Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Seemed like a good day for a post and to play catch-up. Halloween for us began with the twins' dance class the tuesday before the 31st, which they were to attend in costume. Kate chose to be a dragon this year, and Allison wanted to be a white fluffy cat. We were the first ones to class that morning and as the other little girls (and their Stepford-wife-ish moms) showed up I began to sense a problem.
"Ooooooh," one mom said, with one eyebrow slightly raised, "such...interesting costumes. Cute." No one else said anything but I could see the universal slight to moderate disapproval, mostly at my ruining the group photos of their kids in class that day, I suppose. Seems it was obvious to every other mom that when the ballet teacher asks little girls to come to class in costume, that means a PRINCESS costume. Of course. Duh. I guess we kind of killed the theme.
So the dragon and the cat danced awkwardly with the court of elegant, royal little ladies. I swear I'm the most ill-suited person on earth to be raising three girls.
We visited a pumpkin patch and the girls made their choices and enjoyed a petting zoo there.
Then they got down to the business of designing and carving their pumpkins, which involves me doing about 90% of the project in past years. But this year I decided to hand the whole thing over to them, only assisting when they asked. It turned out they really didn't need much help. I carved the lids from each one and opened them up, but they did the scooping and drew the faces and did nearly all of the sawing as well.
Marvelous results, just when we have no front porch on which to display them. Ah well, they decorated the kitchen counter pretty nicely for a few days, and just imagine how skillful the girls will be next year.
On Halloween day all the girls brought their costumes to school for their respective costume parade festivities, and that evening we brought the girls back to our street to trick-or-treat since I don't see that going over as well or being as fun in an apartment complex.
The girls are all pros at trick-or-treating now. Well...they certainly have the general concept down, but their doorbell etiquette needs work. Kate always yelled "Trick or treat!!!" after receiving the candy. And at each house each of them rang the doorbell one after the other, and repeatedly, until it was answered. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say I don't think our neighbors miss us very much.
On november 4th, John drove Erin to school and she apparently reminded John that it was in fact election day and he needed to vote, and he should vote for John McCain. This surprised him because neither of us discussed any election-related anything with her at any time previously. When I picked her up that afternoon she asked me if I voted.
"Yes, of course." I answered.
"Who did you vote for? McCain or Obama?"
"Neither. I voted for someone else."
"Huh? No, I mean in the real election. Who did you vote for?"
"What??? Is he a real person?"
Holding back laughter, and guessing she isn't the only person to have that question about him, "Yes, he's real."
"But you were supposed to vote for John McCain or Barack Obama."
"No, they're just the two candidates that raised the most money and are the most popular, but there are several other people running too and I like someone else better."
"Oh. Well, I voted for John McCain."
"You had an election too?"
"Yes, in our class we voted and John McCain won, but for my village Barack Obama won."
"So you learned about these candidates in class? Did they give you information about them so you could decide who you wanted to vote for?"
"Yes. McCain is from Arizona and Obama is from Illinois."
"I see. And why did you vote for McCain?"
"Because his name is John--like daddy's!"
And oddly enough her reasoning doesn't differ much from the nonsensical, nonspecific "hope and change" mantra that so many people have been parroting these last many months, which always makes my head feel like it's going to explode. At least Erin wasn't reaching toward the sky, crying, and gasping for air.
This week, John's sister Sue and her husband and two little daughters are visiting. Since I am home tuesdays and today was a school holiday we decided to take all the girls to a large local science museum which was just renovated and reopened. It occurred to me last night that it will probably be a popular destination today, but I didn't realize that it would be quite this popular. I guess I should be proud of the shared sense of importance of scientific discovery among my greater community, but I kinda wished everyone else kept their kids home today to watch Andy Griffith reruns instead. I mean, it's not like that would be a bad use of time.
This was the scene right at 9:30am, opening time.
Once inside there were some really cool things to see, but unfortunately most places and exhibits were so packed that there was no hope of getting close to them. The rainforest experience area, whatever that was, had a 2 hour wait to enter. We could get nowhere near the tide pools, or the penguin area to watch feeding time. It was crazy. It was hard to even walk around and keep track of the kids in the crowd. I'm used to my tuesday and thursday excursions being easy and uncrowded.
Every now and again we'd find ourselves with the red seas of people parted and I could get a few pictures, but not at most places. It was also so LOUD that I could barely hear the girls talking when they were walking right next to me. Sue and Derik, who live in smallish-town Washington and aren't used to crowds like this ever, got frustrated more quickly than I did and they left right after lunch. I thought perhaps the crowds would die down in the afternoon but by 2:00 the lines to get into the museum were still hundreds long, so we also bailed.
Clearly it's a very cool place and I want to go back and see all that we missed.
On the way home we passed by an area I've seen many times before and given that this is Veterans Day and I had no place to even fly a flag, I decided to make a quick detour to acknowledge the reason that made visiting a museum on this particular tuesday such a bad idea.
I thought we'd all get out and maybe take some pictures but the girls got a little too excited as we drove through the grounds.
"What ARE all of those things?"
"I wanna get out and jump over them!"
"I wanna pick them up!"
"I wanna knock them over!"
Now, it's not like the place was crawling with visitors but there were a few here and there and I could just see their reactions as my kids got out and started playing tag and leapfrog right there in the cemetery. So we stayed in the car and I took some photos from there.
I explained that this was Veterans Day, who veterans are, including the veterans in our family, and who these veterans were. We've talked about death briefly before, a few times, as the subject came up. They started asking questions, then asking stranger questions.
"Okay, so, dead people can't move, but can they move other dead people?"
Time to go.