We made jack-o-lanterns for Halloween out by my pool this year, for lack of room inside. The girls did a great job focusing and making quality scary pumpkins.
Halloween fell on a Friday this year. Claire had been asking to have some friends sleep over for several weeks, and we decided to go for it on Halloween. Why not get all the craziness over in one night?
So Claire’s friend Susie came trick-or-treating with Claire and Molly and us parents. Claire’s friend Dylan had trick-or-treating commitments in her neighborhood a few blocks away but joined us afterwards for the sleepover.
We did not expect anything but a lot of sugar- and friend-powered zaniness, and that is what we got. Many giggles were heard from Claire’s room. Her and Molly’s toys were spread all over the floor, so much so that they girls could not find anywhere to put the sleeping bags, so they all ended up sleeping in the hallway around 10:30 pm. Dylan got a lollipop stuck in her hair, which our dog Muffin tried to lick while Dylan was sleeping on the floor. Muffin also stole some of Dylan’s candy, which was on the floor too.
Molly got to sleep on the inflatable mattress in our bedroom, which she always enjoys despite of protests of “no fair” that she had to go to sleep before Claire and her friends.
The next morning there was a lot of running around, and candy wrappers could be found all over the house. The girls proposed to all take a bath together. That was too much; someone was going to get hurt in the tub or just drip water allover the house. And Kit and Molly were leaving for a Pre-K family gathering right around then. So the girls settled for making a haunted house out of cardboard in the back yard. It had fake candles, ketchup for blood, the whole works. They even put together a “play” about the haunted house complete with a storm and lightening.
Claire would spend the afternoon over at Susie’s house, making their time together over 24 hours. They even pushed for a second sleepover at Susie’s that night, or at least dinner. They had to settle for lunch together at Thundercloud with Susie’s dad and then back to much needed rest time with their families.
Well, Halloween doesn’t fall on the weekends that often, and I think we made the most of it!
A few pictures from this year’s Halloween. We did trick-or-treating around the neighborhood for a while, then I took Claire to meet up with her friend in her nearby neighborhood while Kit finished up with Molly near our house.
Minimalist post, only pictures… 🙂
Up to this point, Molly has not cared about or even really noticed the TV, that big black rectangle on the wall that sometimes puts off random pictures and sounds. Even when the TV is showing her beloved Elmo, Molly has been fairly hostile about TV.
Now, not watching TV is a good thing. But like all good things, it should be taken in moderation. Yes, Molly needs to be more moderate about not watching TV. I mean, if she completely boycotts the TV, then we have no simple and easy way to distract her from her frequent rampages around the house, harming herself or the furniture, or just making a mess. In fact, all of this happens almost daily. Now, if Molly could just watch some TV — just a little — then we could all get a little break now and then.
We finally had a break through on this front. The trick is not Elmo or Dora, but the good ol’ Peanuts. Charlie Brow and the gang finally hooked Molly. We don’t know why. But when we broke out the classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown for Claire for Halloween, Molly started actually watching. She actually just sits there with Claire and watches for a little while, maybe 15-20 minutes. It is a sensation. This is literally the first time Molly has really watched TV.
Now, of course one day, maybe not too far away, we may regret ever introducing Molly to the TV. But our experience with Claire in this regard has been pretty positive. She doesn’t watch very much TV, very little on weekdays, more on weekends, mostly due to time constraints. And what she does watch is generally movies provided by me and Kit, usually the same ones over and over, and not much junk TV with all those corrupting ads. In fact, I don’t think she’s really watched a TV show in a couple of years now. Let’s hope Molly follows the same pattern. Then again, for all we know, she may only like The Peanuts, which would be alright too.
Claire continues to be scared by supernatural stories from her friend Sophia at school. Since tonight was a full moon, she was told, she had to do the following to protect herself at bedtime:
- Leave some chopped garlic with butter in her bedroom to ward off vampires (why not toss in some onions and sauté for the start of a tasty recipe?)
- Leave a light on to scare off werewolves
- Leave the door shut to keep out ghosts
On Halloween night at midnight, she is also supposed to run into our room, throw herself under our sheets, and scream, then go back to bed. This will protect her from rampaging trick-or-treaters, I gather.
After making it clear that we do not believe in vampires, werewolves, or ghosts, we let Claire indulge in a little garlic, a small light, and a shut door. But this is for full moons only!
As for her friend Sophia, I think she has a writing career ahead of her, with her convincingly creative mind.
Just in time for Halloween, poor Claire has suddenly developed an intense fear of, well, anything she can’t see, especially ghosts and the “Candy Man”. Claire is scared enough that she literally will not be left alone anywhere in the house. If she is upstairs with me, and I need to go downstairs for something, she comes with me, for fear of ghosts. She feels especially scared in our bathroom, with all of its mirrors. Supposedly the Candy Man lives behind mirrors. If you say his name three times (or is it five?), he will come out of the mirror and kill you. This is a real fear — on some level, she thinks it might actually happen, which is terrifying, if you think about it.
In particular, Claire has had trouble getting to sleep. When we tuck her in, she grasps onto us for protection, and although she tries to fight through the fear, she has ended up in tears and begs to stay in our room. She keeps coming out of her room all shaken up. We have talked with Claire about these fears and how they don’t really make sense, and Claire agrees, but it doesn’t make her fear go away. We joked about ghosts, too. Suppose they were real, which they aren’t. Would a ghost really be scary? They can’t do anything. They just float around like a cloud. We people are the big, scary ones with our big, muscular bodies. Also, Molly would scare a ghost because she is so loud and would easily scream them away, if they existed, which they don’t. Claire wondered if Muffin would protect her, and we said yes, if ghosts were real, Muffin would be scary since she has such big, sharp teeth and can bark. We showed Claire Muffin’s teeth, and she was impressed how scary our teddy bear of a dog can be. After all this discussion, Claire headed to bed feeling good and safe. Ten minutes later, she was up crying and desperate for the safety of our company. She also wakes up in the middle of the nights looking for protection and is very hard to get back to sleep. This is how the fear works.
Claire has apparently been spooked by her classmates, who are spreading rumors of ghosts and ghouls. The stories are probably in good nature, but they really spook Claire. After discussing it with Kit and me, Claire said she understood that ghosts are not real, and she even told one of her classmates she knew her stories were not real, but she would play along for fun. Still, Claire is just spooked. Fear is fear, and it doesn’t always make sense.
After several tricky nights of getting Claire to sleep in her room, we came up with a couple of ways to take the edge off of Claire’s feeling of terror. One night about two hours after putting Claire to bed, she was still awake and scared. She asked for a drawing pad to get her mind off of things. Sure enough, after about 45 minutes of drawing flowers and peace signs, she was asleep, pencil in hand. It did not work quite as quickly the next night. Finally, last night, we decided to let Claire use the secret weapon of falling asleep, at least for Kit and me: audio books. Nothing works quite like audio books to lull you to sleep. We set up an old iPod Nano with Ramona the Brave, narrated by Stockard Channing. In the story, Ramona, like Claire, also struggles with the fear of unknown scary things in her room at night, among other things. Claire and I have listened this audio book in the car many times, mostly on the way to pick up Molly from school. It did the trick tonight. Claire was asleep within minutes. She did wake up once in the middle of the night, though. But she was not scared. She just wanted to know how to adjust the volume on the story.
And this is how Claire got her very first iPod.
This year, for the first time since Claire was a baby, we actually did trick-or-treating in our own neighborhood. In the past, Claire has preferred to go trick-or-treating with friends in their neighborhood, but it did not work out this year on account of it being a Monday and not having time to get something like that together. Claire handled the disappointment of trick-or-treating in the neighborhood with her family pretty well. 🙂
|The dynamic duo working a house|
Accordingly, it was the slowest, most low-key Halloween we have had in a long time. Instead of running and giggling wildly with her friends, Claire, dressed as a fairy-Barbie, paced slowly along with us from house to house, keeping in good spirits but not getting to crazy. In fact, Claire was so slow that she wasn’t even keeping up with Kit and me, and I was walking slowly from an injured knee (trampoline injury). We think Claire was tired, maybe from the recent carnival. Molly, dressed up as a ladybug, didn’t know quite what was going on, be whatever it was was pretty fun. She and Claire go to go to each house together a team, where Claire would ring the doorbell, and they would wait someone to come. While waiting for the candy, Molly tended to turn around a make sure Kit and I were still there waiting behind them. Molly didn’t necessarily know she was even candy, but she did enjoy the process of collecting nice, wrapped objects in her little bag. She did not actually eat any of her candy. We do actually want to fatten her up, but not on Snickers and Blow Pops (yet).
This being a late night close on the heals the carnival, Kit and Molly pealed off around 7:30 to get Molly to sleep and hour late. Claire and I kept going for a while. Once home, Claire got to answer the door for some trick-or-treaters and distribute some candy, a duty which she seemed to prize. Claire strategized about the order in which to consume her candy, two pieces per day, and ten went
|Molly got to wear her costume to school|
|Claire’s very favorite treat was some crazy vampire teeth|
|Claire (and Kit and I) decorated a pumpkin
as Cinderella for a school project