Let Them Be Little

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'Tis the Season / Holidays/Holy-days / Parenting Skills and Spills

Uncharacteristically for me, and therefore my littles, we had a plan for Halloween costumes weeks ago.

Rowan, after a little second-guessing, had landed on a classic: vampire. Robbie, perhaps nudged by the passion of a new friend’s enthusiasm, would be a zombie. Not too difficult to create, just enough scariness. Perfect.

Then we went to Target.

In the middle of a looooong day of errands, this destination stood out as one that would have All The Halloween Things and was much anticipated.

At every pause to glance at an end cap, every moment contemplating a rainbow hoodie, Rowan asked, “where’s the Halloween stuff?”

Finally, we made it to the seasonal back corner of the store, and there it was, in all its already-picked-over glory.

Even though I’d planned on piecing together our own outfits, we headed straight for the costumes, just to check it out.

And then Robbie saw it, the costume he reeeaally wanted. Zombie? Scary skull-man? Super-hero? No.

A fluffy yellow chick. (I have mistakenly called it a chicken a few times. He has told me, “I prefer you call it a chick.” Duly noted.)

It is not scary. It is not something that will impress the big kids, which he seems so keen to do these days. No, it is sweet and silly and totally freaking adorable and I am all in.

I’m not sure what the obsession is that we have with hurrying our kids to grow up faster. Ok, would I appreciate not hearing “MAMA! CAN YOU WIPE MY BUM?” screamed at me multiple times a day? Or to be able to go into a yarn store and pick something nice out not be completely distracted with a constant stream of “don’t touch that,” “settle down,” and “hey, get over here!” Sure.

But that day will come, soon enough. Soon enough they will not want to snuggle, or hold my hand, or have me sing them a song. They will not let me stroke their hair or read them a story or play with them. They will roll their eyes at my terrible mom jokes (which, to be fair, are definitely worse than dad jokes). They will be like my teenagers, aching to hold onto some threads of innocent childhood while simultaneously straining to head out into the worlds as independent adults. And then they will be grown, off living their own lives, adulting and figuring out what is for dinner every night into eternity, wishing they could make all the world’s hurts go away with a kiss and a cuddle with a favorite stuffy.

So for now, I will let them be little. I will talk to them about serious topics and explain difficult concepts and treat them with respect, while also allowing them to believe in magic and dragons and unicorns and wishes. I will not push them to mature faster.

Rowan, especially, is a sensitive soul. At six years old, he’s only seen a handful of movies, because anything remotely scary or suspenseful or sad or painful is extremely difficult for him. Am I protecting him? Maybe. But we talk about real hard things: slavery, and injustice, death, the effects of climate change, and cancer, to name just a few examples of recent discussions. He knows the world has sharp edges. If he only wants to watch things that make him happy, I’m ok with that. I know plenty of kids don’t have that privilege, but that just means we should be working to make their worlds softer, rather than hardening everyone else.

So I’m going to celebrate that my little wannabe zombie will be a chick instead, and maybe I’ll take his invitation to find a chicken costume myself. Rowan did find a cool vampire costume, and is confident in his choice, and that his face should be blue (I think it’s from a book). Good for him.

On Halloween, they will be silly and hyped-up and drive me bananas, and it will be glorious.

The Author

I'm a quirky queer (she/her/hers) who is constantly questioning. I'm helping some young humans grow up, and trying not to do too much damage in the process. I am a fierce and fiercely feminist pastor. I'm doing my best at home-making, home-renovating, home-steading, and home-schooling. My rainbow life consists of red shoes, conversations around orange fires, yellow-legged chickens, going green, blue moods, indigo jeans, and periodically purple hair.

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