Let's start with Halloween and work our way earlier in the month. Samantha had been talking about five-person Halloween costumes for months. She had many grand plans, but the one she finally settled on was a Wizard of Oz family. I told her that we couldn't force Marcus to go along with it--we had to ask him, and respect his decision. She bubbled over with eagerness, and started: "Marcus, Marcus, can we all be the Wizard of Oz for Halloween? Daddy can be the Tin Man and Mommy can be Dorothy and Helen can be Toto because she's little and Mommy can carry her and I can be the lion and you can be the scarecrow!" Marcus looked vaguely up from his book. "Will my costume be scratchy and have a lot of hay on it?" he asked. Samantha, who at that point had absolutely no idea what we'd make or buy to assemble his costume, swore up and down that it would not be scratchy. Marcus shruggled. "Okay," he said. Samantha, of course, was thrilled.
On Halloween proper, she was Hermione to school (because Hermione epitomizes the school values of focus, integrity, respect, and empathy) and Marcus didn't wear a costume. They rode home on the train with Wonder Woman, whose father was disappointed she hadn't chosen to be Jabba the Hutt, as his own grand plan for a themed family costume involved him going as slave girl Leia.
Once home, they ate, changed, did makeup, and we picked up a friend (Spiderman) and headed out to trick or treat at the shops until 6:00. Marcus lost his scarecrow hat, but a neighbor found it and through the kindness of their heart hung it on our front railing. After that it was over to Dunster Street for brass band parades, dancing zombies on the lawn, "mad scientists," fortune tellers, fog machines, and lots of Halloween lights and lots of Halloween candy. Our last stop was trick or treating on our own block, where some of the nicer older neighbors gave out little toys.
The day before Halloween we carved our pumpkin.
The weekend before Halloween, Samantha went to Clarinda's Moana painting birthday party.
A week before that, we had friends over for a potluck supper and then went to the lantern parade around the pond together. Marcus lost his scarecrow hat, but someone a few blocks away found it and through the magic of the Internet, we were able to get it back.
A few weeks before that, we went to the East Cambridge Ribfest with Sarah and Sean. We came prepared with cardboard boxes to hold the flimsy paper trays of ribs, and then plastic containers to bring home extras. We did not come prepared for the hour-long facepainting line, so Robert finally stepped in and did the girls' faces himself.
At the beginning of the month, Samantha learned and recited a Mandarin poem about lanterns and the moon lady and other autumn traditions.
Throughout the month of October, Helen's started talking more--she's always been an excellent communicator, but now in addition to signing and nodding and saying "no," she will also use words (noodle, robot, brother, kiss, daddy, mama, Mantha, and so on). Samantha's reading has taken off and she is about halfway through the Magic Treehouse series, reading a book a day on average. Both kids are doing great in school and like their teachers.
We've had some summer-like, warm playground days, and some days of deluges.
Helen's been still going to baby music class, and Samantha to soccer and piano on Saturdays, and Samantha also joined the Girl Scouts, and is now a Daisy.
Marcus became obsessed with finger knitting, and enlisted Aunt Mary's help to sew one of his strips together into a hat for Helen. When not finger knitting, or trying to learn to crochet, he writes long saga-like stories about knights and dragons and alternate universes, and of course he still reads obsessively. Marcus won a tennis tournament in his afterschool "net sports" class, and he's also teaching Helen a love of books early on!
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Created: 11/1/17. Last Modified: 11/1/17.