Saturday, October 31, 2009

I Carved Pumpkins With My Three And Five Year Old And We All Lived To Tell About It

Yesterday, after wallowing in self-pity due to Shortcake's ongoing fever and subsequent absence from school on her Halloween party day, I was determined to make the most of our afternoon at home. I had big plans for cool Halloween treats which I knew both girls would get a kick out of creating, but that idea was scrapped by a lack of clear plastic gloves (think the kind food servers wear) at our local Doc's Drugs. So, it was on to plan B.

Upon my arrival home I stumbled in the door carrying a brand new (rented) movie for our weekly Friday Night Movie Night and one of the two giant pumpkins sitting as decoration in our front landscaping. I immediately faced interrogation from both girls as to why I was bringing pumpkins in the house. "We're going to carve pumpkins today!," I announced with enthusiasm. My afterthought to that proclamation ("after we have some quiet time") dampened their joyous response only slightly.

When The General heard of my grand plan he gave me a look that amounted to something along the lines of, "Good luck, sucker". Or maybe it was more like a "Better you than me" look. Either way, I brushed off his negativity and began mentally preparing myself for the big event.

It was pumpkin carving go-time immediately following Punkin's emergence from her afternoon nap. The girls obtained some quick nourishment from a Jello pudding snack, the snack choice of all pumpkin carving masters, while I prepped the tools and cut open the tops of the pumpkins.

I had set a few small goals for myself during this event. Among them included:
  • Try not to lose it when the girls ask for the eight bajillionth time when they can help as I'm attempting to cut off the top of the pumpkin.
  • Keep pumpkin gut mess contained to the designated pumpkin carving area as much as possible.
  • Allow the girls to exercise their artistic side even if their ideas are a) ridiculous or b) impossible for me to replicate.
  • Avoid blood shed of any kind at all costs.
After lifting the lid off Shortcake's pumpkin I was faced with a reality that I quite honestly wasn't prepared for. It turns out Shortcake has a bit of a sensory aversion to the contents contained inside of a pumpkin. This manifests itself in the following ways: she gagged if she smelled the inside of the pumpkin, she gagged harder when she watched me grab handfuls of pumpkin guts and discard them in a bowl, and she gagged more violently still when her bare hands came in contact with the slimy insides of the pumpkin. Literally, touching one pumpkin seed at a time (fingertip contact only, mind you) was all she could handle.

How did I support this unknown trait? I giggled. I'm sorry if that makes me sound like a horrible mother, but honestly it was hilarious. At one point she banished herself to the couch for a quick time-out because the smell was just too much for her already weakened system to handle. Chalk this experience up to another item of discussion with her future therapist.

Punkin appeared to be slightly less hesitant at first, boldly sticking her hand inside the pumpkin at the first opportunity. She then realized it was "guhwohs" and spent the rest of the time while I was scooping and scraping two pumpkins telling ridiculous stories, switching pumpkin scoops back and forth "just in case", and freaking out any time pumpkin slime came in contact with her bare feet.

Just to get a rise out of her (because it's what I do), at one point I placed a stringy piece of pumpkin nastiness on her arm. I'll just say that her reaction was about what I would have expected and I'll leave it to your own imagination to picture how it all went down.

By the time I finally had the pumpkins prepped for carving the girls were getting restless. I suppose it's exhausting watching your mother do work you couldn't wait to do only to refuse to do it thirty seconds into the project. Anyway, as you might be able to tell from some of the pictures posted here, in order to keep some sense of order I gave photo duties to one child while the other was helping me. The upside to this is that they took some halfway decent shots of pictures I would have otherwise not gotten. Props to you for your mad photo taking skills, girls! The downside is that two already mostly disinterested children became highly disinterested in carving their pumpkins when the opportunity to use mommy's camera was so close at hand.

However, while they might not been into the scooping aspect of pumpkin carving, they were totally down with the use of sharp utensils. Knowing better than to give them free reign with the dull yet potentially deadly carving tools we did a little hand-over-hand carving.

Okay, so it wasn't so much hand-over-hand as it was "Put your hand on my arm and let's pretend like you're actually doing some of the work". They seemed satisfied with that compromise so long as they could tell me how to cut out their jack-o-lantern faces.

In the end, the pumpkin carving really wasn't all that bad. It was a solid chunk of time where I was focused solely on my time with the girls away from any other distractions (an area of parenting I need to improve drastically), we sang and danced to some classic music, and we laughed together at each other's silliness.

And as if that wasn't enough for one day, our new back porch decorations certainly add to the fun.


The MC said...

Love the jack-o-lanterns, but not so sure about your Coalers shirt! :)

Tina said...

What great looking pumpkins! Good job, Mrs!

However, I second the MC's comment - Coalers? I realize you live there now, but it just seems like a betrayal....

jen said...

3 confessions: 1 my son gagged too when he reached into the pumpkin. 2 I laughed at him too 3 two of the kids at school who I helped carve a pumpkin had the same raction. I'll bring a brush for desensitizing Shortcake's tactile system on Tuesday!

tlk said...

I don' care where you live or what type of messy activity you are taking part in, there is no excuse for you to be wearing that shirt. Maybe in 9 years but not now.

Maybe it's their ages but I am pretty sure that if we switched kids neither of us would notice. Other than the long hair or lack there of that is.

The General said...

I know, I know. But what do you expect me to wear on Coaler spirit day? I mean, it's a total rock...hard scenario. You're just going to have to trust me when I tell you that my true allegiance lies with the kelly green & white. I mean, it's not like I'm wearing a Michigan shirt.

The General said...

Oops - sorry, that me (The Mrs.)

Anonymous said...

Love the punmpkins !! Good job girls !! Also love the big yawn while holding the Jello pudding cup for all to see.
DTHS alumni are certainly loyal !
Love to all


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