For the record, this halloween, I gave kids a choice between some Halloween party favors- plastic black and also white bats, sticker sets, and ms&ms, and then I offered a gourd for everyone since I have so many. Perhaps a third to half of kids chose something other than candy. The bats were a total hit, and I supplemented with party favor gel pens when I ran out of bats. When I didn't say choose one, kids usually went for the candy- or took both or took more candy. Just about everyone , including some parents were happy to pick a gourd.
My little star didn't want to go trick or treating... perhaps I explained it wrong, but he said that too much candy wasn't good for you. I smiled and agreed. I have told him that, but I haven't exactly forbidden candy. I just don't keep it in the house. However, if we are out and he is offered candy, I certainly let him try it. He seemed to like it when the kids came, and at one point got together some paper clips to offer.
This weekend we went to this birthday party that was held an hour away at a farm tourist market- that is they had farm touristy fun things there. They had hay bales in a maze in a large hoophouse with ropes and swings hidden; they had a hoop house with a huge pit of corn, toys, and a slide. They had a bouncy house. They had a hoop house dedicated partly to decorating pumpkins.
Another hit was a tractor train- a tractor pulls little barrels with seats, one for each kid. My son HAD to ride on this, and when he finally got to do it, I got worried because, he didn't seem to understand until it left that I couldn't go with him. It went a little too fast for me to follow, and it went kind of far away. He left looking distressed and got back distressed. The driver said he was happy in the middle, but I felt really sad that I had let him go. I'm not even sure why I thought it was really safe- they weren't even wearing seat belts, and that tractor, like I said, was not slow enough for me to keep up with. The kids could have tried to climb out... really, I was really glad when he returned. I asked if it had been fun or he'd been scared, and he said scared. Then again, he wanted to do it again. We also had a hay ride, and there were goats and a miniature horse. So the place was really nice... except the porta potty's. Actually you couldn't have nicer cleaner porta pottys, but my little star was not going to use one!
And the party- well, it was a little fast paced- one activity to another where my little star could have spent a long time on each, and a complete meltdown when I found it out it wasn't "time" for the party to be taking the tractor ride when my little star wanted to- I'd even let him get in by then. Perhaps there wouldn't have been a melt down if they had served food at the party. Can you imagine having a party from 12:00-2:00 (and almost an hour drive to get there), and not serve LUNCH? They just had cake- and that was well after 1 pm. My little star licked the frosting and got it all over him. Aside from that issue, it really was a pleasant place for the kids to play. The little girl received gifts, most of them barbies. We gave books, unlike everyone else. The mother told me twice that the little girl loved books, but I can't tell if she was just saying that, but it was nice.
A nice unexpected thing about the party was that aside from the cake and purple drink, they did not give out any sweets. I was expecting big candy halloween theme from the invitation that requested costume wearing, but this did not happen. Every other party we've been at kids have been given a bag containing some candy.
Oh, did I mention my little star wants a birthday party now?
So, how do I make sure its at a reasonable time (ie not nap time, and if its during meal time, providing a meal!), and have enough room to have a big play date... our house is big enough for about three kids (including mine) and their parents, and we've already been to three parties of kids that are not necessarily his best friends (OK, my kid doesn't really have friends, so lets say my best friends- Ok, I don't really have best friends locally, but there are other people I'd want to invite.) I'm totally understanding the having birthday parties some place out of the house that you pay a stack of money to rent out... that exist an hour away- we don't have anything here that I know of.
On the potty training score (if you want to read about that)...well he got messy underwear this weekend at breakfast after a messy diaper in the morning, part of three messy diapers in a row in the mornings, but he also managed to use the toilet at Wendy's- we had to go there after the party to get something to EAT rather than letting him fall asleep in the car. At that point he had not peed in about four hours and it took him about an hour on the toilet, promise of sticker, and lots of water for it to happen. Eventually we found the "pee switch". I held my cool. I figured I could wait as long as it took because I was NOT going to drive an hour with him in desperate need of peeing- and likely to fall asleep. Additionally, he's also managed to use the toilet at home most of the time, and figured out how to poop into it-the stickers do seem to be of some interest, but I don't think he would do it just for a sticker if he really didn't want to try it. I say this because we tried stickers earlier and he was not interested, sticker or not.. He even managed to use the toilet to poop at playcare today... we think... and not take a nap. So perhaps some progress?
After play care today, his teacher explained that my little star had a melt down before lunch today- he was exhibiting classic stalling behavior- apparently a new thing at playcare, but very common at home recently. As far as I can tell, the teacher and I treated it the same way, so I feel better. I thought it had to do with me not being assertive enough, or not treating it properly. I assure you his teacher is assertive enough and is very good at knowing what to do.
My little star slept until 8:30 this morning. Is it darker- yes. Is he going to bed too late? maybe. In any case we are having trouble getting out in the morning, partly because he doesn't want to go anywhere- especially playcare. He'd rather be home with mommy.
Along with a ton of stalling, he also is starting to say thank you when I do something for him without any prompting. Well, that feels nice!