"This is the worst Halloween EVER!!!"

These are the words that spilled out of Ians' mouth tonight between sobs as he sat on a neighbors driveway. We had made it to about two houses when Ian realized that the super awesome Jawa costume he got in the mail had a really lame mask.  A Jawa is a sand person from Star Wars that likes to take apart droids - you know, the ones who take C-3PO and R2-D2 and sell them to Luke Skywalkers' Uncle?  So they wear hoods and all you can see are their glowing eyes....  super cool, right?  Well the clear mask inside the hood hung right down over Ians' mouth and nose so ever time he exhaled he fogged up the mask and couldn't see.  He couldn't see.  It was the night of Halloween, we were finally out in the neighborhood, and he couldn't see.

He freaked out.

There is really no other way of putting it.

My friends tried to sooth him, offering up lots of different solutions so he could carry on trick-or-treating with the other kids, but Ian had shut down.

You know what that means right?  When you kid is so deep into the meltdown that they can't see any possible way that they can make things better?  It is a really sad place to be.  I knew that Ian was also embarrassed and that the good natured help from other adults was making it worse so I let the others know to carry on, we would catch up.  Then Ian and I had a seat on a dark driveway.

"This is the worst Halloween ever!  My mask doesn't work and I want to go trick-or-treating!"

"Do you want to trick-or-treat without your mask?"

"NO!"

"Do you want to wear your mask a different way? "

"NO!"

Now, we have a really busy neighborhood on Halloween.  People from neighborhoods that don't really do Halloween come and hit our streets.  It is for sure a scene - not at all helpful to Ian.  He prefers to fall apart in private.

"Do you want me to walk away for a minute and let you get it together?"

"Yes."

So I take a few steps away.  Ian gets quiet.  I am standing there thinking, my friends are out here too and I was looking forward to walking the streets with them, sipping on wine out of a coffee cup... After a few minutes I hear him say in a little voice, "Okay, I'm ready mom."

Well, he wasn't.  He was still falling apart, unable to accept any solutions to the problem he was having.  Seeing as we were about 50 feet away from our house I said, "Let's go see how we can fix this at home."

So off we went.  Home.  At this point I am wondering how this was all going to turn out.  What was going to happen if he DID miss out on trick-or-treating?  Was he going to get it together and get back out there?  Was he going to be upset about not finding our friends?  Would Rowan share her candy with him?  Was I going to be able to talk some sense into him???

"Ian, here is the deal, you have a huge tub of costumes upstairs.  You can change into something else and we can go back out there.  You don't have to miss trick-or-treating.  I am sorry your costume is lame, but you can turn it around.  There is time to go back out."

I continued to give him a pep talk and somewhere in that little head of his something clicked.  He didn't have to miss out on trick-or-treating.  He was willing to go look through the dress up box...

I began to sort through the box, offering up choices.  He wasn't happy with what I was coming up with.  He again was teetering on the brink.  "Mom, your smashing my LEGOS!!!"  Really, are you kidding me?

So I say, in a calm yet firm voice, "Listen babe, I am working really hard to stay calm and help you out here.  My friends are out there too and I would like to hang out with them so lets figure this out."

Finally, FINALLY, he realized that his ninja costume would be perfect, and that most of his face was covered.  And off we went.

Once we were outside, Ian was on fire.  He sprinted up the walkways of every house in our neighborhood.  He got so many compliments on the ninja outfit.  He was boiling over with excitement.  I would die for the ability to so completely turn it around.  He did it.  We finally met up with our crew and Ian demonstrated a few ninja moves upon request.  We soon realized our trail was different than the others and Ian didn't want to miss out on any houses so we parted ways, yet again, with the group.  "Come on, mom!"

We all finished around the same time and regathered at our house.  All the kids laid out their candy and began to trade.  I am so grateful for the wonderful friends I have for catching my slack with Rowan, and understanding that I had to deal with Ian.

Ian.

It would have been so easy to freak out with him.  He was so irrational that I felt like I was loosing my mind too...  I can imagine the look that would have been on his face if I had flipped out too,  the arms he would have crossed across his chest...  That just doesn't help him.  I am so grateful that he challenges me to be a good mom.  A mom that understands one of us has to keep it together.

I had one last opportunity to practice that skill tonight.  Rowan, who had pretty much been left with the friends to trick-or-treat, while I handled her brother (Ben is out of town), had taken a shower before getting into bed.  It was late and I was completely spent.  With wet hair, she asked, "Will you braid my hair so its wavy for school tomorrow?"

Are you kidding me?  "Uh, no.  I have been working really hard the last couple of hours and I am ready for bed too."  With an exasperated sigh she throws herself down onto her bed. "This is the worst Halloween EVER!"


De-ja-freaking-vue!


At this point I think I started to actually feel my blood boil.  For some reason I am so much quicker to snap at Rowan than I am at her brother.  Calm down Case, don't end the day ugly with her.  I take a quiet moment, then I look at her and ask, "Would you like me to pull your bed down and tuck you in?"  She nods her head.  Its almost as though she knew I almost snapped too, and appreciated my effort at using my skills with her like I did her brother.  I give her a big hug and kiss and turn out the lights.

And now both kids are asleep.  Halloween is over.

 I hope I get to stay home and pass out the candy next year.

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