Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I had really grand plans for Halloween. Weeks ago, things looked wonderful: I had plenty of time to put together creative Halloween-themed crafts, someday after storytime my mom friends and I would coordinate when/where we would meet to go trick-or-treating, K and I would paint lots of little pumpkins and put a few out in front of both our now-house and our new-house for decoration, and we'd send one to work with Bob to put on his desk as a cutesy reminder of how much we like him ;-). This weekend we were going to go out and let K pick a pumpkin, then set up shop at the new house and help her carve her first jack-o-lantern. At one point I had even entertained the idea of a homemade costume, like my mom used to sew for my sister and me. It was going to be awesome. 

That's not how it happened. No crafts were made that weren't planned by someone else (thank goodness for K's absurd schedule of extra-curricular toddler activities! She did make the requisite number of themed crafts thanks to her multiple library activities and yoga classes that she attends every week). My mom friends and I all got caught up in our own lives and didn't get to coordinate any Halloween meet-ups. We did, actually, paint a number of small pumpkins -- but they never made it past the top of the microwave cart where I had set them to dry. And the actual pumpkin carving? Yeah. Nope.

Instead, today after leaving Bob's house I made a 30-second pit stop at my house to frantically search for the black pants and top that went underneath K's costume, I chugged Diet Coke on the drive to my grandma's farm to stay awake (. . . it had been a long day) so we could quickly show her K's Elmo getup before heading back to town for trick-or-treating, I threw a bag of old suckers that had been in my basement for a month or two into a big mixing bowl and put it on my porch, and K and I hit the streets to go "treat-treating" by ourselves.

And it was fine. It was fun! K ended up with an almost-full plastic pumpkin bucket of candy, we got a ton of compliments on her (store-bought!) costume, we actually ran into a number of our friends while we were out anyway, and she gleefully shouted "treat-treat!" at most of our neighbors. The bowl-o-suckers that I had left on my porch wasn't emptied by the first greedy middle-schooler that came along, and when we got home almost two hours later it was still half full! (Humanity, I'm impressed and award you two points.)

I think that's one of my biggest parenting challenges: reconciling the differences between the kind of parent I want to be (organized, pro-active, something-close-ish-to-perfect?) with the kind of parent that I actually am (overwhelmed, seat-of-pants, hey-she-probably-won't-remember-anyway-so-this-is-good-enough.) The logical side of my brain knows that K is only two and it's unlikely that she'll someday end up in therapy as a result of not having carved her first pumpkin until the ripe old age of three, and that the fact that we walked around the neighborhood without an entourage of friends probably won't lead to a lifetime of social anxiety or chronic loneliness. I know that. But that annoying other side of my brain is tsktsk-ing me and saying, is "good enough" really good enough for K? Is it?

I don't know. To be honest, it's almost midnight and I'm tired and I can't even begin to think about forming an answer-answer to that question. But right now she's happy, sugar-buzzed and staying up late to watch an OnDemand Dora marathon, so we'll call this one a draw.

Happy Halloween, fellow imperfect parents of the interwebs!


  1. Y'know, you already have an advantage that Erik and I don't - you take K to participate in extra-curricular toddler things. We don't, and Boo seems to be happy anyway.

    Point is, you should judge your success on how happy K was with her day. Was she giddy and over the moon with the activity and her haul? Then you were victorious. :) We took Boo to the mall, then we drove to various friends' houses and then the neighbor's, and he had a BLAST. Will he remember it? Like K, most likely not, but as our children grow older, they will remember the feelings of happiness and of love.

    As parents, all we can do is try. We won't be perfect (and I disbelieve in the idea that there IS a perfect way of parenting), but neither will our children. We just have to call it good enough and deal with each other anyway. And be happy about it.

  2. Oh, the never-ending Mom Guilt! I think every parent worries that they aren't making a Norman Rockwell experience for their children. It's really hard to reconcile how you want to be and how you are. Sounds to me like you've got the right attitude and K is lucky to have such a great mommy!


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