Pumpkins, Pink Eye, and Dealing with Disappointment

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(Orc pumpkin suggested by Benjamin, executed by Daniel)

Last year Benjamin was 3 and it was the first he’d ever heard of Halloween. Not that we’re opposed, it’s just that we’re lazy we didn’t see a need to load him up with candy or tear our hair out making costumes if he was just as happy not knowing. But last year, his toddler sleuthiness sniffed it out and he talked about nothing else. So, we set him up with a Darth Vadar costume and he lost his little mind over my parents’ neighborhood’s party and trick-or-treating. Last November the 1st he woke up wondering if it was Halloween again yet. Poor kid is candy-deprived over here big time.

So you can imagine how many times this week he’s asked, “IS IT HALLOWEEN YET?!” and how he’s told Lucy that there are people with CANDY and they just GIVE IT OUT. What could be more fun, right?

I’ll tell you what’s not more fun: pink eye. Lucy had it last week, and although I’m feeling under the weather, I thought we could still all go to the party of his dreams until he woke up from nap with two red and goopy eyes. Big sigh. Can’t expose other kids to that, it’s just not fair to get other people’s kids sick and I try so hard to be conscientious. But the thought of telling him that Halloween was cancelled was just breaking my heart.

So, I did what anybody who needs advice does and called my mother. No, I don’t mean that everyone calls their mother when they need advice, I mean they call MY mother. Seriously, my parents are like a coveted fountain filled of precious water of advice in the greater North Florida area. Can’t tell you how many times someone has told me, “I was just over at your parents’ house because I needed advice on….”

Anyhow, I just hated the thought that after all the anticipation, Benjamin would have to be cooped up instead of Halloween merry-making. I called with a trembly what-kind-of-world-is-this-where-4-year-olds-get-pinkeye-and-can’t-go-to-Halloween-parties kind of voice. And, not unexpectedly, she gave some good advice:

This is disappointing and sad. But it won’t help Benjamin if YOU fall apart over this. Here’s your chance to teach him how to make the best out of disappointment: something he’ll need to do over and over again for the rest of his life. Make a new plan and if YOU’RE not upset, he won’t be either. Why don’t you channel the energy you’re using being disappointed into making this a special night.

Duh. I tend to go the Anne of Green Gables route in life:

Marilla Cuthbert: You set your heart too much on frivolous things and then crash down into despair when you don’t get them.
Anne Shirley: I know. I can’t help flying up on the wings of anticipation. It’s as glorious as soaring through a sunset… almost pays for the thud.
Marilla Cuthbert: Well, maybe it does. But I’d rather walk calmly along and do without flying AND thud.

OK. Anne tangent over.

How many times do I lose sight of the BIG PICTURE of parenting because I’m stuck in one isolated situation? Isn’t every moment a teaching moment?

So, I called Daniel and we made a plan to order GF pizza and take the kids around the neighborhood in their costumes for a few minutes and then settle in with a movie. And, big shocker to me, Benjamin didn’t seem to care that the plan changed. Looking forward to a special night with my family and wishing you a fantastic All Hallows Eve! And don’t forget to go to Mass tomorrow!

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  1. says

    Oh, friend, this is so timely. No pink eye here, but crazy weather that has caused the local police to postpone trick or treating until tomorrow. Which is fine and I totally understand and appreciate, but try explaining how it can possibly be Halloween *without* trick or treating to a five year old? (sigh)

    Your post was just the reminder about perspective I needed (wise mama, you have there) and we are making the best of it over here with pumpkin pie, pizza, and silliness in our costumes until tomorrow.

    Hope you’re all well and healthy soon! xoxo

  2. says

    Ugh, so much being sick! My toddler woke up with the croup last week, and all I could think was “where’s my ipecac?” and that Matthew needed to go for the doctor. Ha. Apparently, though, they don’t give ipecac for it anymore…

  3. melanie says

    breast milk works wonders on pink eye. it’s easiest to express it and then use an eye dropper to place it in the eye. it works better than anything else! stops itching and reduces swelling quickly. works faster, with fewer applications, than anything the doctor can give you.

  4. says

    Wow! I can relate. Last Easter my daughter had pink eye. She was only 17-months-old, so she didn’t know any different, but I was SO UPSET *for* her. I selfishly was pretty dramatic about the whole situation too.

    It ended up being fine. We did an egg hunt with the cousins a few days later, which was awesome for them. And it drove home the reality that Easter is a season, not just a day.

  5. says

    A timely post. On Halloween, I was feeling disappointed because my son didn’t get to experience a full night of fun and haunts, as it was complicated by several difficulties. It’s an expectation I set for myself more than for him, in order to resurrect those feelings of when I was young. There were probably only two houses that we visited, hand-in-hand, and I got there . . . had that little light of joy and childhood magic, really felt it. But that was it. Later that night, I was lamenting that it had been so short, but then I thought . . . you know what? If he had those few minutes, that was plenty! And who’s to say the whole night wasn’t filled with magic for him, despite his Mama’s stress over things being less than ideal! We grown-ups are very silly sometimes. c;

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