Sunday, October 22, 2006

Switch Witch

So every year about this time when the holidays are pitter-pattering their gargantuan feet off in the distance, some discussion threads appear on my mommy boards about the relative merits and blasphemies of such things as santa claus, tooth fairy, easter bunny, etc... I have glossed one of these threads before, and that's about it because they all virtually say the same thing, different words, different posters:

Lying to children is BAD!!
No! It's magical!

You're going to destroy their trust in you!

I'm creating a magical childhood!

They always find out before they're ready and it crushes them for life!

I found out before i was ready and i turned out fine!

ad nauseum.
Ok, so i'm making fun and the posts are a bit longer and perhaps a tad more eloquent, but you get the gist. And i respect everyone's various beliefs and delusions and while I *personally* have no issue with lying to my children:

(no, raelin, the ice cream is all gone and yes, santa will bring you more presents if you give me a bit of your cookie.....)

I have no issue with those who choose to forgo the whole holy trinity of consumerism: santa/easter bunny/fill-in-the-blank.

However, this is not what this post is about.

I bring up the threads because i popped into one the other day about halloween candy and what various families do to handle the sugar overload. This I have an interest in because i do attempt to keep sugar at bay in my house, both for Raelin and me and i guilt Kevin heavily, but he isnt' playing, so mostly for Raelin and my own inner sugar demon.

So, one mom said that her husband came up with this idea of telling the kids that if they left their candy out on halloween night, a little goblin would come and take it and leave a present in its place. Hmmmm... i thought. Turns out that said mom's husband is not exactly original, because several others chimed in that yes, they do this and it works great. Kids get the fun of trick-or-treating, get to eat some candy that night and keep a few faves, and then offer the rest up to some creature.

The best name? The Switch Witch!

Brilliant! I thought.

So, i run this by Raelin the next day.

"So, Raelin, I heard about this thing and want to know what you think of it."
"Heard about what?"
"There's this witch...She's called the Switch Witch. And if you leave her your candy on Halloween night, she comes and takes it and -------- leaves you a present instead!"

Raelin's eyes grow big.

"She leaves me a present?.... But...does she have a dog?"
"I dont' know honey, maybe. What do you think of that? Would you like her to come to our house? I hear she only comes when she's invited."
"Will she come down the chimney?"
"Oh, you mean like Santa? I dont' know."
"I think she will...will she ride a broom? how will she carry the candy?"

Uh, ok. Do you want the goods or not, kid?

"Yes, she rides a broom and i don't know how she carries the candy"
"She has a bag."
"well, there you go. See, you knew the answer. So, Raelin, should we invite the Switch Witch?"
"I think we should. And i would like a doctor kit."
"A doctor kit? you mean, like the one we saw at Planet (toy store) the other day?"
"Yeah... and that book that Daddy wouldn't buy me at Bookland."
"Ohhhh... you mean the My Little Pony one?"

(my kid is no dummy)

"Ok, well, I'll pass that on."
"Can the Switch Witch be seen?"


Raelin has changed her mind a few times about the SW, but i think when it comes down to it, she's in. Between now and Halloween, I think we will have more or less concocted not only a biographical sketch of SW, but a medical history and perhaps a family tree. She's pretty much *the* topic of conversation. And Kevin is psyched because he pretty much thinks he's the SW and will thus be the one with the bag of candy... ha! Have I a trick for him!

I'm adding another fictional character to my children's childhood, and i feel pretty good about that.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

she did WHAT!!???

This fall has been crazy-stunning... the colors are gorgeous, set against many, many crystal blue skies and balmy autumn temperatures. it really is new-england picture perfect.

so, this past weekend we decided to go for a walk at a great preserve in Camden. It's called Fernald's Neck, though it is more a penninsula into Megunticook Lake rather than a neck, but- whatever. Details. We packed up the kids and went for a fine family outing.

and you cannot believe what i saw some lady do there.

I mean, picture this beautiful day, nice trails (easy, i might add. no hills; all flat) and here is this woman pushing this huge contraption that her totally able child is riding in over these easy trails.

i mean, give me a frigging break. make your kid walk, lady!

what has happened to parents and kids today? i mean, are we so overprotective and whatever lame excuse one can come up with that we push our kids on hikes.

how disgusting.

and you know what else?

that lady was ME!

yup, it's true. it was me.

and in fact, the condescending voice from above was not me, but a family that walked ahead of us and not only watched us *return* to our jogger where we'd left it oh, maybe a 1 min. walk from the entrance and then continued on foot for another hour or more, but walked in front of us to the parking lot. yes, i was pushing Raelin in our Chariot, a bicycle trailer-come jogger. she's been sick, i didn't want to over exert her (um, keeping your kid home from school SUCKS) and sometimes we just want to walk and she wants to pet moss. Petting moss is great, but not for a half hour.

anyway, the trail was too rooty to continue on in the chariot and i was in fact feeling a bit ridiculous about having it out there so we left it to the side of a trail where it forked and continued, as i said, on foot. It was observed by the other family.

so, back to my story. i'm pushing raelin. kevin is ahead, carrying Liam in the backpack. the woman pulls her 3 or 4 year old son aside and says to him, in a sweet, sing-songy voice, (as i pass by) "Oh, sweetie, I'm So proud of you! You walked all by yourself for 2 whole hours! That's a long way! Good job!"

I would give anything to replay that moment, to turn around and bite my lip and say, quivering, (as i look at raelin) "She has cancer!"

Ok, so rude and not respectful to those kids who have cancer, but that lady can bite my ass.

I don't know what it is about parenting that makes us all trade in our standard high horses for skyscraper high horses. Everyone thinks they do it better, their kids are smarter/cuter/funnier/healthier blah, blah, blah.

Being judgemental has it's place. We need to be; how else to you come to conclusions for yourself and your family? I look at my options, i decide that organic is better than conventional food, therefore i believe that is the best choice to make. I've made a judgement. Do i need to be rude about it? no. Do i need to judge the *person* who makes a different decision. Sometimes. But i repeat, do i need to be rude?

I mean, i could go on, but you probably all get it. I have a dozen reasons or more why we decided to bring our yuppy gear on the hike that day. Another day, i probably woudl not have done it. But that day, we did. I could care less about whether or not that lady approved of my decision or why i made it. But she used us to set an example for her kid in a way that i think was pretty uncool. Despite the fact that i normally do not use a stroller and think breastfeeding is the obvious best option (to name a few things) when we come across someone doing the opposite, i do not hold how we do things up on a pedestal in comparison for Raelin. Simply doing our thing is enough. She'll get it.

and if i feel the need to be rude, i just come rant to my blog.

whatever, she was probably just jealous because the Chariot? It's a cool ass piece of equipment.