Halloween 2017

If you want to know how my day has gone today, let me tell you this:

We have parent-teacher conferences at Thing 2’s elementary school today and tomorrow.  The PTO asked parents to bring in homemade desserts, for the teachers to enjoy as they stayed late tonight, meeting with parents, and came back all day tomorrow to meet with even more parents of their students.  Last week, I gladly signed up to help out.  I bought all the ingredients to make a cake, even though my middle name isn’t BETTY CROCKER.  And then I promptly FORGOT ALL ABOUT IT, until the little helpful alarm I’d set on my iPhone blared like a fire engine in the darkest hour of the night, alerting me to ‘DROP OFF CAKE AT THING 2’S SCHOOL.’

Yes.  That would be the cake that I forgot to bake.

After signing up to bring in homemade treats.

Which is why I bought a cheesecake, in a plastic, throw-away tub, and dropped off at the school, with my head hung in shame.  I’m sure the PTO will put up a paper sign next to it that reads, “THING 2’S MAMA FORGOT TO BAKE Y’ALL SOMETHING, SO, TEACHERS…  PLEASE, ENJOY THIS STORE-BOUGHT CHEESECAKE.”

I’m sure the phrase STORE-BOUGHT will be circled and highlighted in orange.

What can they expect, though, from the mother of a kindergarten kingpin who keeps bringing home the school cafeteria’s spoons in his lunchbox?

In other news, another Halloween has come and gone.  In an era when our friends are done trick-or-treating, because they’ve finally raised their kids to ages of GO FORTH, AND HAUL IN THE CANDY TREATS ON YOUR OWN, CHILDREN, we still have a five-year-old, who cannot navigate the streets himself, because he can’t remember to look both ways.  In other words, Hubs and I will have to get evening passes from the nursing home in a few years, to push our walkers alongside our son on Halloweens to come.

We’re still the bosses of trick-or-treating for a few more years yet.

The boys carved pumpkins on Monday night, which was the night before Halloween.  It’s because we are completely TIMELY, and never wait until the very last second to do anything.  I believe the word you’re looking for is ORGANIZED.  Which is exactly the reason I bought a cheesecake for the school’s teachers.

On the eve of Halloween, I decided that I’d better grab the monkey by the tail, to help my children build memories of that time we all carved pumpkins together when Thing 2 was five.  I stopped at the grocery store at 4 PM.  That would be the grocery store that had boxes the size of full-grown elephants sitting outside last week, heaped to overflowing with pumpkins that were just right for slicing up into jack-o’-lanterns.

Those boxes were gone.  And do you know how many full-sized pumpkins were left at that grocery store?

The answer is NONE PUMPKINS.

None.  Pumpkins.

But lo!  That store had these itty bitty guys, and I thought to myself, “Well, I think pumpkin carving just got a whole lot easier this year.”  I was pleased with my good fortune, and I bought two small pumpkins for the boys.  And?  Do you know what?  Gutting those gourds was the simplest gutting we’ve ever had.  They were a snap to carve up, and we made a memory in less than thirty minutes, which is a little something I like to call HOLIDAY WIN FOR THE PARENTS.

The next morning, Thing 2 was up early, asking if it was time yet.

Not, “Is it time for school yet?” but “Is it time to trick-or-treat yet?”  Because that’s really a question that all kids like to ask their parents at 6:15 in the morning.

After breakfast, we donned the new Peter Pan costume.

I had to laugh, because one of my good friends asked me if I made that costume.  Clearly, she can’t be THAT GOOD of a friend, because… if she were… she would know that my artistic talent and spiritual gift behind a sewing machine are both DEAD ZERO.  The reason that Amazon Prime exists is to take the pressure off mothers who have talents elsewhere, and NOT in the costume-making department.

Thing 2 was Peter Pan, in his store-bought costume (I’m detecting a theme, here.), but 98% of the people he encountered on Halloween told him what an adorable Robin Hood he was.

And then there was the boy’s costume.

When the boy walked out of his bedroom, dressed for the day, Hubs burst out laughing.  I was left with one eyebrow raised, because WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS THAT COSTUME?

I later learned that he was some hillbilly from a show about guys who live in a trailer park.  And then I was informed, “But, Mom, it’s not really a show you’d approve of.”

Which is why our Netflix password is now going to be changed.  Mama hasn’t ever seen this show called Trailer Park Boys, nor has she even HEARD OF IT, but she ain’t down with poor TV show choices.

And, people… I sent that boy to school dressed like that.  I can only imagine what teachers thought of our family’s reputation.

I rearranged a couple of PE classes on Tuesday, so that I could sneak out of my school and go to Thing 2’s school for his Halloween party.  We had good punch and better treats, and there were all kinds of games.  At one point, my little Peter Pan was sporting a red Kool-Aide mustache.  He slammed his empty punch cup down on his desk and said, “This is the best Halloween party I’ve ever been to!”

Which was… you know… GREAT, seeing as how it was basically THE ONLY Halloween party he’d ever been to!

I’m sure the room mother who planned that party also remembered to bake a homemade dessert for the teachers today.  And her kid has probably never brought home stolen silverware from the lunchroom, either.

By 4:00, we were at swimming lessons, because only Small Town’s local rec center would say, “I think Halloween afternoon would be a TERRIFIC TIME to start a new session of swim lessons!”  Halloween isn’t already crazy, at all.  Swimming, it was!

Ten minutes into his class, Thing 2 grabbed his ear in the pool and screamed.

Now… lest you think this was a NORMAL scream, let me assure you that it was not.  It was the scream of a banshee on fire.  It was the scream of any girl in any low-budget horror movie who pulls back the shower curtain to find a masked guy with an axe in his hand.  It was the scream Sully and Mike and the rest of the Monsters, Inc. crew dreamed of.

And that scream echoed off the walls of that indoor pool, so that nobody could get away from it.

And my kid was the source.

Now… lest you think that this scream STOPPED, please think again.  This scream went on and on AND ON, and our child wasn’t going to stop for anything, as he clutched his ears and let the universe know that HE HAD HIMSELF SOME SERIOUS EAR PAIN.

And THAT, people, is how I came to drag a soaking wet child out of a swimming pool, who was screaming loudly enough to shatter the glass windows in the entire rec center, dried him off, and drove him straight up to his pediatrician’s office.


Of which we knew nothing about.

Because we’d had no other symptoms.

But apparently swimming pool water and raging ear infections don’t blend well together.

Thing 2 tearfully announced at the doctor’s office that all bets were off for Halloween.  He wanted to go home, and he wanted to go to bed, and he was NOT trick-or-treating.  Our beloved pediatrician gave him a giant dose of Motrin, prescribed antibiotics for him, and told us to try to have a good Halloween, as she covered his coat in stickers he was too sick to pick out himself at the end of his appointment.

Twenty-two minutes later, the Motrin kicked in, and it was TRICK-OR-TREATING OR BUST.  Thing 2 was feeling normal again.  The night was BACK ON.

We met our friends, as planned, at 5:30.  Thing 2 and his best buddy, Vivi, tore up the neighborhood.  They walked sixty-two miles, ringing doorbells and banging on doors and begging for free candy, while Vivi’s parents, Hubs, the boy and I all trailed behind them.

Afterward, Thing 2 and Vivi did the traditional Candy Dump, to see who had better stuff, and to initiate and carry out Candy Trades.

Let me just tell you this:  A Candy Trade happened, in which a box of Frozen tattoos was offered in exchange for a packet of Skittles.  The whole thing went sour, there were tears, and the WAY PAST YOUR BEDTIME time was noted by all parents caught in the middle of the Trade That Went Bad.

And THAT ended Halloween 2017.  We brought our Peter Pan home, brushed the sugar out of his teeth, read him two bedtime stories, and he was sound asleep by 8:20.

Which, in the grand scheme of things, was yet another Holiday Win for the Parents!


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