Tag Archives: Kids

Another Reason Why I Love/Hate October

Have I mentioned that October is one of my favorite months?  October means that fall is definitely in full swing, even if we don’t get much of true fall color in Southern California. (Fall color being one of the other reasons I like October). Not only are October days shorter and cooler, they are busier. I am back in the rhythm of school days with homework, projects, after school events, and of course Nico and Erica’s school Fall Festival.

 At Nico and Erica’s catholic school the Fall Festival is a huge deal. It’s a great fundraiser for the school and there’s something for everyone.   There are all kinds of game booths, a cake walk, haunted and bounce houses, and of course, what would a Catholic festival be without Bingo?  This year, my friend Rosemary won a new IPad during one round of Bingo. When she told us that she won the IPad, Diego chimed in, “Well, I won two whoopee cushions!” See? I told you there was something for everyone. Ahh, the Fall Fest! The kids absolutely love it! Me? I have a love/hate relationship with the Fall Fest. 


The look of delight and joy as I see my kids and their classmates having the time of their lives as they tear with through their former school-yard-turned-carnival, playing games of chance and the opportunity to win an endless supply of stuffed animals, whoopee cushions, inflatable hammers, and SILLY STRING.


The fact that my kids and their classmates run wild through their former school-yard-turned-carnival, playing games of chance, and winning endless supplies of stuffed animals, whoopee cushions, inflatable hammers, and SILLY STRING.

 Silly String is fun. It is also sticky, messy, and requires WD-40 or paint thinner to remove it when it gets on clothing. After 8 years of consecutive Fall Festivals, I have had a lot of experience with Silly String.  I now know that my kids should wear caps to the Fall Fest, lest their hair become sprayed with the sticky stuff. Silly String also burns when it gets in the eye. SillyString can result in physical injury. Three Fall Festivals ago, Erica was being chased by a boy with an inflatable hammer. The school yard was filled with land mines of empty Silly String cans, tossed haphazardly by kids whose cans had run out of the sticky stream of fluorescent string.  As Erica ran from the boy with the hammer, she tripped over an abandoned empty Silly String can and sprained her wrist.  The evening’s festivities were cut short with a late night trip to the emergency room. This incident also resulted in me sending an email to the school festival committee proposing we abandon the Silly String altogether. Hah! Like that was going to happen! Nevertheless, the next year the festival committee came up with the cleaver idea that the kids bring three empty Silly String cans in exchange for one new can. The result was a school yard free of empty Silly String land mines, and a lesson in recycling. 

 With this year’s Fall Fest in the can, (pun intended) I am both sad and happy. I am saddened by the fact that now that Nico and Erica are in the 7th grade, there will be only one more year with them at this school and at the Fall Fest. I am also happy that we only have one more year with Nico and Erica at this school and at the Fall Fest. Although, something tells me that I won’t be missing the Fall Fest for too long.  Diego is in 1st grade at a different school. This coming weekend Diego’s school is holding its own First Annual Fall Festival.

Signs of a Busy Life

Like many parents’ weekday mornings, mine is usually filled with the  last- minute panic and rushing out the door.  On those mornings when Juan has to be at an early meeting, and we cannot drive into work together, I am the lone parent trying to wake the dead as I go through the hallway flipping on lights and rushing to the kitchen to scramble a  breakfast, pack lunches, and finally, wrangle kids into the car.  It’s always a race against the clock.  Nico and Erica’s school charges the parents $5 a tardy, after the first 5 tardies. Diego’s school, the second stop on my route to work, begins at 7:45!  I ususally end up leaving the house with my coffee to go, and without make-up. (Yes, I am that woman. The one who puts on mascara during the morning stop and and go traffic).   I rush to drop off Nico or Erica at their school and then race across town to make it to Diego’s school before I have to stop in at the office and get “my ticket,”  otherwise known as a tardy slip.

So you can understand, why I am a little preoccupied during my morning dash  drive through my lovely hometown.  I hardly notice the beautiful Pasadena bridge and the sun rising over the Arroyo on the way to Diego’s school. Diego notices my distraction too. I dodge through traffic,  only half-listening to his 6 year-old ramblings and his unending loop of Guess What? It’s a little pre-occupation of his own. It goes like this:

“Guess What?”

“What?” I respond obligingly,  yet absently.

“CHICKEN BUTT!” ( I know, he shouldn’t be saying Butt.)

I always fall for it. Especially when I am driving. 

“Don’t say ‘Butt.'”  I correct him, narrowly missing a commuter bus as it pulls in front of me. 

Diego, he is a talker. His constant chatter from the backseat serves as my substitute for morning talk radio.   He tells me stories all the way to school .  His stories often illicit a “Umm” or “Uh-huh” response from me.  He tells me, “Mommy, when you say “Uh-huh” it means you are not listening.  Wow!  He’s perceptive that kid!

This probably helps explain why I didn’t understand Diego’s story about “No Hats,” which he would share with me on our way to school.  Whenever Diego and I turned onto the street near his school, he would tell me, “Mommy, No Hats! Why can’t  we wear hats to school? Maybe because it’s too windy and they will blow away?” 

“Mmm..Uh-huh,” I respond, as I negotiate a parking space near the school.  This went on for several days until it finally dawned on me to ask him what he was talking about. 

Diego sighed, as if he knew that I hadn’t been paying attention all these days. He was right.

Diego then explained, “The sign says, ‘No Hats’.  It says ‘Hats are not allowed.'”

I looked at him confused.  “What sign are you talking about?”   He said, this sign:

Maybe I should start paying closer attention. Or maybe Diego should learn to read.