I have to admit...I am a "glass is half empty" kind of person. When I set out into the world with my children, I rarely set out with the notion that anyone will be happy to see us coming. I usually expect people around us to be bothered by our presence. By our noise. By the sheer amount of space we take up! So last week when we attended a play at the history museum (it was FREE for homeschoolers!) I was pleasantly surprised by the young man at the museum desk who said, " We are so glad you are here!" as he handed me my six tickets. I realized how infrequently I actually hear that. It brought a smile to my face.
About a month ago I took the kids to the zoo. Banana and Big D had free lunch coupons for their birthdays so we decided to go the the restaurant there, which we never do. I quickly remembered why we never do it as I waited in a long line to order. There were no tables available. We had to watch for one to open up and then I sent the kids over to sit there while I continued waiting in line. The G-man decided he was starving while we waited, so I ended up nursing him in line - while standing up and pushing a stroller. He was still nursing as I ordered and even when the food appeared. I wondered how I was going to manage getting the food and drinks, the baby, and the stroller over to the table? The stroller actually came in handy with its cup holders. The Banana was my hero when she came over and asked if I needed help. Did I ever! By this time I was sweating. We made it over to the table only to find out that we needed a bigger table for all of us and our lunches. We had to move in order to find two empty tables to push together. Finally, we sat down together to eat. I was still sweating when we were cleaning up, and was completely taken aback by the woman who stopped me and said, "Whatever you are doing with those kids is amazing. They are the most well-behaved children I have ever seen." I went back to the table and shared that lovely thought with the kids, all the while tears were streaming down my face.
Another instance of my pessimism being blown out of the water occurred when I had something I needed to bring to Miss M at her school. I was lamenting the fact that I had to bring five children into the school office with me just to drop off a tote bag. I was sure we would cause a ruckus and maybe even distract a classroom or two while school was in session. So imagine my surprise when the school secretary met us with a huge smile and joked with the kids a bit before we even got the chance to tell her why we were there! When Miss M got home that evening she told me that the secretary told her she had a beautiful family. She said they were quiet and well-behaved; better than some of the two-kid families that have been in the school. My glass was half full. Fuller even.
Maybe these events will help me to reverse my thinking when I take the kids places. I really should bring them along proudly, knowing that they are more likely to brighten a person's day than they are to ruin it. I mean, honestly...how could this face not brighten your day?
I have always worried about the amount of candy my kids collect and consume on Halloween. I usually try to limit the amount of candy they can have - "You can have two pieces after lunch, and two pieces after dinner". It's not a lot of fun being the candy master, and it only makes the candy stash last even longer. But it's what I do because too much candy is bad, right? Well, with that in mind, imagine how I felt when I came downstairs the day after Halloween and saw this....
The good thing is that they were quietly sorting and trading their candy with one another. Some of them were even making a small pile for their dad and me! And, yes, there were plenty of empty wrappers on the floor also. The candy feast had begun.
We had the marvelous idea to make cookies using Halloween candy. We chopped up Reese's, Milky Ways, and Three Musketeers. We emptied fun sized packages of M&M's into the batter, too. They were delicious!
Everyone contributed to the cookies if they wanted to enjoy them. This helped reduce some of the stash. We're thinking it should become a day-after-Halloween tradition. Our only improvement for next year is that we would use MORE candy!
It was not really a conscious decision on my part, but the kids have, so far, had unlimited access to their candy. And, so far, no one has gotten a tummy ache or even experienced the legendary "sugar high" that parents are so often warned about. Maybe the lesson I am learning is to let go of some of that control I think I need to have over things. It's a lot less stressful not to have to tell them how much candy they are allowed to eat. And it's more peaceful, too.
Now...if I could just transfer that lesson onto other areas of my life.
No, seriously. It rained all day on Halloween, scaring children everywhere that there would be no trick-or-treating to be done. Fortunately for them, the rain let up just after dark. The costumes and makeup went on, and the kids went out.
They were dressed as........
The bride of Frankenstein.
Captain Jack Sparrow.
And see if you can guess this one.....
Did you guess it? He's a ceiling fan. Get it? A fan of ceilings. I know. It's pretty lame. Don't worry....we gave him plenty of trouble about his lack of effort this year. We should expect great things from him next Halloween. Or else he'll decide he's too old to get dressed up. I guess we'll see!
Update: Miss M went to a costume party dressed as her cousin. And he dressed up as her!