What shall we receive in our little orange plastic ubiquitous pumpkin this year? There might be a candy bar, could be some sort of gummy somethings, maybe a mini bag o’pretzels, then again maybe we’ll get a rock. It all depends on whether the whack-a-doodle three-year old will freak out on us on the sidewalk, in full costume, in the dark, in front of all our neighbors. We had no idea what to expect.
Both of us Daddies have struggled as of late. Our son seems to be in the throes of this uber-taxing phase. I have begun to wonder if the foster care situation has begun to take some sort of toll on him. This can’t be just a developmental phase. It isn’t possible that all parents suffer the barrage of bad behavior that we have experienced over the last several weeks. It has been exhausting, and most of all, defeating as a parent.
But it’s Halloween and so we donned our costume and stepped outside with some trepidation. Aside from a little confusion about how the trick-or-treat thing works, it seemed to go well. We met up with our neighbors and friends and he linked up with his buddy. They trudged down each block and appeared at each door together. At every stop, on every stoop, before the candy was dropped into the pumpkin, T asked the same question, “Daddy can you help me open my candy?” The same answer, “No, let’s wait until we get home.” He dutifully moved on, knowing that at every door there was another neighbor holding another bowl with more candy. Other than the fact that he and his buddy tried several times to double-dip some of the houses and insisted on climbing the stoop of houses where no one was home, there were no problems.
While little T and his band of merry little men continued to hit up the neighbors for treats, I carted the little Lucas around. As we approached a set of trick-or-treating parents on the sidewalk, the little Pooh Bear strapped to my chest belted out a startlingly loud, “GRRRRRRRR!” as if he was trying to scare them. They looked at him with big smiles also a little surprised. My baby growls, what can I say. He is the most vocal when we are in the car together. Drive anywhere and the little munchkin entertains himself with a bevy of sounds from spittle-laced raspberries, to ogre under the bridge howls and snarls. It’s just a coincidence that he decided to pipe up during the Halloween festivities.
With the pumpkin quickly filling up and the cold air beginning to hit, we made it back to our street. Once we parted ways with our happy band of parents and goblins and made our way home, it was time to view the spoils. I helped the little guy dump the treasure on a table and then we began to sort through the pieces that we, I mean he wanted to eat. But first, I established the rules—only two pieces of candy.
Halloween day was an exhaustive day of no nap, tirades, spats, kicking and screaming in parking lots. It was not about to be prolonged by sugar-happy-candy engorging. At that he quickly sorted through the wrapped items and made his selection. He ate heartily and the tootsie roll and milk chocolate coated his face around his mouth as if he had a five o’clock shadow. For whatever reason, it seemed to be enough and he did not put up an argument to have more.
As we prepared both little boys for bed, there was nary a whimper, just simple cooperation. As Darrow read books, T’s eyes were droopy. When I went to kiss him goodnight, he had pulled up the comforter and his eyes were barely open. I checked on him a few minutes later—he was completely gone. I didn’t get a rock after all.