Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkins & Projects: Weekend in Review

This weekend I had two things on my mind: pumpkins and Ethan's first school project. We had a birthday party at a pumpkin patch to attend on Saturday, a plan to carve pumpkins in the afternoon and then bake pumpkin bread as a thank you for the building custodians who helped a few weeks ago with the preschool rummage sale. Along with all of that, it was Ethan's weekend to bring his class mascot, a plush little butterfly hand-puppet, home with him, with the instructions that we take a bunch of pictures of super fun things that Ethan did with "Marty the Monarch," put them all into the class journal and write a little narrative about each picture.
So basically the type of weekend that screams, "This is exactly what you expected parenthood to be all about!!! Parties, fun! family! bonding!, baking, artsy school projects!! You will rock this! YAY!"

Except. Not so much with the rocking this. At least as far as the school project went. See, those "you are the best parent in the universe" moments that play out in your imagination are often altered in their real life translation by, well, the child involved in the scenario. Not in a bad way, per se, but in a way that will inevitably make you less of the WonderParent you imagine yourself to be. You will grow impatient, the child will refuse to "cooperate" (and by "cooperate" I mean read your mind and do exactly as s/he does in your Normal Rockwell imagining of idyllic scenario of parenting perfection you envision), the whole thing will fail to live up to your not-even-really-achievable expectations and you'll likely end up feeling at one point disappointed, and at another, like an ass.

See, for weeks, Ethan's been carrying on about Marty coming to stay with us. Oh, what fun we were going to have!!! I envisioned pumpkin patches, Marty "helping" us carve pumpkins, Marty at the park, Marty at the birthday party---nothing transcendent, like Marty Goes to the Moon or anything like that. Just Marty Spending the Weekend With Ethan--Rockwell has a painting of that, right?

But a strange thing happened on Friday afternoon when Ethan took temporary custody of Marty and his traveling sack. He refused to have anything to do with Marty. Didn't want to take him to the park. Didn't want to take him out of the car for the birthday party. Didn't want to bring him back into the house after the birthday party, when we were carving pumpkins. It wasn't until this morning that, panicked we'd be returning Marty and his "what I did this weekend" journal without any evidence of having done ANYTHING this weekend, I sent Husband and Ethan to the park, with Marty, with instructions not to return until we had some good pictures.

Really, really not my finest parenting moment. More of an "irrational harpy" moment if we're being honest. We then carted Marty with us everywhere, lunch, Pinkberry's, home--I lit the pumpkins we carved yesterday and had Ethan sit with them, Marty puppet in hand. Then we printed the pictures out, Ethan glued them down on the paper and I hand-wrote his narrative by each picture. I fought my every urge to just do it all myself and let Ethan purple-glue stick the pictures to the notebook (trying to ignore the fact that the people who had Marty the week before us had their pictures professionally developed and put their pages together like they were the undisputed scrapbook champion of the world, complete with wavy cut edges for every picture). When he finished dictating what I should write for each picture, I gave it to him to sign him name. At least it is what passes for his name at this point.

Some people took Marty the Monarch on a whale watch on their weekend. We took Marty to Target. Naturally.

Clearly Ethan's in a super mood. Just right for entertaining plush stuffed hand puppet guests.

He insisted on wearing his DIY green halloween mask, complete with purple and black glitter stickers. I *heart* Michaels. He tried it on Marty, but was disappointed by the tiny proportions of Marty's noggin.


The project-in-progress:

master of all things purple glue-stick....

signing his name....

and indulging crazy mama by holding up the final page of the finished product.

In addition to the first class project, this weekend we got ourselves geared up for Halloween; we have a party to go to next weekend at a friend's house and we are dressing ourselves up, at Ethan's request, as Yoda (Ethan), Obi Wan & Princess Leia. Just when I was at a complete loss and ready to go online to order us 2 brown bathrobes (one large adult, one small child) and one white bathroom (large adult), we happened upon a party supply shop that had what we were looking for. Sort of. They had the Jedi costume I can whip into Yoda with a little bit of green face paint, an Obi Wan Jedi Master robe and a child's large Princess Leia that happened to fit me (WTF?!) except for the wig, which is so tiny my 4.5 year old son can't get it to fit over his head. I cannot get my brain to even try to picture to proportions of the woman this costume was intended to fit. So I had to go out and buy a long straight wig that sometime between now and next Saturday I will have to fashion into two giant ear-muffy buns someway, somehow. It's not likely to be pretty, but whatever. At least I won't be wearing a white bathrobe...

Yoda and Obi Wan practice. Also? Our living room is still overwhelmingly brown. Sigh.

Don't tell him he looks more like the Emperor than Yoda; he will be crushed. We will amp up the green face paint so he looks Yoda-ish and not just sickly for the actual party. Also please note the Ethan art work that he has taped up to all of our bookshelves. It's like having my own museum (or preschool bulletin board) in my living room.

Even though we have been to no fewer than three pumpkin patches this fall, we headed to the local grocery store to pick out a few more for carving. Because we're classy like that.

I'm adding a couple pictures of the warty pumpkins because they give Husband a serious case of the heebie geebies and he forbade (yes, forbade!) me from buying them. Here, honey! I picked one out just for you!! *smooches!!!*


Buy one get one free, yo! *small children not included*

We took our decidedly NON-warty pumpkins home and carved the ever-loving crap out of them...

We laid down enough packing paper to cover up a crime-scene; fortunately we still had some in the garage left over from our move more than a year ago--sometimes laziness just pays off. Ethan's not such a big fan of the flash on my camera....

We selected our designs from a little kit....

cut their heads off....

and then gutted them mercilessly. It's kind of creepy, actually.

Ethan is not pleased when anyone tries to help him with anything these days.

Our three pumpkins, Polka Dot, Skeleton Man and Kitty Girl, as named by Ethan:



and all three of them lit up, with Ethan and Marty:

It's not Norman Rockwell, but it's good enough for me...


10 comments:

Sarah said...

Love the pumpkins (but not the warty ones-- yuck!).

Last year, Harry's class had book projects. There was a bag with a book to read and a book to make-- each kid had to draw a page for the book. Everyone else's (I imagined) was done with care and enrichment, but I remember being late for school the day the book was due back, crouching on the floor of the laundry room reading Blueberries for Sal as fast as I could while putting the kids' shoes on and dipping H's fingers in purple ink so he could smear blueberries on a bush in the class book. Beautiful memories.

I say good for you for keeping Marty the Monarch real.

Cass said...

What kind of family has that much time to go full on scrapbooking for their kids project? I'm not a mom, but I can only imagine being one takes a lot of work and you barely have time to shower (or so I've heard).

Anyway...the main reason I came over to comment is because I love the polka dot pumpkin. I saw your tweet with the pics and showed it to my BF saying "now that's a cool pumpkin".

cicadalady said...

i'm with pedro on the warty pumpkins, except they would've made awesome carved witches. love the pumpkin with holes all over it.

Becca said...

We had Honeybee a few weeks ago and the only super exciting thing we added to our normal weekend routine (and really, it wasn't that out of the ordinary) was to go out for breakfast tacos before soccer on Saturday. I took lots of pictures but ran out of time and didn't include any in our entry, which was fine because no one else had! I did write a nice note from Honeybee about all the fun he had with us. So much pressure!!

Pumpkin carving looks like fun. I keep waiting for Ryan to be home to do it, but by the time he comes home it's not safe for any of us to be handling a knife.

gringa said...

Luv the pumpkins. If Norman Rockwell were still around, I'm sure the picture would do just fine!

Amy said...

We had to do an "all about Jack" board for his birthday last year AND a Share Bear book like the one you did. We drew pictures in his share bear book because I am lazy like that. But the Jack board I went all out -- developed pictures from each of his four years, labeled them underneath, included a picture of the whole class at his b-day party. I rawked it. But he threw it on the ground on his way into school and it got wet -- wow, thanks Jackie. Awesomesauce.

MamaBear said...

You and I have a lot in common--our recent apple-picking adventure ("Hurry up and pick some...it's freaking HOT out here!") and my less-than-ideal homework experiences with Keira have taught me that my hokey, idealized image of parenting may need a serious dose of reality! As far as the project thing goes, I've had a recent revelation that teachers may feel we're promoting family togetherness and at-home learning by assigning crap like that, but really, we're probably just cramping the style of families that already DO teach and spend time with their kids. God help me when my kids start coming home with projects. (PS: WTH kind of pumpkin disease has hit your town?? Those things are kinda awesome!)

Sue said...

At least you don't have to be 3 of the 4 Beatles!

I'ma fan of warty pumpkins. I think it gives them character!

jeanne said...

Thanks for the Kindergarten memory.

Here's my version some 17 years earlier.

http://orjustme.blogspot.com/

lonek8 said...

our preschool has the "all star" board, which i have to provide pictures for and fill out a little questionnaire about Izzy's favorite things, but the teachers actually put it all together in an artistic way so it really wasn't much work other than running to Target for the pictures (because I was SO not digging them out of our albums). I can't believe the whole scrapbook thing - I don't get "homework" when the kids are way too young for there to even be the pretense that will be doing the work.

Your pumpkins look great!