|My little shark. So ready to go trick-or-treating!|
|Off we go!|
|Big Bird greeted all our trick-or-treaters. Chris pushed for the Elmo pattern (way easier), but Charlotte insisted on Big Bird.|
Charlotte had her first "real" Halloween! It was a long day for Mommy, but totally worth it in the end. Miraculously, Lorelei and I made it to Charlotte's Halloween party at school on time. I had to wake her from a nap, which I hate to do, especially because Lorelei was amazingly sleeping NOT IN MY ARMS, to squeeze in a final feeding before hitting the road. Oh well.
I walked into Charlotte's classroom, which is always a little iffy on party days, since she sometimes thinks I'm there to take her home and cause her to miss her party, but Charlotte's face LIT UP and she shouted, "MOMMY!" and ran to me---all decked out as the cutest shark you can imagine. Everyone made a big fuss of Lorelei, but instead of seeming jealous of the attention, Charlotte staked her claim over "MY Lorelei" and rocked the car seat, so everyone would know who she belonged to. I dare say, Charlotte is PROUD of her little sister.
Now, every other little girl in Charlotte's class was a girly princess, fairy, or ballerina. Charlotte was a shark. Sure, a small part of me pines to dress Charlotte in a Belle costume, or maybe even Tinker Bell, but I'm so stinkin' proud of her for being so true to who she is. A month or two ago, I received a giant costume catalog, and Charlotte and I went through it. She said she wanted to dress up as a shark. At school, the kiddos were doing an under the sea week, learning about ocean life, plus one of Charlotte's favorite songs has a verse about a great white shark to which her clever mommy added hand motions that were quite the hit. Sharks had simply caught her fancy. In the weeks that followed, I checked in with Charlotte several times to make sure she was still committed to the shark, before ordering it. Yes, a shark, she insisted.
Still worried this was a phase and wanting to ensure that she'd follow through and wear her costume for the school parade (I know, I'm a control freak), I picked up a back-up costume (a bumble bee) at Target, just in case. I mean, heck. It was $15 or something and could be added to her dress-up box, regardless of what costume she chose.
Days leading up to Halloween, I asked if she'd be a shark or a bee. "Shark!" was always, always the answer.
So, there we were at school, and I was so proud of my determined little shark. We did class photos, and I actually got a great one of her and all her friends, but you know my rule about posting photos of other people's kids' faces on my blog sans permission. We did the parade, and she was making her shark-biting motions (from that song), which of course made her even cuter. She was so, so proud. "Mommy, I'm a SHARK!" she'd cry as we paraded. Next was the requisite face stuffing during the party in her class, of course. You can't have a party without a sugar high.
I brought Charlotte home early and juggled both children for awhile, which I actually managed fairly well. At first. Then things deteriorated. Chris called to tell me that he'd be very late, as roads around Chevy Chase were closed due to fallen trees and power lines from Sandy. I fed Charlotte dinner while Lorelei got fussy. Then, inexplicably, Charlotte had an enormous accident on the floor, which she then proceeded to WALK THROUGH, covering my floors with little pee footprints. So, I dealt with that while Lorelei fussed more loudly, then I cleaned up Charlotte, found new pants and undies, and so on.
Still no Chris.
At this point, trick-or-treaters started showing up, which ratcheted up the chaos. Charlotte ran around, yelling, "Trick or treat! Trick or treat!" and trying to escape through the front door to start her own trick or treating. (I locked it.) Meanwhile, Mommy ran to the garage and busted out a Dogfish Head Punkin (not "pumpkin") Ale, telling myself that doing so was for its festive Halloween-ness, not to keep me from losing my mind.
Still no Chris.
I got Charlotte into her shark costume. She seriously was like a dog scratching at the door to be freed, she was so anxious to go. Chris called. "I'll be home in 5 minutes!" he said. "Hang on until I get there!" He knew how badly Charlotte wanted to go, and the other trick or treaters seemed to be taunting her with each doorbell ring.
Charlotte asked, "Is Lorelei going to people's houses?" (a major part of trick or treating, she realized).
"Nope," I said. "Just Charlotte and Mommy. Lorelei is too little. You have to be a big girl to go trick or treating, like you."
"Oh," Charlotte said pensively. "Lorelei is too little?"
"She's not big like Charlotte?" (I love it when she talks about herself in the third person!)
"Nope. Just Charlotte is big enough to go," I said. Well, this won a satisfied grin from her.
Charlotte knew that when Daddy got home, we'd get to go. When she heard the garage door opening, she ran to the mud room door and, grinning from cute shark ear to shark ear, greeted him as the car pulled in. Oh, Chris just melted at the sight of his girl and swallowed her up into a giant hug.
"Charlotte is now at the age where Halloween is a big deal," I said as I handed him Lorelei. "Next year, we just have to leave work earlier. I think we got too used to it being a holiday for OTHER kids in the neighborhood."
"Yeah," he said. "Live, learn."
FINALLY, we left. I had kind of been dreading trick or treating all day, to be honest. But Chris had said he thought I should do it (he'd stay and greet trick-or-treaters), so Charlotte had some one-on-one time with Mommy, which he thought she needed. I agreed, though I sort of wondered if he was trying to get out of trick-or-treating himself. At any rate, I had worried that Charlotte would be too shy or resist it or cry or freak out. The idea of forcing ourselves to do this Halloween ritual was an exhausting thought.
But, off we went. Oh, that child proved me wrong! She had a grand time! She'd pick which house to go to next, so we had pretty much no method to our madness, and she even said "trick or treat" a few times! And "thank you!" My favorite parts were when she was marching down the sidewalk, shouting--yes, SHOUTING, "I'm a SHARK!" just like during her parade, only louder.
"Are you a big shark, or are you a little shark?" I asked.
"A BIG SHARK!" she said and pretended to eat her prey.
I have to admit, I loved trick-or-treating with Charlotte and felt bad for having dreaded it all day. Just watching her--especially as a shark--was so fun.
And who knows, maybe next year, Charlotte will be a princess? Maybe?
Note. Lorelei was appropriately clad for Halloween in a cute orange and white striped jumper and an adorable pumpkin hat my friend Alisha knitted her, but a huge poop blowout required a major outfit change before I could take any photos. So, take my word for it that Lorelei was also cute as a freaking button.