November 1 was not a good day at our house. It all started when I left Abigail’s trick or treating pumpkin on the kitchen counter. I will never make that rookie mom mistake again. This was Abigail’s first year of real “trick or treating.” She caught on with lightening speed that if she walked up to complete strangers on Halloween night they would put candy in her plastic pumpkin. Nevermind that she has never actually had a piece of candy, not because we are on our health high horse but because we just haven’t been there yet. Apparently, even a wrapped piece of candy brings out the worst in kids of all ages.
If she had the vocabulary I’m sure that “mine!” and “gimme!” would have been the two words first out of her mouth upon seeing the evil plastic pumpkin. Oh plastic pumpkin how I grew to loathe you as November 1 unraveled. I’m thinking that obsessed would be a good word to describe Abigail. She couldn’t even have 98% of the candy in her pumpkin, but that didn’t stop her from acting like she could. Looking back I’m thinking I should have just unwrapped that warhead and handed it over. JUST KIDDING.
I tried to hide the pumpkin. In the laundry room. On top of the refrigerator. Beside the microwave. Upstairs. Each time I moved the pumpkin it would send her into screaming hysterics. I think I’ve mentioned before that the girl has perserverance combined with an acute attention to detail? I tried to give her the pumpkin without the candy. Fail. I tried to put only a couple of pieces in the pumpkin. Fail. Fail. Tantrum. Fail.
I should have put the pumpkin away at naptime, but I was too busy eating lunch, raiding Abigail’s plastic pumpkin of all sweet tarts, and catching up on Bravo TV. (Abigail, one day you will probably read this. And when you do, you will be upset because how could I do such a thing? But I will be doing that for many years to come, just as my mother did and you will one day.) Before I knew it you were up and screaming. I dashed upstairs leaving the pumpkin (and sweet tart wrappers) on the coffee table. Oops.
The day continued much the same. We headed to Asia and Olivia’s for a change of scenery and to escape the plastic pumpkin. And when what was supposed to be a “relaxing neighborhood stroll” turned into “Hank act crazy and run away” I had had enough. So we left.
I went where any normal person goes to escape insanity. Walmart! We picked up paints and brushes. I taught long enough to know that the best way to avoid meltdowns and craziness was to bring in some structure. I can’t believe it took me so long to realize it. Guess I’m out of practice.
I’ve painted many tiny hands for many an art project so it was an easy choice. As I mixed colors on a piece of aluminum foil, Ryan walked in. He had already heard about our stressful day and he didn’t waste any time in getting rid of the plastic pumpkin. Abigail hadn’t even noticed. She was running headfirst away from the sugar rush of Halloween to join me in November’s comforting arms.
We’re going to slow down around here. October was full to bursting and it was fun. But we’re going to simplify for the next couple of weeks. It’s time for me to re-prioritize a little. Sometimes in the rush of trying to do so much and be so much I forget that the best thing I can give her is myself. My full attention with nothing planned. A day for her.