Part of Parenting is realizing those Kodak Moments Don’t Happen When they are Supposed to (Like on Halloween)

My 3.5 year-old little guy lasted about 4 houses tonight for trick or treating.  Then he decided to rip off his turkey costume, first the headpiece, then the plumage then the shirt and pants.  I begged him to keep it on for a picture with his sister, who had happily continued on ringing doorbells with her dad, but he refused.  And spent the rest of the evening in his faded Lightening McQueen briefs.  Sure, I was a little disappointed, but I rolled with it.

At one point, as parents, we realize that our kids are their own person,  can turn on a dime and the picture perfect moments aren’t always when they are supposed to be.   Like the baby who won’t let her godparents hold her on her baptism or the 3 year old who won’t perform “The Little White Duck” the night of the ballet recital, after you paid a bazillion dollars for lessons and the costume.  Or when your little one is sick on Christmas Day and won’t open his presents despite the fact that there are a bunch of out of town relatives waiting for a Kodak moment.

I really admire one of my girlfriends who sent her 4 year-old to stay with his grandparents this Halloween because they don’t get trick or treaters in their rural neighborhood.  The poor kid has been off Halloween since he was about 2 when some adolescents dressed like monsters rang the doorbell and scared the pants off him.  This year, his mother hoped he would be willing to trick or treat with his little sister and enjoy the festivities with the neighborhood children.  However, he shrieked when he saw the Halloween display at CVS in late September, which didn’t bode well for this year.  Instead of cajoling and making him go out in the dark, she packed his little bag and sent him to spend a cozy night with his grandma and grandpa.  Sure, she would have liked to have him run up the walkway to the neighbors’ houses and cutely chirp “trick or treat”, but it wasn’t going to happen, so she made the best of the situation.

We just got back from a trip to see my friend in Colorado.  My daughter was very quiet and shy the entire 3 day trip and just didn’t warm up.  I think she was out of sorts because we were far away from home, and away from her little brother and daddy.  I didn’t feel like my friend got to know the real E.

But I couldn’t make her be more bubbly or talkative when she wasn’t completely comfortable, I just had to let her do her thing.   Part of what makes E. so sweet is her quiet and calm side.  Maybe for our next visit she will show more of her sassy and funny side.

And next Halloween, I will be smart enough to get a picture of the kids in their costumes before we head out for trick or treating.

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