Today is November 4th and I am motivated to wear this month with bells on. It greeted us this weekend with the perfect mix of business and pleasure. A freshly painted baby room and empty dresser eagerly awaiting those newborn sleepers and onesies, a carry-out pizza and movie night on Saturday night, and a Sunday of family time, baby snuggling, and three adorable cousins in their pajamas, reading books and playing a rousing game of Simon Says before bed. October kind of blew in like a tornado and I'm slowly starting to see it settle just in time for this ever important season of thankfulness and reflection. I love this time of year and so much that accompanies it, and am eager to soak in these last two months of our familiar before 2014 begins with great change for the three of us. Two more months of feeling this baby move inside me, of sweet time with just Cruz, and of special planning and preparing for this little lady to join our lives. And all just in time for twinkly lights, snowflakes, and Christmas trees.
I can't close our month of October without reflecting on our wild Halloween and trick-or-treating adventures last Thursday night. My Halloween ended up attributing to well-deserved parenting lesson #272, a lesson I've come to experience many times since earning the title of mom. A lesson that goes something like: Go with the flow. Children are unpredictable. And sometimes, they will surprise the holy heck out of you. And, that? That's called joy.
Cruz and I spent the last two weeks of October sick. Nebulizer treatments and ear infections, coughing fits and sleepless nights. So when Halloween week rolled around, I felt like Scrooge. I honestly contemplated keeping Cruz home from school on Thursday morning because I didn't have a costume for him. His Max costume from last year still fit, yet he had no desire to wear it, and he just didn't seem into the whole dress up thing. I didn't want to spend the time and money on a costume that he refused to wear and didn't see the purpose in forcing him to do something he didn't want to do. I just kind of muddled through the week without a plan or expectation, and the idea of staying in, handing out candy, and watching It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown sounded better and better all the time.
But then Wednesday rolled around and I offered to be a parent helper during Cruz's fall party at school. I vividly remember my own mom coming to school parties when I was a child and I went through the morning in this weird kind of daze, feeling old and special and nostalgic as I helped my baby glue pom poms on a pumpkin, unwrapped fourteen juice box straws, and patiently answered to the label, "Cruz's mom" all morning long. I loved watching him interact with his peers, was proud of how he shared his pumpkin with his friend, and once again overwhelmed with thankfulness for the safe, nurturing place he spends his days.
Thursday, thanks to a pair of $12 John Deere overalls and a gaudy Spongebob sweatshirt turned inside out from Blain's Farm and Fleet, I put together a minion costume from one of our favorite family movies, Despicable Me. We love the minions around our house, and I had fun attempting my first ever homemade Halloween costume. Again, I was careful to not get too invested into this costume, as I had no idea what we were gonna get when it came time to try it on, especially when a dry run turned into Cruz screaming, "Take it off! Take it off! It's cold on my belly!" when I tried to see if the Spongebob sweatshirt fit him. I printed and laminated a Gru sign to tape over the tractor emblem on the front of his bibs, made a set of goggles with two mason jar rims, white construction paper, and a piece of elastic, and found some black pipe cleaner hair to tape to the top of his hood. No expectations, but a perfectly adorable, thrown together costume for under fifteen bucks.
So how'd my boy do as a minion? Well, he loved it. A boy who can feel a forgotten tag on a shirt three layers out or will often go through two or three shirts in the morning before finding just the one fully embraced his minion costume. He patiently waited as I readjusted his overall straps, let Beau tug and pull the pipe cleaners through his hood, and didn't seem to mind that the elastic piece was a little too tight around his hood. No, he stood tall and smiled sweetly as he admired himself in the mirror of our bedroom, carried his orange pumpkin with pride, and embraced every silly tradition of trick-or-treat night with childlike perfection. I'm not sure if it was the homemade costume or the fact that he surprised me so, but I was so proud to watch him that night, so in awe of his cuteness and uniqueness, and overjoyed watching him tromp up to each house, chant his little trick-or-treat or "Happy Halloween" and saying his thank yous about sixteen times at each house.
We trick-or-treated far longer than I expected and Beau and I often shared those "isn't our child the cutest thing in the world?" glimpses as he made his way through the neighborhood with his pumpkin of candy. I loved how he always requested to hold "yous hand" after each house, but refused to let anyone hold his pumpkin as it got heavier throughout the night. I loved how he cared more about ringing the doorbell than actually scoring the candy. I loved his often unprompted "Happy Halloween!" to the neighbors, and the many "look at the little minion" remarks we heard from other trick-or-treaters or parents. Our little minion, who once again surprised this mama and reminded me that the unplanned, unexpected surprises of parenting also bring the most joy.
Other pictures from our Halloween week...
Here's to lots of joy this holiday season. Happy November!