Thursday, October 22, 2009

Now We're Just Tacky

Last year we were the lame people who couldn't carve pumpkins properly...or more accurately, didn't carve our pumpkins at all, but instead put them on our porch entirely uncarved, where the squirrels promptly went to town on them and brought holiday shame upon our family (for details see last year's Halloween entry).

This year, in an effort to avoid holiday shame, we just gave in and bought plastic pumpkins. I know they're kinda tacky. I feel like I'm betraying Martha Stewart in some way...even though I never made any kind of specific commitment to upholding her level of tasteful, labor-intensive handmade decor. But you know what? Plastic pumpkins are squirrel-proof and I kinda like 'em. Furthermore, Zeke likes them a lot, and I figure that if I use them for the next 15 years I am going to accrue a lot of savings in deferred real pumpkin purchases. "No Zeke, no need to go to the pumpkin patch! Let's go dig the box of fake pumpkins out of the garage--it'll be fun!" I'm going to have to make a game out of it if he's going to buy in, but I think he will. He was at Grandma's house last weekend, and when she plunged his hand into the pumpkin guts so he could pull them out as part of his very first pumpkin carving attempt, he puked. Didn't just gag or make a face, but actually vomited on the floor. Shanti thinks this is amazing, but I think it makes sense. Pumpkin guts are uniquely slimy and disgusting. I've never puked when touching them, but I've certainly felt like it.

In other Halloween news, we found out that the people on our street don't subscribe to the standard wait-at-your-door-for-the-kids-to-arrive candy distribution system. No, these folks actually set up long tables at the bottom of the street on Halloween, line up all their bowls of candy on the tables, then kick back with pizza and wine behind the tables while the kids come by and retrieve their loot from the candy buffet. The people who live at the house in front of the buffet buy the pizza and wine. The other neighbors just bring side dishes. I'm pretty sure this goes in the "plus" column of any evaluation of life in our new neighborhood.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Truth Hurts: Round 2 (or 3 or 4...I don't remember)

Last night I was racing back and forth between the kitchen and our bathroom, trying to get ready for dinner out with friends and serve Zeke his dinner at the same time.

It seemed to be going well, but just as I was dashing out of the kitchen for the tenth time to finish my hair, Zeke stopped me. “Mommy, that isn’t good,” he said in his most solemn voice.

I had just served him a very recently-frozen tamale, so I assumed that’s what he was referring to.

“Honey, you love tamales. You eat them all the time. Is it too cold? Too spicy?”

“No Mommy, it’s your shirt. It’s not good. You should pick a different one.”

I looked down at what I was wearing. A ten-year-old triathlon shirt and gym shorts. Fair enough, not appropriate for an evening out. Probably not appropriate for an evening in either. However, in my defense, these were not the clothing items I was planning to wear to dinner. They were just prep gear so that the REAL outfit would not be covered with dog fur and wayward tamale sauce before I even managed to get a foot out the door. Odd that he didn’t mention the shorts though…

“The shorts are OK?” I asked, just to clarify.

“No. They’re not nice either. You need to wear better clothes when you go to dinner.”

So there you have it. I now have a live-in fashion advisor. I never dreamed I could afford such an extravagance, but this particular purveyor of the trade works for Cheerios, grapes, and yes—tamales, so I’m going to keep him on the payroll. Plus, he is unflinchingly honest, and so far at least, accurate in his assessments. This is good news for those of you that go places with me. Although it was not my plan to wear a t-shirt and shorts last night, in the past there has always been a pretty solid chance that I would show up for an event wearing something significantly more casual than I should. Now that I have to pass preschooler inspection though, maybe you’re a little safer than you were before (safe from my bad clothing decisions). Maybe.

Or maybe I’ll just start putting Zeke to bed earlier.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Karate Kid!

I don't know if there is anything anywhere that is cuter than little kids in karate uniforms. And Zeke Amagasu in a karate uniform is downright ridiculous. Cuter than the law should allow.

He was in a karate uniform on this particular evening because tonight was his very first karate lesson. Ever. He may do this for ten or twenty years and earn all kinds of fancy and important belt designations over that time period, but he will always be able to look back and know that today was the day his martial arts journey began. I hope that's the case anyway. Of course he might hate it and quit next year, but I don't think he will if tonight's results are any sort of indicator. Zeke is a follower, and karate is all about following. You do what the sensei says and do it as accurately as possible. For some kids this is a very difficult undertaking. Not for Zeke though. He knows he'll be praised if he does something correctly, and he's naturally competitive in this kind of environment. I can't explain why, but so far he seems to prefer individual sports that you learn about in group settings much more than team sports that you participate in together. When we took him to soccer classes in Spring he'd play for a few minutes, then look at us with sad eyes the rest of the time and whine about wanting to leave. But swimming classes in early summer were entirely different. He loved them. He paid attention, was totally engaged, and was doing everything he could to outshine his fellow classmates. Same with karate. At least tonight anyway. He did exactly what the teacher asked and seemed to have a great time doing it. Check out the video. He's definitely smiling as he punches his little fist out and yells “Aayy!” I hope that doing it and learning to do it well will give him a little more confidence in other parts of his life. We'll see. One way or another we're off to a good start.