Thursday, October 31, 2013

Storybook Witch, Woody, Zombie, Pirate & Buzz

Those were our costumes. Woody & Buzz were of course a duo. When I first showed Judah the Buzz & Woody costumes he just lit up. He carried them around & wouldn't give them back. Tonight, when it was finally time to wear them out, he refused to put on Woody. We didn't get it on him until we got to Gramma & Papa's house! Once dressed he was extremely enthusiastic & continued to be the entire night through.

Buzz had no idea that the highlight of his costume would be inflatable wings. In fact, he didn't even know he was going to be Buzz until today. In fact, he didn't even know he was dressing up for Halloween until today! He rarely does. This afternoon I told him to pick up a white t-shirt on his way home for his costume. That sort of spilled the beans. He didn't see his costume until minutes before we left to go trick-or-treating. His words when he came out fully dressed: "Next year I'M going to pick my costume!" haha. We just happened to see an adult Woody with his Buzz Lightyear son while trick-or-treating. They had on the opposite costumes while walking in the opposite direction on the opposite side of the street!

Halloween was as usual, rushing to get out of the house, one trick-or-treater comes by, arrive at Grandma & Papa's, eat & trick-or-treat! Grandma & Papa had the inside & outside of their home looking particularly festive & ghoulish this year. There was even scary zombie music playing below the stairs that lead to the front door. A lit jack-o-lantern that the kids had carved with Gramma & Papa was illuminating the entrance. Inside there were spider webs strewn across the blinds!

Willow was pretty serious throughout the trick-or-treating. This was our best record yet for trick-or-treating distance walked. Sebastian had half a bucket full! We made some videos & took some night time photos. The usual family photo in front of the mantle at Gramma & Papa's was also as usual. It's the same picture every year, just different costumes & taller kids. Scott & I are each holding onto a child, pulling them back into the picture, Sebastian is standing beside Scott, posing appropriately for his costume, while Judah & Willow are cartoonish blurs as they try to escape. We discovered this year that if we take photos outside while trick-or-treating the kids will stand still! Who knew!! I doubt we will break the family tradition of stressful Halloween photo opp though. It always feels necessary.

It was a very eventful evening. Thankfully there is no school tomorrow!

This morning I volunteered in Sebastian's class for the first time. It was fun getting to know some of the other parents. As soon as the kids stepped into the classroom they went head first into their craft project. They knew where to get all of the items needed & exactly what to do. Obviously this was part of their daily routine. They colored 6 pictures in 3 seconds, each one a stage of pumpkin growth. They quickly cut them out, looked at the example picture at the back of the room, glued them on in the same order as the example & threw them all on a table. I actually heard one of the students asking the teacher what he had just made. My job was to snatch up the pile of "art", make sure the picture order was correct on each one and that names were visible. After that I was instructed to staple them down the wall in the hallway. I did this quickly because I wanted to get back in, help out & more importantly observe Sebastian & his class.

I'm sure this routine that the kids have down pat has helped bring up Sebastian's comfort level quite easily. At his old school he was always worried about what he was supposed to be doing, which made it difficult for him to work independently & also to just be himself. With the Spanish classroom, the routine gives them more time to work on learning Spanish with less time used up trying to make sense of their day.

After the craft they rushed through songs, story time, reciting the Spanish alphabet and more. The kids were loud & confident in their singing & answering questions.

Finally the dance was over & we started the stations. Each table was a different craft. I worked the candy corn station. The kids put the appropriate number of candy corn on each numbered box & then ate them or took them home. This was barely preschool level work, but at least they got good candy, right? The poor gluten free kid got jelly beans, because apparently candy corn is grown in a field? At another station kids were carving real pumpkins behind a bookshelf where no one else could see them. One volunteer was monitoring this activity. As  many as probably 6 kids were carving at a time. So that was a great idea. The challenging task of stringing large beads on a strand of yarn was happening at one volunteer's station. Each kid was handed a sheet of paper with a big skull on it at the station behind my table. They decorated the skull. One station was matching (seriously??). A lot of the volunteers brought in their babies & toddlers. Much to no one's surprise, these little ones were accomplishing some of the station activities. The teacher ran the pumpkin pudding station, where each child got a very short turn using the mixer, and that's all they did there.  But they DID end up with a cupful of pudding covered in whipped cream, so that was good. As they left class, they each received a cupcake with 2 inches of icing on top, along with a small cup of apple cider. This was their "snack". All in all it was a really fun day for them & a great opportunity for me to get to know some of Sebastian's classmates while getting a taste (literally!) of what he does in class.

The Kindergarten morning flew by. Unfortunately I had absolutely no clue about the day Judah was having at the other end of the building. His teacher told me upon pick-up that he had not been himself all day. Apparently his class time was spent screaming, crying, & hiding under tables. When he saw me arrive he was in tears as he ran up to me. I snatched him up into my arms. Why didn't they call me??! His teacher KNEW I was there! After she told me about Judah she asked how volunteering for Kindergarten had gone. She had not forgotten I was there. I could have just walked over! It was upsetting. And the teacher had no idea why Judah was falling apart. She said he was wrestling with some other kids at one point, so maybe that was it. She acted surprised when I asked who was working with him today. Very, very frustrating & just absolutely unnecessary. They could have called me, but instead allowed him to endure hours of misery. It makes me really upset just thinking about it. We will bring it up at the meeting.. along with other issues.

It was so sad- Judah was trying to tell me what had happened that day as soon as we started walking to the car. I couldn't understand a word, but even a stranger would know that was what he was talking about. I strapped him into his car seat & stood there until he was done talking, listening desperately for any word that could give me a clue as to what happened during class. I couldn't get anything from his words.. but someday I will know.

Something else that really bothered me (in case you haven't guessed it), was the sugar intake in Sebastian's class. There were probably 5 other parents volunteering, none of which seemed to have any problem with their child being fed handfuls of sugar all morning. I encouraged kids at my station to take the candy home & share it with their family. Sebastian actually did bring his home to share with Willow. End of the day snacks are typically sugar as well. We are going to talk to her about this at our parent/teacher conference coming up in a couple of weeks. There are 30 students in his class. What if one of them has parents who want their kid to eat healthy? It's kind of astonishing that this hasn't happened yet.

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