." He added for emphasis "Mommy I'm not talking up and down, I'm talking side to side."

Just for the record, that is not true. And even if it was, those are childbearing hips and should hardly count.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Domestic Engineer: The Final Frontier

Purge-atory. The basement Where all the stuff I wanted out of every other room in the house ended up.You can see the enormity of the task.

This is our rec room. It has mostly been a toy graveyard for the 3.5 years we haved lived in this house. The most popular played-with toys have always had their official and mostly theoretical homes in a) the family room b) the upstairs play room or c) the kids' rooms. In actual fact these alpha toys have been in the middle of the floor in any room of the house so Husband or I can trip over them and I have an excuse to be exasperated. The toys in the rec room were the lesser played with ones or ones I was too lazy to purge.

With the great purge of 2009 in full swing, we have removed virtually all toys from the kids' rooms. We've put a small subset of the popular toys in the upstairs playroom along with the games and have one small basket of "character" toys in the family room. My plan was to create a fun playspace in the basement that is organized so the kids will know where the toys are and, importantly, KNOW WHERE TO PUT THEM AWAY.

Husband agreed to take the kids to a birthday party on Sunday afternoon so I could get to the task in seclusion.

Honestly it was hard to know where to start. I brought out a recyling box, an enmormous garbage can and designated one side of the room as "give-away". It was slow work at first, but after an hour I have made great headway.

It bordered on ridiculous how far spread out certain games and toys were. I found marbles EVERYWHERE. I had neither had any idea how many marbles we owned, nor what the kids would ever want to do with so many of them.

It was a bit of a trip down memory lane. I came across the colourful woodens blocks that we gave Jackson for Christmas when he was 13 months old (do not ask me why THAT is using up memory space in my head as opposed to something useful like remembering to send Sydney's planner to school today). It came with 100 blocks. I was borderline obsessive-compulsive counting the blocks every time we played with them. If I found only 99, I would look for the lost sheep.

One time I brought the blocks to my parents as we were going to spend the day. My father observed my neuroses and actually went to his workshop and made an extra one, thinking it would drive me crazy when one day I counted 101!

Well I counted on Sunday and found only 92 and that only slightly bothered me. But I found about 5 more spread throughout the basement and after almost 7 years, I think losing about 4 of them is entirely respectable.

I also found something else I used to count daily: Jackson's Hot Wheels cars. I used to know how many and what colour. If I only found 16 of 17 I could immediately scan and realize the YELLOW firetruck was missing.

As long as I'm making counting confessions, you should know that I also used to count crayons. Yes, we had so few that I used to count them. I theorized that if I did not leave a stray purple crayon on the floor, a certain creative someone (see photo) could not adorn the walls with it while I was checking email one day.

You won't be surprised to hear that I did all this before Sydney was born. I was at home full time and was not about to put all those hours of daylight to any real productive use, like keeping the house clean and tidy. No I kept track of stuff.

Keeping track of stuff is one of the many things I gave up when I had a second child, like good personal hygiene and any semblance of sanity.

(Photos of the final room, which Jackson has renamed "Fun Hous", when it's completed. You know I'll need to brag).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Farewell October

Well Halloween is in the books for another year. Halloween being on Saturday meant about 11 hours for the kids to wait to trick or treat. They actually didn't ask about it much but in the morning they were VERY hyper. Especially Jackson. And Jackson's ability to hear is inversely related to his hyperactivity level. So I asked him no less than 25 times to get dressed for skating lessons this morning. I stopped counted after that.

We thought we'd do something fun and kill a few hours in the afternoon. We went to a nearby university where they were having "Science Spooktacular". Physics and chemistry with a Halloween theme.

I always hear from people going to these kinds of family events: "We took the kids to the renaissance fair on the weekend. They loved the costumes and the play and the sword fighting!"

Whenever we attempt these events I always feel we line up for 3 times as much time as we actually do anything fun. One ill-fated Canada Day trip we joined a very long face painting lineup we realized that the face painter had gone for lunch and we were waiting for him to come back. The line up only moved when people realized the lineup was for nothing and left. Then we lined up for 30 minutes so the kids could take 2 slides down an inflatable slide and then we went home.

So off we went to see some Spooktacular Science but not before some terse words for Jackson who refused at the last minute to go as he had become engrossed in a Scooby Doo Halloween episode.

We arrived and saw professors and students were demonstrating science experiments. A lot of it would have been quite interesting but you couldn't get very close to see or hear what was going one. At one table we waited long enough for Sydney to get to the front only to be mid experiment. "Why do you think this egg is floating?" How would we know. We were at the back when you started.

They had a one hour show and we went to get seats about 30 minutes early. Husband tried to convince the progeny that they could look at some other experiments while Mommy saved the seats but they insisted on staying. They burned through all the snacks and water I had on me and finally the show started. It was 5 minutes in when Jackson put his head down on my shoulder. I thought he might have been bored as the narration left a little to be desired in terms of capturing the imagination of kids.

No. He was hungry. He had an enormous lunch and snacks. He whined and moaned and begged to leave. Then Husband remembered they were handing out free popcorn out in the hall so I went and lined up.

We saw some very cool fiery pumpkins and some balloons explosions and some hair stand on end. It was okay. But I won't be bragging about it.

And this evening was the trick or treating. Jackson was a little testing over a number of things. (his trick or treating bag, my taking a picture) but was very pleased with his haul of candy.

And so here are our two trick or treaters:
And sorting their candy.

I wonder where they get that from?

Oh and we had 55 kids, 2 more than last year. They were fairly evenly distributed through out the evening with the biggest bubble in distribution between 6:30 and 7:00.