You can now find Capital Mom at www.capitalmom.ca

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bosom buddies

The myth of the best friend was planted early with me. The one true friend. The only one you will need.

I lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of a certain red haired young lady. Anne. With an "e". She may not have had a family, she may have had to convince an initially reluctant family to be hers, but Anne of Green Gables always had her Diana. Always together, fighting off the mean girls. Always forgiven, even when drunk off of raspberry cordial. It didn't matter what happened, they always came back to each other. Bosom buddies.

I had to learn that it isn't easy to find a friend like that. One friend who will be everything to you. I kept looking, thinking that my Diana was just across the next field or in the next classroom.

Finally I had to learn that no one person can be everything to you. I stopped looking for her. And then I became a better and more thankful friend to the ones I already had.

*

I don't want to be your friend anymore I hear her yell, one of the teachables she has brought home from kindergarten. Her friend starts to cry and runs away, devastated that my girl is going to stop being her friend. I pause for a moment before making my way across the park to where the girl stands on the play structure. I think about all the things I want to tell her.

It's hard to find good friends I would say. Don't throw this one away so easily.

It isn't true I would say. Don't think that someone else will quickly take her place.

Be careful what you say I would say. Don't start saying things you don't mean to your friends. They will believe you and then you can never take them back.

When I finally reach her I speak to her in my stern voice. I tell her that it isn't nice to say I don't want to be your friend anymore. I remind her that she made her friend cry. I ask her how she thinks her friend feels. I ask her how she would feel.

*

He laughs as he tries to gets the story out, standing with our friend in the kitchen.

The girls were playing he starts. And your daughter he looks at our friend, yelled at the girl. "You aren't my friend anymore!"

She gets that from daycare... our friend begins to explains.

Oh no I groaned. What did she do?

She yelled right back. "You can't stop being my friend!"

*

She might not find her one true friend. No Diana, no bosom buddy. But I take great delight in knowing she recognizes a good friend when she sees one. And that she won't let her go.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The bus

Paper flowers
Pink and blue
Clutched tightly in their mittened hands

We sit at the back of the bus
He faces forward towards his dad
She kneels and watches out the back window

The bus was crowded when we got on
I was cold from playing in the snow
They were full from the cookies and treats at the craft sale
Mommy feed me he said to me
Perfect in his pronunciation

She headed straight for the back
Past the crowed seats
Climbing up and squeezing a young woman into the corner

She starts to take off her boots
Her socks
What are you doing? I ask
My socks are bothering me she says
It's hard when socks slip down says the young woman
I nod and hurry to get her dressed as the bus heads towards our stop

The door opens and we hustle the kids down the aisle
I pick up the boy
The husband grabs the girl's hand
I left the door open for you calls the drive from the front
Thank you I say as we step onto the sidewalk
And begin our walk home

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bundled

The snow whipped through the air before falling softly to the ground. The kids and I watched it out the window. They begged to go out and play in the first snow of the season.

We dug their new snowsuits out of the upstairs cupboard. I convinced them to take off their pajamas and put on clothes before pulling on their snow pants. They agreed. Eventually.

Half an hour later we stepped out the door. Two children bundled in snow pants, snow jackets, hats, mitts and boots tottered out onto the porch and down the stairs. They exclaimed their love for the cold and the white fluff settling on their shoulders.

We dropped off a loaf of homemade bread to our neighbours and then made our way to the mailbox around the corner. Half way there the boy yelled at me to pick him up. Steps from the mailbox the kids cried as the wind tore down the street and through us. The letters were dropped quickly into the mailbox and we headed home, complaints being uttered by everyone four and under.

At the corner of our street the girl changed her mind. She wanted to go play in the empty tennis court. We ran back and forth across the snow covered court and watched our foot prints appear like magic. We tramped out letters and numbers and shapes.

We headed home to the promise of hot chocolate.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Onion rings

The husband stood beside the stove, poised over the cutting board to chop up the ginger that would be tossed into the hot oil sizzling in the pan. He was on the precipice of dinner, and I pulled him back.

Can we order in? I asked, finally telling him about the late afternoon that made the loveliness of the rest of the day disappear in a haze of tears. The boy cried for fifteen minutes before the teenager who was coming to play with the kids showed up at the door. Mommy no go he sobbed as he clutched my chest, fingers entwined in my shirt just in case I tried to set him down. I thought I should prepare them that I planned to sneak out to run a few errands. My mistake. When the teen showed up the boy became hysterical. Lacking the energy to deal with a crying child and a sixteen year old boy unsure of how to deal with a crying child, I sent the teenager home. My boy cried for another 15 minutes while he sat on my lap, my free arm around the girl's shoulders.

The boy would likely be disapointed to know that all his hysterics did was convince me of the importance of leaving him with a babysitter every once in awhile. Now I just need to find someone capable of listening to Mommy no go on repeat while watching tears stream down his angelic face. I am hoeful that I already have a lead.

Dinner was the perfect antidote to the afternoon. The four of us sat happily around the table eating our take-out veggie burgers and sides from the joint down the street.  The girl ate all her pickle. Both kids drank all the chocolate milkshake we poured into their child sized cups.

That's an onion ring I told the girl when she picked up the foreign looking circle of fried goodness. An onion ring? she asked. Is there onion in it? Yes I told her. Did you know that when I was a little girl I would go and get onion rings and root beer in a frosted cup after dance class on Saturdays? On Saturdays? she wanted to know. Not on Sundays. No, I answered, not on Sundays.

The girl twirled the onion ring on her finger. Around and around. She took a bite and then spat it out onto the table. I watched as she freed the onion piece from the batter, licked it and then surreptitiously dropped it to the floor. Biting into the batter she finally raised her head. Mmm, onions rings are good she said to me. Thank you for this amazing dinner.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Howl

He sits in the middle of the hallway and cries. Big tears that seems to be endless. The front door has just shut behind his dad and sister on their way to the school bus drop off. He wants to go too.

I sit him on my lap and hold him tight. Dad asked you if you wanted to go and you said no I told him. Next time if you want to go you have to say yes. Then you'll be ready in time. That makes him cry even harder.

I start to cry too. Loud, exaggerated howling sobs that echo his. He stops for a moment to look at me. Then he laughs. He laughs as I continue to wail, a smile on my face. I am determined to outdo him.

We are quiet for a few minutes, sitting together under a warm blanket. Then he remembers the injustice of it all and his cries start again. So do mine.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Elsewhere

I am very excited to have one of my blog posts syndicated at BlogHer. The post Once upon a time can be read on the BlogHer site, as can many other fabulous posts by women bloggers. 

Her and I

We arrive late. With the last of the stragglers we scurry to find a seat. I try up near the front on the right but there is no room, so I herd her around to the other side of the stage. There I squeeze us into two seats on the floor. She has to arch her head to see the performers at the front of the room. She doesn't seem to mind.

She watches the actors as they move about and dance and sing. Every so often she turns to me, her nose scrunched up and smiles her happy grin.

She decides she wants to be closer and so she walks over the legs of other parents and around those seated on the floor until she is at the front of the room where dozens of kids sit cross legged watching the show. She finds a spot and sits at the back. She turns to wave at me. I wave back.

Every so often she stands up to get a better view of the actors lying on the ground. She doesn't want to miss anything. I wait until she checks that I am watching her and then motion to her to sit back down. She does.

When the show ends I drag her over to say hi to some friends, but she has no interest in that. She has no interest in the crafts or activities on offer for kids in the lobby. None at all. The show is over and now she is ready for the next adventure.

*

It's a long walk and I am cold by the time we arrive. I welcome the warmth of the building as we enter through the front door. I would be happy to stand there and soak it all in but the girl is already off, and I follow after her.

She weaves around people and tables piled high with crafts. I remind her to look with her eyes and not to touch. I think she hears me but she doesn't acknowledge my words. She keeps going until she sees the table of cookies being sold by some kids. That stops her.

I promise her a cookie after we have eaten. This is my favorite craft show of the season, in part because of the large quantity of free vegetarian food on offer. We load up our plates and head back to the room with the tables covered in plastic tablecloths. The girl tries a bit of everything but it is too spicy for her liking. While I savor it all, she eats three dill pickles. And then her cookie.

When we are done eating we wander the narrow aisles between the tables. She wants to touch everything. The little Santas. The porcelain plates. The vintage rings. I want to stop and look but she moves fast. She skirts from table to table until she has seen them all.

We play outside on the giant playstructure that she doesn't want to leave until our friends arrive. I manage to convince her to head back in. I watch the girl and her friend climb and play and amuse themselves while my friend shops. They play together so nicely. Only once do I have to step in and ask them to resolve their fight. Does it really matter whether or not one can talk while they are sleeping? Apparently it does.

We all walk home together.  I push the two girls in my double stroller and listen to them chatter. My friend walks beside me pushing an empty stroller.

*

A day with just her and I. Long overdue. Worth the wait.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Splat

Paintbrush in hand I stood in front of the small blank canvas hanging on the wall. It looked like it was waiting there for me.

I bent down to the tray of paint sitting on the white bench and dipped my brush into one of the four colours I had selected. Black, I thought, I'll start with black. My brush was twirled in the thick paint until I was satisfied and then I lifted it out with a perfectly big gob of paint dangling from the end. I took a step back. I raised my arm until the paintbrush was level with my head. I flicked my arm and watched the paint fly through the air and hit the canvas. Splat.

I did it again. And again. I dipped my brush in and out of the paints until they started to blend and create new colours I could fling against the bright canvas now hanging in front of me. Black. Pink. White. Blue. Lines and dots of colour mingling together in a random fashion.

The large rectangular canvas on the floor was there for all of us to work on. Using brushes in both hands, syringes full of watered down paint and small balloons we popped in our hands we stood above it and created. Layers upon layers of paint were laid down. All the colours you could imagine. I couldn't walk away.

The hard part of abstract expressionism is knowing when you are done said Emaly. I didn't want to ever be done. Despite the spontaneous nature of the painting, I longed to order it. All I could think when I looked at it was It needs more blue over there to balance off the the pink. And that corner needs something more. Maybe some orange. And some larger blobs of paint at the bottom would be good. And. And...

I could have stood there all night. Adding more paint. Making small changes. Adding and making and changing. Until the abstractness of it all had been rendered orderly in my mind.

*

Thanks to Emaly for hosting myself and some other Ottawa bloggers for a night of splatter painting. I think I need to do that again. Maybe every day. But not at my house. It's a little messy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hands

I grab their hands as we leave the park. His left hand in my right. Her right hand in my left. I squeeze them tight as we cross the street.

His hand is cold. His fingers feel like little icicles despite the seasonally warm November day. It's just like my hand whenever I am outside for more then five minutes. Gloves were offered but of course he wouldn't wear them.

Her hand is warm. I am started by the heat radiating from it. She is a portable furnace, that girl, happy to run through the park in only a t-shirt while I huddle in my coat. My own hand begins to warm just from holding hers.

On the sidewalk they both let go and run ahead of me. Suddenly empty handed, I follow behind them.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Once upon a time

We used to look like them. Be like them. Leaving the dark theatre they hold hands and chat about the movie. I watch as his arm goes around her waist and he pulls her close. Following them down the wide spiral staircase I wonder what they will do now. Stop at a cafe where they will linger for hours over coffee, sometimes reading and sometimes talking? Head for an early dinner at their favourite restaurant? Maybe even go their separate ways, pressing tight against each other for a long lingering kiss before making plans to see each other again soon.

We used to be like that. Once upon a time.

*

I woke up tired on Sunday. My body was tired, but my spirit was tired too. Tired of everything. The constant going and moving and never stopping. The constant demands and pleas and negotiations. Tired of all of it. The constantness of motherhood.

I want to lie in bed all day. I want to sit on the couch reading a book. I want to curl up in a chair and watch tv without worrying that it is past my bedtime and if I don't go to sleep right now I will have to function tomorrow on less then five hours of sleep. I want to be selfish. I want my life to be about me.

I have these days every once in a while. They sneak up on me out of nowhere and flatten me under their weight of longing. I try to fight them off. Tell myself to keep going, try harder, get through it. But the problem isn't my unhappiness with the life I have, it's that I suddenly and momentarily miss my old life. The life that was just about me.

*

The husband tells me to go. To go out and be alone. To take the time on this Sunday to regain my inner equilibrium. Or at least to try.

I pause and consider rejecting his offer. As much as I want it, and I do want it, guilt seeps into my thoughts before I can utter a yes. Because as much as I am tired, so is he. Because as much as I want time by myself, time away, so does he.

Okay I say and leave him to an afternoon with the kids. I sit alone in a dark room full of strangers immersing myself in the make believe lives of imaginary people. I laugh out loud. I eat too much popcorn. I ignore the world around me and focus only on the moving pictures projected high above my head. I do nothing but be.

*

I look at them and I see us the way we were. We would to go to weekend matinees. We would spend afternoons in coffee shops reading and talking. We would go for dinner in restaurants with table cloths. We would stand kissing on the street corner for all the world to see.

We used to be like that. I tell myself we will again. When the kids are older. When family comes to visit. When we find a babysitter. There will come a time when it won’t be one or the other. When the person walking out the door won’t have to ignore the guilt as they wave goodbye. When the one staying home won’t smile and wish it was their turn instead.

*

Once upon a time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Blow

Mommy blow he says holding up a quarter piece of his grilled cheese sandwich. He asks me as if the power of my breath alone can cool the hot slices of bread and melted cheese that I just removed from the fry pan. As if my exhale is more powerful then time.

But he doesn't want to wait. He wants me.

So I blow.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lunchtime

I decided to make tomato soup again for lunch. The kids wanted to help. Of course.

We all sat around the kitchen table. The boy put the onion skins in the compost bowl and the girl put the cut red onion pieces in her bowl. Until her finger started to sting and her eyes watered. Then she sat with her finger in a cup of water while she complained at length that I wouldn't let her add the onions to the pot on the stove. The boy put his finger in a cup of water in solidarity.

The soup cooked on the stove while the kids helped me make homemade fries. I cut the potatoes and they put them in their bowls. There was much stirring. With whisks.

Abandoning their posts as sou-chefs, the kids sat on the couch in the sunroom reading books while I blended the soup and poured it out into three bowls to cool.  Two ladles full of soup for the kids. Three for me.

The girl ate half of the soup in her bowl. He brother sat beside her gobbling the warm fries. Slow down I said to him. Finish one before you eat another. Recognizing the wisdom of my words the boy bent over his plate and pushed three half-crewed fries out of his mouth with a flick of his tongue. Then he picked up a fresh fry, dragged it through the puddle of ketchup on his plate and jammed it into his mouth.

I scrapped the half soup/ half crouton mixture from the boy's bowl into my own. I added the girl's lukewarm leftovers and stirred it all together. The girl sat across from me writing out TOMATO on her magnetic drawing tablet. Through the open doorway I caught a glimpse of a naked meowing boy crawling down the hallway towards the kitchen.

Returning to the dining room the boy meowed pitifully at his sister from under the table until she reached down and fed him a fry. Satisfied, he meowed in thanks and continued on his way.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hallway

I wake at the same time every morning. Shortly before the boy, but still too early for the hour to be considered decent. I lie in bed staring at the dark room, trying to decide what to do. Weighing my options. Contemplating if it is worth it. Figuring out how badly I need to pee.

The bathroom is down the hall, past the room where the girl and boy sleep. Close and yet much too far away. At this hour the boy, always a light sleeper, is easily awoken. All it takes is some poorly chosen footsteps on the wooden floor boards of this old house and his day has begun. And so has ours.

Most mornings I can't resist. I pull the covers off my warm body and cringe at the cool air that surrounds me once I stand. I rub my eyes and struggle to become alert. I brace myself, cross my fingers and say a little prayer as I start down the hall.

There is a secret, discovered through trial and error, but I will share it with you. Like a rock climber scaling the craggy cliffs high above a torrental sea, you must cling to the railing for dear life. On your tip toes,  place each foot snuglly against the railing, lowering it slowly.  Brace your body weight on the top of the railing, distributing the weight evenly between the wodden banister and the floor. Stretch your legs as wide as possible in order to minimize the number of steps you take. Remain alert on your return journey because any cockiness can result in morning cries on the otherside on the door.

And always, always brace yourself, cross your fingers and say a little prayer.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Smile

You tell me to smile and I twitch up the corners of my mouth. Not a lot, just enough. The dimple on my left cheek is barely dented. My lips are tightly pursed. Caught from the wrong angle it looks like a smirk. This is my smile.

It is a smile that folds inward onto itself and me. It is a smile that protects me from anyone watching. From engaging. And sometimes, from really feeling.

It is a reluctant smile. The one I give when I am asked or expected to smile. The one you will see when I am tired or when I reply I'm fine in answer to your question.

The smile is mine from the six years I spent hiding my braces as a teenager. When nothing seemed worth being happy about anyway. When a smile seemed like cheap currency to buy me freedom from further inspection. It served me well. I kept it.

I never thought about my smile. It just was. In moments of pure joy my smile would expand naturally until it stretched across my entire face. My lips would part slightly and a glimpse of my teeth would be visible. Then, just as suddenly, my mouth would close and my smile would return to normal. Back to a smile that didn't give away too much of me.

I am learning a new smile. I have to remember to use it. I practice it when I am told. For this smile I bare my teeth like a mare at market. All three of my dimples become concave. My mouth is wide. It feels completely unnatural to the unused muscles around my mouth, but I do it.

I like this new smile.

Thank you to Anna from Anna Epp Photography and Beach Mama for this beautiful photo. I love it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Boy

Me boy he says. Yes I reply, you are a boy. Old he tells me. Yes, you are an old boy I nod.

Which toothbrush would you like? I ask him
Boy toothbrush he says
Would you like this red spoon? I ask him.
Boy spoon he says.
Should we read this book? I ask him.
Boy book he says.
Do you want to eat an apple? I ask him.
Boy apple he says.

Whah he says, pretending to rub at his eyes. Are you crying? I ask him. Baby whah he informs me. Are you a baby? I question him as I pull him onto my lap. Me boy he corrects me. Yes, you are a boy I agree with him. But you are still my baby I think to myself.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Friends

She holds the phone close against her ear even though I pressed the speaker button before I handed it to her. She climbs onto the couch next to me and stares intently at the wall as she speaks. What are you doing? she asks her friend on the other end of the line.

A high pitched voice answers back We are playing big sister, little sister.

That's crazy! giggles my girl. Who are you playing with?

We are says her friend.

Who is the big sister? the girl wants to know.

My mom! her friend squeals and I'm the little sister.

The girl giggles again, overcome with the silliness of it all. The silliness of her friend's game. The silliness of hearing her friend's voice float out of the telephone and fill up the space around us.

There was a happiness to the girl's face in that moment. It reflected the openness and excitement she felt in sharing with her friend. It looked so different from the sullen girl that sat by herself on a park bench hours later. I want to be alone she growled at her friend until her friend went off crying. Alone again, the girl lay down on the bench and looked up at the sky.

I don't want to be her friend the girl told me when I chastised her for pushing. That's not a nice thing to say I told her, feeling uncertain about the parenting territory I found myself venturing into. How would you feel if she said she didn't want to be your friend anymore?

She shrugged and looked away. I looked away too.

Later when I carried her on my hip crying and screaming out of the park because she had pushed her friend for a third time, her brother crying and screaming from his seat in the stroller because he didn't want to leave the park, I thought about friendship. The complicated intricacies of sharing toys and snacks. The new relationships and language of the school playground. The tears and heart ache that come from the friends we love the most.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Searching for Bliss

It feels strange to sit for hours on end doing nothing but learning. My brain quickly overloads and I need to pour myself another coffee, maybe just one more, to make it through. People talk, I listen. People talk, I type. I think back to my school days when I would drag a pen across my notebook paper trying to write as fast as the teacher was talking. Now I type my thoughts and press send, watching as they disappear into the invisible world of Twitter. Never forgetting the hashtag.

BlissDom Canada was my second social media conference. I liked it more and less then BlogHer'10. I liked that it was small. I had a chance to meet and connect with more people then I did last August. I liked that the Canadian perspective was always present. I liked that I found myself thinking and thinking about where I am and what I want to do next.

It would be hard to top BlogHer'10. I was full of excitement and giddy to be at my first conference. I was inspired by many of the writing sessions. I was in New York City. Nothing can top New York City.

They both challenged me. I can tell that they will both change me. Already BlogHer'10 has lead me in some new directions. I have started a writing group with other local bloggers. I am exploring fiction writing. I have a better understanding of who I am as a blogger.

I learnt a lot at BlissDom. It exceeded most of my expectations and I am so glad that I went. I would need another three days away just to process all I heard. But what I wanted most from BlissDom I didn't quite get. I wanted to the answer to my question "what next?". Where do I go now? I wanted to know how to brand myself and Capital Mom. I wanted to be told how.

Maybe no one can tell me that. Maybe there is no answer. No easy one anyway. Maybe all I can do is keep stumbling along, grabbing my moments to think and write here at night when the kids are sleeping or in the afternoon when the boy has a nap. Keep trying to draw all the pieces together in my mind and figure out where I go from here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween candy

Stepping off the school bus she locked onto my gaze and the first words out of her mouth were Can I have my candy? She marched into the house, dropping her coat and backpack as she walked, until she stood in the middle of the hallway. Not even waiting for me to close the door or take off my own coat she asked Can I have my candy? Considering that she had been denied the candy at breakfast she probably thought she had demonstrated outstanding patience by waiting until 10:41 am.

Yes I said. You can have your candy and handed over the lollipop, or Popsicle as she had been calling it, that I had confiscated from her that morning. I really didn't think that it would be a good idea to send her off to kindergarten hopped up on sugar. Much better that she be hopped up on sugar around me. Right?

I have no problem with sugar. I quite like sugar myself. I have even gotten over the habit of automatically halving the sugar called for in every recipe. It was a throwback to my childhood and it drove the husband crazy. If you are going to use sugar then use the sugar he would say. So now I use the sugar.

What I like is sugar in moderation. I was never a chocolate lover until I got pregnant so I could make my bag of Halloween candy last until Christmas. It always felt like a personal victory if I still had a few pieces hanging around by the New Year. By then I would have gotten some Christmas candy and my challenge became making that last until Easter.

While I may not have focused on the eating of the candy as a child, I was highly focused on collecting the candy. I liked to plan my trick-or-treat routes to optimize my candy acquisition and minimize the number of dark houses and one sided streets. Halloween is serious business. A quick treat-or-treat with a few Halloween apples thrown in to break up the rhythm and before you know it the pillow case is being dragged from house to house.

Walking the cold, dark streets last night I thought of that younger me as I watched the husband sprint to keep up with the girl and her two friends. The girl was quick like a flash as she climbed the stairs in her Snow White costume handed down from my cousins, a large tear where the skirt and bodice met attesting to the sacrifices that must be made in the name of candy. Up to the front door and down again she went as she tried to keep up with the others and they tried to keep up with her.

From half a block away I watched her and her posse cross the street to start back down the other side. I held the boy's pink mitted hand in mine, stopping to ask him if he would like to trick-or-treat at this house. Sometimes he said yes, sometimes no. Eventually I picked up my tired grey mouse and carried him in my arms, pulling the wagon he refused to sit in behind me.

Back home the boy's bag was full and the girl's was fuller. With the lateness of the hour and their collective tiredness, neither protested too much when they were only allowed one treat before bed. The girl's request to sleep with her bag of candy was refused, me imagining her waking in the middle of the night to sort through it looking for suckers, and only after the bags were tucked away in a spot deemed secure enough did the kids both head up to bed.

As she ages the girl will come to understand the wisdom of sleeping with her hard earned bag of candy. Shortly after both kids were asleep I sat on the couch picking through the bags and sorting them into keep and giveaway piles. Some for them, some for me. I mean, some for them, some for the husband to take to work. I did leave the kids a bit of everything in equal numbers. This morning I found myself wishing I had left them even less.

When not having to deal with the girl's constant question of Can I have my candy?, I had to listen to her asking when she can have another one. The lollipop I handed her in the front hallway was quickly devoured, as was the chocolate bar the boy chose. When I asked him where his candy was he opened his mouth to show me the entire bar he had fit in his mouth and was happily chewing on.

I said No more. I was going to be firm. Then the girl found a lollipop on the floor. Before I noticed she was hiding under a blanket on the couch clutching the lollipop tightly in her grip. I decided I couldn't face the physical fight needed to free it from her grasp. She said she wouldn't eat it but every so often I would hear rustling sounds. When I saw she was carefully peeling back one corner to lick it, I caved and told her she could have it after she ate her lunch. She was pleased. After she ate it she started asking for more.

Bringing candy into the house is complicated, especially when neither of the kids are used to it. The boy isn't as interested, but I am pretty sure the girl would sit happily on the floor and work her way through her entire bag. And I would live in fear of a repeat of last year the entire time.

Halloween treats do have their usefulness. By mid-afternoon I was desperate to lie down and close my eyes. I grabbed two small bags of chips on the way up the stairs and sent the kids to eat them in the playroom. I crawled underneath the covers in my warm bed and spent a blissful two minutes doing nothing but listening to the loud crunching sounds from down the hallway. Eyes closed, I said a quick Halloween thank you as I heard their feet come pounding towards me and then any other thoughts were lost as I tried to defend myself against the onslaught of little bodies climbing on top of mine.