And because so much of their food was falling back OUT of their mouths it was somehow a merging of these animals with Cookie Monster.
(If I had excellent photo editing skills I would have a better visual. Actually, if I had thought ahead and taken a picture with my cell phone... well, I couldn't do that very discreetly, could I?)
I started looking around the room. What I noticed is this: All the people in the room are low income. They have to be to participate in Head Start/ECEAP. But some of us take showers every day, brush our hair, wear clothes that fit, and present ourselves well. And some of us don't. Those who are hygenically minded also chew with their mouths shut.
After dinner the kids got to do activities in one room (brought by Palouse Discovery Science Center peoples) while the parents went to another room to listen to the connection between science and literacy (the star of the night)(unless you were sitting at our table).
We were treated to a woman from the science center, who had a fantastically authentic sciencey accent (Brittish? Australian?), read us a story called "Owl Moon". Then she talked about the details in the pictures and how the narrator (a child) was noticing all kinds of details. In science we call this observing and so here's a great way to read books with your kids, blah, blah, blah.
Somehow the subject got around to her and her kids and how they like to go for walks on Saturday afternoons and find owl pellets. In case you don't know, those are the balls of fur and bones and stuff owls "up chuck" after eating the mice and other nummies in the night. She told us how to tell the difference between pellets and poo. Then she explained her kids get to find them and then she picks them up with gloves on. Later the kids get to dissect them (we did this in fifth grade, whole other side track) to find the mouse bones and other such fun things but she made sure to explain that she sterilizes them first.
The less science minded mommies in the room (and Aiden) were all shuddering and quietly gagging at the thought of all this. One dad asked how she sterilizes the pellets. Her answer was 200 degrees for an hour.
"I save them up in a bag and then when I am heating the oven to make cookies or something I'll just pop those in first," she explained.
This did very little to calm down the gagging mommies (and daddies, including Aiden. Although Aiden was giggling with me about it. He puts on such a brave science face for my benefit. Or maybe he thinks I will mock him. either way.) . In fact, I think the collective gasp and groan was a good sign it was time to draw for more door prizes.
They had several really good door prizes and they had a bunch of crap that Bank of America had donated. We won a Bank of America On Campus t-shirt with a HUGE laundry bag (that says Bank of America), and a Bank of America travel mug. The mug is sitting in the sink until we decide if it's trash or not (it's actually nice-ish. Metal insides) but the rest of the prize went straight to the trash.
What we did not win? One of TWO hotel room stays at La Quinta and Holiday Inn, various packages of kitchen goodies, or an honest to goodness Cougar Helmet worth three hundred big ones. and I don't mean laundry bags.