Saturday, November 5, 2011
I Might Hate Halloween
E is an anxious little boy. He has been since he came home to us. That anxiety is particularly strong at night. Isn't it for all of us? Yes. But at the same time, when you think of what nighttime means to a child who lived in an orphanage, for a child who was probably abandoned at night, your heart hurts.
As parents, we try to protect our children from fear. So we decided not to take E trick or treating this year because some houses have scary decorations and some costumes are scary and we thought the whole thing of going up to random strangers' doors may be scary in itself. We put the boys in their costumes and took them by their grandparents' houses so they could show off their outfits and get a little candy.
While at my in-laws' house, their cousins were about to take off for trick or treating. We didn't realize they would all be heading out right then...we probably should've left before that happened...but there they were, leaving with excitement and buckets and glow bracelets. E wanted to go, not at all sure where they were going, but knowing it looked like fun. We said we were going to stay at Nana and Papa's house, which induced tears. Have you had those moments as a parent? When you know what you're doing is protecting your child and you know he can't handle what he wants to do, but in that moment of tears, you question yourself and you feel like a horrible parent and you want so badly to give in?
I didn't want to be "that parent", you know? I didn't want to be over-protective and ruin all the fun for my kids. But at the same time, I knew. I knew my son and I knew it was for the better and I knew he wouldn't understand, but it was what he needed. I'm sure I'll have many other moments like this in this journey of parenthood!
Well, even after all that, the child has not slept well all week! He's been especially afraid of the dark. He only slept 3 hours Halloween night. Granted he had more candy than usual, but eventually you crash from that, and E never crashed. I think it was just being out at night, seeing people walk around in strange outfits, seeing trick or treaters come to the door at grandparents' houses (some probably had scary costumes).
So after a week of not much sleep and seeing my baby so afraid of the dark, I've determined I just might hate Halloween. Maybe E will be less fearful next year. Or maybe we'll stay home, turn out our front porch light and watch a funny movie and close the blinds on everything scary and bad in the world.