Mommy and Daddy don’t shy away from the label of geek. In fact, Mommy and Daddy are quite proud of our geeky and dorky tendencies. These tendencies seem to have been passed on to our Little Man and of course, they color our holiday experiences.
Mommy and Daddy are very big on family traditions. Perhaps this love of tradition is reinforced by Jack’s desire for routine, but for the most part, we have always felt it important to build a strong foundation of activities and experiences that can be both anticipated and looked back on with fond memories. Some of these traditions were passed down to us from Mommy and Daddy’s parents and others are uniquely ours.
Mommy loves Halloween, but not the gross side of it – only the cute kid stuff and that’s the kind of stuff we want Jack to remember. It’s fun to get a little scare here and there, but when it comes down to it, we want all of the holidays to be fun and whimsical. So, those are the types of traditions we try to introduce. For example, Mommy and Daddy both remember watching It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown before Halloween. So, of course, part of our Halloween tradition is watching this cinematic holiday gem with Jack, which we did before we carved our pumpkin. Not only is this an easily repeated holiday tradition, but it helps us to introduce the idea of Halloween to our little guy in a kid friendly way. By the time Halloween was over, I think we watched this about ten times. Jack, appropriately enough, is a fan of pumpkins.
Carving a pumpkin, while not a unique Halloween tradition, it certainly is one of our favorites. This year, since he’s so much older and aware of the holiday, Jack designed the pumpkin entirely on his own and even cleaned it out! He was fascinated by all of the little tools that Daddy used and couldn’t wait to exclaim where he thought the pumpkin’s nose and eyes should go. Between the sliminess of the pumpkin insides squirming between his fingers and the joy that comes with holding the wedges of Jack-o-lanterns face, then tasting them, Jack had a full on Halloween sensory experience and we all loved every second of it.
Of course carving a pumpkin and watching a movie are just a few of our traditions. We have several others. A newer tradition appears to be a Halloween party at Nana and Grandad’s house. The past few years they have hosted one awesome party that is equally fun for adults and kiddos. While Mommy and Daddy didn’t dress in costume this year, Nana and Grandad certainly played the part as Morticia and Gomez Adams. Jack, who had been extremely excited about his Fire Chief outfit the night before, was reluctant to show it off at the party. Fortunately, Mommy is always thinking one step ahead and made sure Jack was wearing his Fire Chief t-shirt even if he wasn’t willing to wear his whole outfit. The highlights of the afternoon were Nana’s yummy sugar cookies, swinging at a ghost piñata, and swinging on the swing set.
This year, Halloween is super neat because there are so many more things that Jack understands and enjoys that he didn’t last year. The piñata at the party was just one such example. Jack, being Jack, certainly understands the concept of hitting one object with another. That is just one of those inherently ingrained toddler things. Not only did he enjoy hitting the piñata himself, with a little help from Grandad, but he loved watching the other kids take a whack at it. Other than Jack’s laughter and smile, the best part for Mommy was watching how great Jack was at sharing. While the older kids were scrounging for every toy and piece of candy that they could, all the while exclaiming, “That’s mine!”, Jack was picking up pieces of candy and giving them away because he wanted to help and to share. That’s just the sort of awesome little dude he is – a big sweetheart who wants to make sure everyone is happy. Mommy and Daddy were especially impressed considering he knew that candy was on the line and we all know how much Little Man loves his sweets.
A tradition that Oma passed down to Mommy is one of Jack’s favorite traditions – doughnuts for breakfast on Halloween! Mommy had Daddy pick up some doughnuts especially for the occasion and Daddy was certain to get Jack’s favorite, CHOCOLATE!
This, of course, was only the beginning of the sweets fest, but such is the life of a child on Halloween.
After dinner, the true Halloween festivities began. Little Man dressed in his Fire Chief garb and we headed out with Daddy to go visit Great Grandpa as our first Trick-or-Treating stop. When we arrived, Auntie Shayla and cousins Demeree and Jailynn were there with the same idea. When Jack saw Jailynn, he rushed up to her to give her a big hug. It was so sweet. Then, we all trotted up to the door together to surprise Great Grandpa. He was certainly happy to see his gaggle of not so ghoulish great grandkids. As usual quite appropriately enough, Fireman Jack was in a mad dash, as if to put out a fire, so the resulting photo is one of the child in motion.
Pretty soon, it was time for the three of us to be heading out for trick-or-treating. Since it was only 48 degrees out and Little Man is still trying to get over a cold, Mommy thought it would be best if we could keep our festivities in doors this year. So, as a result, when I heard that the Discovery Center was sponsoring an indoor, scientifically themed Halloween event and knowing that Little Man loves the Discovery Center, I knew that’s where we would be spending our evening.
Yes, yes, as Mommy mentioned before, we are a family of complete geeks and proud of it. Rather than spending the night out with other ghouls and goblins attempting to snag as much free candy as possible, we went to an interactive science center, that as it turns out, had very little candy and only about two pieces that were appropriate for a toddler to eat. But, Jack didn’t even seem to notice the lack of sweets as the moment he walked through the door, he was off with a huge smile on his face. At one point, he stopped running around, looked at me, and began to sign for bubbles. He wanted to know where his favorite bubble wall was. Jack just wanted to explore and Mommy and Daddy were more than happy to oblige.
From throwing marshmallows with Daddy to helping spotty dogs at the vet clinic, Jack had a great time. Jack even displayed some of his best sharing and turn taking behavior even amidst the craziness of awesome activities. Mommy was so proud when Jack was more than happy to share and take turns with a little girl and another little guy who were eager to try out an air blowing/ball activity center. The geektastic evening was a smashing success and while Little Man’s haul of candy was nothing short of sad, he didn’t seem to mind one bit. By the time we were all done, Jack had explored every inch of the science center. He was ready to munch on his smarties, which Mommy handed out one at a time, while we cruised around town looking at various Halloween displays before taking Jack home for a bath and bed.
Yes, holidays are an awesome part of life. It’s always exciting to indulge in out of the ordinary fun, especially when that fun is rooted in great family traditions. Mommy and Daddy have always prided ourselves in doing things that are uniquely appropriate for our family and our Halloween celebrations were certainly fit the description. As long as Jack had a blast, Mommy and Daddy are happy to explore new ways of celebrating holidays that emphasize alternate perspectives, activities, and fun. We are, after all, proud to be geeky dorks.
Quick Jack Facts
Jack has discovered the meaning of “yucky”. This is the first term that Little Man has grabbed onto and run with. Whenever he sees something that he things is dirty, gross, or just out of place, he exclaims, “Yuck” and shakes his hand at it in an attempt to make it go away. This can be incredibly cute, helpful, or vaguely insulting depending on the context.
Little Man has become a master of escape. He not only has managed to figure out how to unlock and open all of our house doors, but he has even mastered the baby proofing locks around the kitchen. At one point, Jack even opened the front door and began to walk outside to greet Daddy. So, to protect Little Man from his own adventurous nature and to give Mommy and Daddy some peace of mind, Daddy installed latches at the tops of the doors that Jack can’t reach.