Mae taught her little brother this old rhyme today in preparation for trick-or-treating. It’s as funny to them as it must have been to me at one point in time. I remember loving Halloween, just for the candy, which is about how my kids see it too. Thank goodness. I’m a holiday minimalist; I try to do as little as l can get away with doing. There will be no inflatable anythings in the yard and no lights hanging from the eaves ever if I can help it. So, I’m grateful that the kids were ok with their gently used costumes from Goodwill and our simple decorations. Jay didn’t even wear his costume; he wanted to keep on the Spiderman t-shirt he wore to school today . So, we put it on over his coat and he was good to go. Easy peasy.
One huge mistake I’ll have to correct next year is explaining that trick-or-treating playtime. I expected the Mae and Jay to return home a little hyped and ready to eat some candy. So, they ate dinner and Mae did her homework before they hit the streets. Back at home, I let them have two pieces of candy each, and then I announced that it was bath time. You would have thought I tried to take their candy, given the protest they unleashed. They claimed that they hadn’t had any playtime. Really? Any reasonable person should know that joining other kids to skip through the neighborhood in dress-up while singing a rhyme is indeed playtime. Jay didn’t have much fight in him tonight. Mae, on the other hand, asked repeatedly for some computer time and, ignoring my “no’s,” went to the computer and started typing. After I started transferring some of her Halloween candy to my lunchbag (for my co-workers, of course), she left the computer and went upstairs for bath, still crying, of course. I’m sure the whole episode could have been averted had I explained in advance that they would have to go upstairs for bath shortly after returning home. Next year, I’ll know. It’s too much candy for one kid anyway.
Unfortunately, Mae’s school day had a bump in it too. She spent some time in the office because she cried uncontrollably after the little girl who she wants to be her best friend didn’t want to play with her. It was Mae’s first trip to the office this year, which means she went 38 days without being taken to the office. Not bad, especially since the episode didn’t involve any hitting or pushing (as far as I know based on her version of events, all I have at this point). She’s learning and growing, and it’s a huge relief. A lot of the trouble she’s been in so far this year has been within the “normal” range, involving other classmates who were “guilty” along with her. Last Thursday, she and a group of them lost some recess time for creating a “burrito of doom” with the exercise mat during physical education class. I struggled to keep the corners of my mouth from twitching while she told me the story, in part because of the mental image she was creating and in part because I was happy to hear that she was on the same side as her friends in play and not against them, as has so often been the case. We count all victories big and small.