The kids and I recently had a chance to check out Oz Park.
::Ollie was trying on his new shoe::
Sara: “Okay, do you want to put on the other one?”
Ollie: “There’s two of them?!”
Dabu, to me: “Beating you is not much of a victory, but beating Sara is.”
::At the Jazz Festival::
Singer: “This next one was by Ella Fitzgerald…”
Evie, her eyes shining with excitement: “They said they’re going to sing the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald!!”
Sara: “Did the monkeys take his hats?”
Ollie: “And they climb up in the trees!”
Sara: “And what did the monkeys do after that?”
Ollie: “They flew away.”
I think someone has been immersed in the Wizard of Oz at a young age…
This year for Halloween, the entire family went as Wizard of Oz characters (making good use of that birthday present). Evie and Oliver were Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion, respectively:
Sara was the Scarecrow:
And I was the Tin Woodsman (by process of elimination):
Okay, so my costume was a little uninspired.
Oliver was as excited as we’ve ever seen him, running around the house like a crazy man. But I’m not sure why, since he had no idea what Halloween or Trick or Treating was. We had practiced a little bit with him, but he only really liked the part where he said, “Knock knock!”. I guess maybe he just caught the mood from his big sister.
Oliver caught on pretty quickly, wandering from house to house and yelling, “More candy! More candy!” But then again, he didn’t actually *eat* any candy; he preferred to sit in the stroller and eat cheese and apples. We tried to skip some of the houses with him, but he was not having it. If Evie went to a house, he had to go to the house too.
Unlike Evie when she was little, Oliver was not afraid of anything. People in scary costumes, skeletons hanging from trees, moving blow-up cats, spiders dropping on people, nothing. He wasn’t even afraid of the giant turkey.
Yes, I said giant turkey.
You see, the street we go to for trick-or-treating is a little crazy around Halloween time. They usually have some sort of giant, scary structure in the middle of the road, and this year happened to be a giant turkey. This thing flaps it’s wings, moves its feet and mouth, and has some sort of speaker system that plays music and occasionally squawks. When I say giant, I mean giant: there is maybe a haunted house inside or something? We’re talking like 20 feet tall. Oliver thought it was fascinating.
There was one incident that I really regretted. There was a person kneeling by the sidewalk, unmoving, acting like a decoration and waiting to jump out and scare someone. I wasn’t 100% sure it was really a person, but I suspected, so I told Evie to go over and look under the hood. Well, Evie did NOT suspect it was a real person, and it didn’t occur to me to tell her, so you can imagine her surprise. Luckily they knew better than to really jump at her, but all they did was move their hand when Evie got close, and Evie lost her mind. She was so terrified that she couldn’t even run or scream, just sort of convulse in place like she had twenty thousand volts running through her. I grabbed her up immediately, but the damage had been done. She was absolutely terrified, and it took awhile for her to calm down. Why did I ask her to look under the hood? How could I not have foreseen that outcome?? Poor girl. The incident was quickly forgotten in all the excitement and didn’t ruin the night, but I felt pretty bad.
Everyone loved us being dressed up as a set. As we were walking around, so many people would say, “Oh look, there’d Dorothy. Oh, and the Lion. Oh, and here’s the Scarecrow! And the Tin Woodsman!” And yet, a surprising number of people got it wrong (“Is she the little girl from Little House on the Prairie?”). I kind of liked having a family theme though, so maybe we’ll have to remember that for future years.
Evie did not wear her Dorothy outfit to school. She went as a doctor: not a surgeon, but a “a doctor in the emergency room”. We were told that “characters” were not allowed at school, so we decided to play it safe and keep Dorothy out of it. But then, of course, there were two other Dorothy’s at school!
Evie: “I thought you couldn’t be a character?”
Teacher: “Well…we don’t want characters from t.v., but there’s a book for the Wizard of Oz, so that’s okay.”
Thanks a lot, mommy and daddy.
As we walked through our neighborhood on the way home, there were a few houses with their porch lights on. This is very unusual for our neighborhood. We have never seen anybody trick-or-treat (ever!) around there. So we decided to hit up those houses on the way home, to encourage the trend to continue.
At the first house, the porch light was on, but nobody was home. At the second house, someone came to the door, but it was clear that they didn’t expect anybody, and just happened to have some suckers since they had a little kid. The third house was for sale, but they had their porch light on and the gate was open, so it looked pretty inviting. Well, the only person that was there was someone working on the house, so he came to the door in his grubby clothes covered in paint and drywall dust. He insisted on busting out his wallet and giving a dollar to each of the kids, despite our objections.
Evie: “Why did that man give us a dollar, even though you both were saying, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no”?”
After that, we decided not to bother with any more houses on the street. But it wasn’t a total waste, since Evie later said that her favorite part of the evening was, “when I got the dollar.”
We have been on the warpath lately about homemade gifts, and so far, everybody has risen to the occasion. Since we made our decree, I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results! Yes, it is very difficult, but the gifts have really been amazing. And people have really come up with some amazing ideas, including people who thought they had nothing to offer in the homemade gift arena.
So I wanted to talk about one such gift, my mom’s present to Evie for her birthday. For those of you who do not know my mom, she is somewhat obsessed with the Wizard of Oz (along with the rest of her family…Aunt Emily and Aunt Laurie proved they have no problem reciting the script word for word!) And Evie is no slouch in this arena either, given her love of Wicked and the way she orchestrated a Wizard of Oz play for Oliver’s birthday.
So my mom’s present to Evie was a big box of Wizard of Oz dress up clothes.
Let me tell you why I love this gift.
First off, dress up clothes are infinitely variable, because they allow for unlimited imaginary play. The simpler something is, the more fun you can get out of it; think of how much more opportunity for play a doll offers compared to some super complicated, technologically advanced Barbie playset. With the doll, the sky’s the limit. With the playset, no imagination is required; you can only really play with it in the way it was designed to be played with. Your imagination can be lazy.
But second off, I’m sure one could go out and purchase a “Wizard of Oz dress up set” with outfits and props. But in this case, the items were things my mom already had, things that were handmade or sewn, or things re-purposed from thrift stores. Things were combined in new or different ways (like the Tinman’s painted oil funnel / hat, toy gas can / oil can, and Halloween meat cleaver / ax). It’s very clear that a lot of time and effort were spent putting everything together.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s one of the best times anyone has had putting together a present!
Every homemade gift is so much more charming and special than a simple store purchase!
Of course, the set got some use right away, in an impromptu performance.
Thanks for the thoughtful gift! It’s well appreciated (especially by me!)
What makes a King out of a slave?
What makes the flag on the mast to wave?
What makes the elephant charge his tusk, in the misty mist or the dusky dusk?
What makes the muskrat guard his musk?
What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder?
What makes the dawn come up like *thunder*?
What makes the Hottentot so hot?
What puts the “ape” in apricot?
What have they got that I ain’t got?
You can say that again.
- These days, Evie insists on have tights sticking out of her drawer with her drawer closed, so it looks like legs sticking out. Those legs represent the Wicked Witch of the West.*
- Nothing makes me feel less manly than having the alarm go off in the night. I guess I should feel the opposite, like big strong protector of the household, but really I’m just reluctantly jabbing a stick into dark rooms to startle anybody in there, ready to run at the first sign of trouble.
- Although Oliver can’t walk yet, we discovered he can open the front and back doors. We have lever handles, and it turns out those handles are just a little lower than the rest of the doors in the house, so he can reach and pull if he really tries.
- Babies are generally very good at getting you what you want, but a baby with sunglasses on is irresistible. I forgot about this since Evie was a baby, but it never fails. It’s like the atomic bomb of cuteness.
* EDIT: It has been pointed out that the legs would more correctly represent the Wicked Witch of the East, which is true. But come on guys, she’s three!
Evie: “I want to wear these sunglasses all the time. I’ll wear them in the house and I’ll only take them off when I’m sleeping. Then I’ll be just like daddy.”
Evie: “Can you imagine? Dorothy had to walk all that way, and she didn’t even complain?” – She came up with this as motivation all on her own! The sidewalk is no yellow brick road, but if it keeps her from complaining…
Evie: “I was almost asleep, but then my potty ticket woke me up. It kept talking to me, saying, ‘I’m lonely!'”
Tom: “What kind of cheese is it?”
Evie: “I have a plan to kill an imaginary person.”
Me: “What’s your plan?”
Evie: “To kill an imaginary person.”