Wednesday, October 27, 2004

flower child Posted by Hello

long time no blog

OK, so it's been three weeks since my last blog entry, sorry! I'm hoping to stay more current with either shorter entries (more photos and fewer words=good), or else combining sever goings-on into one entry (which is what I've done here).

Flower Child: Here's a photo of C's very cute Halloween costume. He debuted it at the Town's annual Halloween party (hay ride, lots of silly games; he had fun but would have been much more excited if his friend Shannon happened to be there; more on her later).

Regarding his costume, I think it's awesome that he was deciding between being a truck and a flower (field of flowers, actually), and chose the kindler/gentler costume without much coercion from me. It's wonderful that he's made it to age 4.25 with some of the innocence of childhood still intact. Most of his peers will probably be sporting Spiderman costumes or other things less sublime than pink flowers (his neighbor friend Oliver, also 4, is going as The Devil this year I hear; don't think C even knows who/what the devil is). We just hope at his pre-school party on Thursday that no one makes fun of his costume.

Pre-school Update: So I've been the "parent helper" twice in the last couple of weeks (getting our responsibility to do this every 5 weeks fulfilled for a while). Great to be there to see what goes on. Much to our relief there are a couple of boys who are much more of a handful than he is, so his occasional passive aggressive behaviors, etc. aren't considered too bad. He was actually pretty good about letting me be there and still doing his own things most of the time; he didn't even stop me from playing with other children! (a new thing for him to be sure). Now as long as he can be near Shannon he seems very happy. She's a girl whom he's developed a severe crush on as far as we can tell; and one guess as to how this happened is that they both like to take their time with eating snack, and were the last two to finish in the first days of school this year. She seems friendly and reasonably nicely to him so far, but doesn't return his very strong feelings; he obsesses over her and wants to be her shadow. Once Sarah and Shelley peeked in on him through the two-way mirror, only to find him staring off into space, lost and direction-less until Shannon came back from the bathroom with a group of other students. After greeting her he seemed to be OK with going back to his puzzle, confident and secure in the knowledge that she was in the room. We think its great that he has found someone he likes a lot at school, and is actually psyched to go each day so he can get to see her, (he wants to see her outside of school too, but so far we've only set up a play date once; don't want to completely scare her or her parents away from him...), but we want him to branch out and have more than one friend, and obsess less. We've successfully encouraged him to at least think about one or two other kids off and on in a friendly way.

The snacks are still usually bad (sugary and/or artificial). We didn't use to consider pretzels the healthiest snack in the world, but at this point, they are about the best we can hope for. Even the Goldfish crackers are sometimes the new multi-colored ones. Here's an excerpt from the label: "...Blue 2, Red 40, Spices, Red 3…” (*fphwwww!* glad it has those “spices” in there…)
Last week someone actually brought a fudge brownie bite thing baked inside an ice cream cone with ice cream toppings—I kid you not. And it wasn’t even their kid’s birthday, which is supposed to be the exception to the “healthy” rule. We’ve made blueberry muffins sweetened with fruit juice, and soft pretzels so far. At least the pretzels were a hit with some of the kids, including (luckily), Shannon. She ate two.

Baby update: We still anxiously await the arrival of baby Maple (her middle name; first name yet to be determined). Sarah looks about as pregnant as one can get.

Time for bed,

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Apples and orange balloon animals

We've been enjoying traditional Fall activities the last few days. On Thursday I took the morning off to accompany C's pre-school class to the local Pick Your Own apple farm--Indian Ladders--also complete with petting zoo animals and other amenities. About half the parents went along, so it was a good chance to interact with the other parents and get to see his classmates too (well, you know C, so a chance to say "hi" while being pulled far, far away from others anway...). When we first got there and were waiting for the rest of the minivans to arrive (there are probably two or three other households out of the couple hundred that have regular cars like us), a couple of the kids were playing a very tame game of chase/tag (or "grab" in C's case)--though I'm very pleased he was partaking. I started running around with them in the field by the orchard and got several kids really running for 1 or 2 minutes. It was gleeful until his teacher put the k-bosh on the game (very important instructions for apple picking of course). Since his class doesn't get outside much at all and never gets to run, it was fun to be subvert the plan very briefly and let them be kids.

C and I had our own 1/2 bushel to pick of Empire Apples; a lot of the kids helped pick the communal bag full (they're going to make apple sauce next week). He enjoyed picking them with me, especially getting boosted up for the higher ones. Our next D.A. and his children, his son is in C's class, were picking nearby so we got to chat a little in between his cell phone calls. Then we saw the animals and fed them (the kids really enjoyed the turkeys best of all--quite vocal group), and after getting the goat-lick wiped off lots of little hands we had their daily snack. Deluxe that day: crackers, pretzels and "cider donuts"--an Indian Ladders Farm tradition I understand, and cider to drink (also red fruit punch stuff I managed to keep away from C).

Then today we got to walk to a "Fall Harvest Festival" at our local Four Corners business district. There was all the traditional fall activities like a hay ride, pumpkin decorating and balloon animals (well some of them were orange). He liked these things, and while we couldn't convince him to get his face painted yet (never have been able to), he did go in the "action bounce" inflated bounce area and stayed in the whole 2 minutes or whatever. He stayed right by the net windows watching us, but we were proud of him for braving the bounce experience this time.

There were also $1 pizza slices and free cookies--our personal favorite, and other fun activities. Later we went home for a while so Sarah could rest and we could eat some more lunch, then C and I walked to Town Hall for a Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace sponsored event on the peak oil issue and renewable energy alternatives. He helped me set up chairs beforehand, and then he got to talk to Sunny the alternative energy robot! (I'm too tired to explain right now...)

We stayed for the first 40 min. of the (quite boring for him) slideshow. He took lots of upclose photos of the chocolate bars they had there for some reason, and other photos throughout the day. I'll post a couple soon.

On the walk home I asked him what the most fun thing was today and he said the rides on the chair dolleys while we were setting them up, but he also admitted that the reason was because that was the most recent fun thing; I know he enjoyed several of the more typical activities for children earlier in the day.

Enjoy the seasonal activites,