It’s almost Halloween again, which means another milestone to document for the History of Our Family. I love-love-love First Day of School photos. My children are dressed carefully, they’re alert and eager to please, they’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. They’re not willing to admit it publicly, perhaps, but each year they’re proud of their new status, and so they pose willingly as a record of the occasion. I love the pictures, and I love seeing my friends’ pictures. This year I ended up weeping at my Facebook feed, jam-packed with kids I’d known since toddlerhood who are entering puberty (!!).
The Halloween photo is always more challenging. The kids are ready to go! They want to run off with their friends, they want to get some candy, they want to adjust their costumes, and they don’t want to stop and pose for pictures. I was thinking about this last night, and my first thought was of J’s first Halloween photos. They’re not actually super-flattering.
She was an October 1st baby, so she managed to sleep through the entire costume experience. I literally dressed her in a pumpkin outfit, took photographs, walked her around the neighborhood with my toddler, and changed her out of the pumpkin costume without ever waking her up. In fact, Cute W was appalled that I was disturbing her, but I didn’t want to miss trick-or-treating. Last night I was thinking that this was a symptom of the cockiness that infects the mother of a second child who is absolutely certain that she knows how to handle stuff now before the smackdown that reminds her that parenthood is not necessarily mastered on the first child. But this morning I looked up my dates and realized that I’d already had my parenting smackdown, in the form of a hospitalization for sweet J! So now I’m thinking that I was also motivated by a massive urge to get out of the house, because we’d stayed quarantined for fear that J would get another high fever before her immune system kicked in (that was what had happened–she’d gotten a high fever at one week, and when that happens so young the medical professionals go into Red Alert. I can tell you the story sometime).
Okay, so not the most flattering photo. But I was sure I had plenty of other bad ones, so I went on a hunt this morning. Looking, though, it felt like they had a bit of a comic strip feel, so here are a few photos of the past, all taken in rapid succession in a desperate attempt to get the Perfect Halloween Shot Of Our Adorable Children. The captions are historical fiction. In other words, I have made them up, but I have done my best to reflect the characters and the situations with as much accuracy as documentation and memories allow.
M: What?!? J gets to KEEP her trick-or-treat candy when she can’t even say Trick-or-Treat clearly?!? Where is the justice in this world?!?
J: Mommy’s using the scary tone of voice. I wonder why.
M: My life has gone to crap in the last year, I swear to God. This kid doesn’t even know how to eat all of the candy. Why wouldn’t I get the choking hazards, at least? Or maybe it would be better if we DO let her have them. . . .
J: Yes, Daddy. Looking straight ahead. I love you.
M: Look at this incredibly lame, empty bag. And it’s purple, not PINK!! I needed PINK!! Oh, the HUMANITY!!
J: She’s starting to bring me down. I thought that they said that Halloween was going to be fun.
M: I hate my life.
J: Wait! Did the neighbors just give those kids some crinkly paper stuff? I LOVE that crinkly paper stuff! Maybe we should go over there.
M: Are we done yet? Because it’s going to take hours to get all the candy this princess deserves.
J: Umm, this hood is itchy. . . is it important that I wear it?
M: Hula, hula, hula. . . la, la, la. . .
J: Listen to me. I am a witch, but also very beautiful. My shoes are shiny.
M: [Nom, nom, suck. . . ]
J: Excuse me, M? Mom asked you to stop eating candy. We’re supposed to pause and not eat candy for a couple of minutes. Come on, really.
M: [Nom, nom] I am eating delicious Hawaiian rock candy.
J: This isn’t fair. We have to keep standing here and posing and I don’t even have any—. . . .wait a minute!
M: I don’t think that J would notice if I swapped out her Reese’s for some of my Necco Wafers. . . would she?
J: Candy, candy, candy!! School party and neighborhood party and I am flyyying. . . woah! . . . wait, did I actually levitate for a minute? No? Well, I feel really, really goooooooooooooood.
M: Come on, Mom. Take the picture. We’ve got a lot of houses to hit. Let’s go.
J: I’d better put on my annoyed face, too. M loves me best when we have a common enemy. Do I look angry? Because I still feel really awesome. Like, Really. Awesome.
M: Did they just accuse me of being the Disney Princess Pocahontas? I am NOT a Disney Princess. I am the real, historical Pocahontas with real fringe and braids and everything, and I am NOT Tiger Lily and I am NOT a princess. The accusation itself is humiliating.
J: Princesses and fairies are awesome. Halloween is awesome. But I think I might need to eat some more chocolate. Or possibly throw up.