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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Worms and Candy

Yesterday, Aidan got off the bus after school and carefully, thoughtfully walked up the driveway, looking all around on the ground as he walked. Instantly, I knew he was looking for worms to save. It had rained a little bit and Aidan was on a mission to return any and all earth worms to their lovely cozy home of the lawn. It reminded me how insanely, irrationally scared he used to be of worms. A couple years ago, if it rained, I would be in for a day of carrying Aidan around outside while he shrieked in horror at all the worms on the ground. He refused to play outside after it rained. He refused to walk across the driveway. He just couldn't deal with it. He was terrified of worms. 

Many things have changed since our Earth Worm Terror days. Now Aidan is best buddies with any worm he finds. He is able to navigate the worm-filled driveway after a rainstorm. There are so many little things that you forget were a problem, and when you do think about it, you realize how far you have come.

Halloween is another thing that has changed for our kids. It is usually a mine field for them. The excitement and stress of getting costumes on after school, finding friends to trick-or-treat with, ringing strangers' doorbells, getting as much sugar as you can, all lead to meltdowns of epic proportions by the end of the night. Times four. This year went a little bit better in many ways. No one had to wear makeup, so faces felt normal. Ben and Jonah went to a friend's house to share the Halloween festivities. I took Aidan and Ella out to brave the rain, with clear ponchos that I had bought at the dollar store so everyone could still see their costumes. Ella had trouble walking at first because she kept stepping on her poncho. So I got a scissors and cut off a foot of it. She declared with a thrill of amazement in her voice "MOM! You are my HERO! You are amazing! You are the best mom ever!" Sheesh. Who knew that's all it would take to earn Best Mama Of The Year?

Aidan and Ella were thrilled that trick-or-treating time was finally here! Ella couldn't run in her princess shoes (which were too big so I stuffed kleenex in the toes- another Ella-proclaimed Mother Of The Year moment), but she waddled through the puddles as fast as she could as Aidan dashed up driveways ahead of her. Three houses down the street, Aidan had a huge hissy fit about wearing his poncho. Fine. Take it off and get soaked. One block into trick-or-treating, Ella was fussing because her shoes were soaked, Aidan was tired and whiny and wanted to go home because he was wet. Fun times. We headed home to regroup.

The kids changed into dry clothes, but Ella put her costume back on and insisted on going back out to trick-or-treat. Once Alex got home to man the candy station with Aidan, Ella and I went back out into the soggy Halloween evening. That girl was a trooper! She didn't complain once about anything. She walked the whole way and didn't ask to be carried. She took her doorbell ringing very seriously. She loved saying "Twick oh tweet!" to strangers. It was so funny. And fun. And super wet. I kept asking Ella if she was ready to go home and the answer continued to be "No!! Not yet!" I followed her soggy little poncho down the sidewalks of our neighborhood as her tiny purple princess costume sashayed underneath. She was a girl on a mission. She had been promised trick-or-treating, so trick-or-treating we would go until we dropped dead from exhaustion or hypothermia. Or sogginess.

Finally we came home and Ella took a bath to warm up. As I washed her hair, she declared I had "smashed" water into her eyes. (Instead of splashed. Made me laugh so hard.) She also said this had been the best day ever, and she had SO much fun! She asked when we could trick-or-treat again. 

Aidan was done with the whole Halloween thing early, which is typical for him. Ben and Jonah had a blast because they could go do crazy boy fun stuff with their friends while they trick-or-treated. Ella took Halloween very seriously and was excited to finally be able to ring doorbells and get candy. All in all, it wasn't a bad day. Jonah and Ben got home and spread their loot all over the floor in Ben's room. They did their yearly trade tradition- Jonah gave Ben all his candy with peanuts, Ben gave him non-peanut candy. I let them stay up a little late and organize their stash of sugar. When it was bedtime, of course there was fighting, but given the fact that A. fighting is normal at bedtime, and B. they had more sugar than normal in their bodies, this was to be expected. If that was the worst part of our Halloween, that wasn't too terrible.

It's interesting to see your kids changing year after year, and to look back and see how far they have come. Jonah and Ben used to be terrified of trick-or-treaters at the door when they were toddlers. Masks, weird costumes, it all reminded them to much of dreaded puppets. Halloween was very difficult for many years. But it's gotten manageable. I'm grateful for manageable. From worms to trick-or-treating, I have to keep reminding myself of the positive changes the kids are in the midst of. That way when hard times come, I can think about all the things that are going well and improving. Here's to worms and candy!

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