Anyone who knows me, even a little bit, knows I am not crazy about Halloween. To be honest, when it comes to October 31, I am downright Grinch-like. Trust, me if I thought I could get away with stuffing the spider webs, candy corn, trimmings and trappings up my chimney and dropping them off on Mt. Crumpit, I would. Ever since living my own horror film on a third grade field trip -- being trapped watching John Brown mount the gallows stairs in the Harper's Ferry wax museum for 45 minutes during a power outage -- I have avoided anything even remotely frightening.
As a parent, a whole new set of Halloween issues creeps up. First, what is an appropriate costume for an eight-year-old girl? It is probably not the Sexy Nurse or French Maid costume she found, shockingly enough, in her size online. And perhaps the even tougher question might be, is it still okay for a middle-schooler to trick or treat, especially if the costume is lame? My answer will have to be yes (as long as he keeps me in Reese's). I guess I should just be happy I don't have to deal with his sneaking into Freakfest yet (I hope). And just how much candy is too much for one night?
Then, to make the holiday even more frightening, the Wizards of WEAC have conjured up the annual teachers' convention (aka no school for the kids) the two days preceding All Hallows Eve. What am I going to do with my goblins and ghouls on Oct. 28 and 29 besides break into the Halloween candy and second-guess non-returnable costume choices?
Fortunately, there is quite a bit fun to be had in Mad-Town those two days, even if you are not into real ghosts and gore. Crafty kids can sign up for a Make Your Own Monster Doll class and learn a thing or two about sewing. You can check out the Halloween themed indoor course at Vitense Golfland and putt through a ghost or two.
And Friday's Downtown Madison Family Trick or Treat from 2-6 p.m.will allow kids to trick or treat at participating State Street and Square businesses and let moms and dads drop in to some of their favorite shopping haunts. Kids can take hay rides around the Capitol Square ($2/person) from 2-6 p.m.
Plus, there's special Halloween events goings on at Isthmus, 101 King St., where costumed kids can have their photo taken in front of our 'spooky' scene and pick up a treat. That's where I'll be, in fact. Stop by and say hello.
Okay, maybe this holiday isn't so scary after all. And while my jeans size has unfortunately grown a size or two, so has this Halloween Grinch's heart.comments powered by Disqus
I think the first time in recent years that I've felt a real sense of shame, as both a parent and community member, was last Tuesday evening as I sat in a crowded elementary school LMC to listen to Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, and his colleague, Torry Wynn, present key findings from the 2013 Race to Equity report to our PTO group.
It's Wednesday morning at Allis Elementary School on Madison's east side, and 16 third-graders " 10 boys and six girls " enter into an open-space classroom in typical wiggly, giggly style. Some are making goofy faces at one another, some are bouncing around hand-in-hand with friends, and others are just trying to stay out of the whirling-dervish path of activity.
Of the 789 poorly-composed, way-too-dark and out-of-focus photos currently living on my iPhone, I can count on two hands the number that show my kids and me together. And my husband is in probably no more than three or four of those.
Something kind of magical has happened these past two weeks during the Sochi Olympics. There is no question, debate or disagreement on what will be watched on television once all homework is done. Everyone in the family makes time to sit down together to watch an hour of so of the primetime televised games.
Truth be told, though, this month I'm feeling a bit cinematically fried. In some ways, I already feel like I've spent the last week or so at a film festival. A festival specializing in minute-long glimpses of ordinary lives all ending with credits that feature the ubiquitous blue thumbs-up. Yes, it's been the February of the Facebook movie.
Just last week, on precisely the same day the Momastery post was getting over a million well-deserved views, Madison mom Suzanne Buchko was telling a similar story. Not on a blog but instead in the confines of the modestly circulated Franklin-Randall Elementary School weekly newsletter.
Late last month, the Madison Metropolitan School District adopted a five-year, $27.7 million technology plan calling for all district students, including those in the primary grades, to have significantly increased access to their very own tablet or notebook computer by 2019. Some parents, as well as education professionals, questioned whether elementary-aged kids, especially kindergarteners who aren't even able to read or write yet, will gain much benefit from introducing yet another screen into their lives.
This past Monday, had winter's unrelenting weather allowed, Middleton Cross Plains School District teacher Andrew Harris would have once again been at the helm of a classroom. After nearly four years of fighting his dismissal from Glacier Creek Middle School for viewing and passing on sexually explicit material on district computers, MCPSD has been legally forced to reinstate Herris, this time as a seventh-grade science teacher at Kromrey Middle School.
In a study published last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, academics have found that the 16 and Pregnant series may have played a significant role in the recent decrease in U.S. teen pregnancies.
In our house, sad but true, we've rarely spent the Martin Luther King holiday discussing race, social justice or the power of non-violent civil disobedience. Instead, the third Monday in January has historically been treated as just another day off school, just another long weekend. And it's been a missed opportunity.
It's not something that happens very often, but last Friday, as news of the impending arctic cold snap reached our house, my kids were rooting for Governor Scott Walker. They were rooting for him to take Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's lead and cancel school throughout the state. They couldn't care less if he had the authority to do such a thing -- if he called off school, he'd be their hero.
Late last semester, as students were packing up their backpacks one final time before winter break, Middleton High School principal Denise Herrmann and assistant principal Lisa Jondle were co-authoring a note home to parents informing them of a widespread cheating scandal involving nearly 250 calculus students at the school.
Breathe in, breathe out. Have you ever been in the heat of a parenting moment with these words ringing through your head? Then you're on the right path toward mindful parenting.
The week between Christmas and New Year's is famous for all sorts of things. Malls are packed with folks exchanging those holiday sweaters that don't fit just right. It's the week those same folks pledge to never again eat another frosted sugar cookie or candy cane (hence the sweater issues). It's also the week the media saturates the public with dozens of "Best of Year" lists.
This will not (although it could) be a treatise on the value of "alone time" for a healthy marriage, though. Nor will it be an ode to how nice it was for me to have a few days off from lunch-packing, carpool-driving and homework-nagging.
For those of you who haven't yet seen it, the eight-week-long transit campaign, placed both inside and on the outside of buses, features a photo of an orange tabby with a stainless steel bar drilled into its head accompanied by the line "I am not lab equipment. End UW cat experiments!" Just as PETA hopes, the image is shocking and demands an immediate response.
If I had my druthers, I'd sit out the entire shopping week that follows Thanksgiving. Black Friday, for starters, has corrupted the fine art of bargain shopping and turned it into a gladiator sport. There is no percentage off that is worth losing sleep, or even worse an eye, over. Especially if you have kids in tow.
When you shop for toys, there is always the conflict between what you think is appropriate/adorable and what the child being shopped for might actually want/play with.
Many of the pop-culture seasonal touchpoints of my youth are completely lost on my kids. You see, while I may have memorized every word to both the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser's songs from The Year Without a Santa Claus, I'm pretty sure the only Rankin-Bass stop-motion Christmas special my kids have ever seen has been Rudolph.
I am so thrilled that the United Way is sponsoring a Teen Gift Drive this holiday season. Sure, teen "wants" often aren't as fun to shop for as precious baby dolls and sweet Lego sets. But middle and high school kids still "need" to feel valued and loved during this time of year. And helping a family in need to provide this for their child is a wonderful way to get in the spirit.